Though your Twitters and your Facebook are primarily dominated by headlines that Donald Trump brings upon himself by repeatedly saying idiotic things, there’s another subsection of social media brimming with anti-Hillary conspiracy theories. The latest is beginning to gain some traction, not because there’s actual evidence involved, but because Wikileaks founder Julian Assange is stoking the nutter flames by offering a $20,000 reward.
The Facts: Seth Rich was a 27-year-old data analyst at the DNC. Last month, he was shot and killed while jogging at 4 a.m. in a D.C. area known for crime. Police say it was a robbery gone wrong. The identity of the killer, however, is unknown, and nothing was stolen.
The Conspiracy: A far-right wing category of people who get most of their news from Rush Limbaugh, Alex Jones, Ann Coulter, and Roger Stone believe that Hillary Clinton had Seth Rich killed for leaking all of those emails to Wikileaks. There are a few other people with tenuous connections to the DNC who have recently passed away, as well. For instance, UN official John Ashe, who died in a weightlifting accident; and Shawn Lucas, who died, for reasons that have not yet been specified, weeks after serving the DNC with a lawsuit brought by Bernie supporters for purportedly rigging the election.
Rich, by far, has gotten the most attention, with conspiracy theorists alleging he was lured into a secret meeting at 4 a.m. with FBI agents, only to discover a hit team.
@FoxNews I think Seth Rich was CIA also. I am not convinced he actually was murdered, but may have been "relocated". Israeli/CIA spy.— gai aquino (@gaity191956) August 11, 2016
I think there are people trying to solve #SethRich's murder, but it is very secret. They don't want to be put on Hillary's hit list.— Josephine (@notmyname02) August 11, 2016
The Twist: Feeding into this wild conspiracy is the fact that Julian Assange has offered $20K for information about the identity of Rich’s murderer (police are also offering $25K). Assange has also implied that Rich was the source of the DNC email leak.
The Defense: First of all, Wikileaks itself denies implying that Seth Rich was the source of the email leak.
Moreover, Snopes has done an impressive job of snuffing out this conspiracy, if anyone on the right actually bothered to read it. Basically, Rich was not only dedicated to the election of Hillary Clinton, but he was a low-level staffer who wouldn’t have had access to the emails to leak them in the first place (American intelligence agencies also believe with a “high certainty” that Russian hackers were responsible for the leak).
Moreover, Rich was on the phone with his girlfriend before he was shot, and suggested nothing was wrong. He was also conscious and breathing when police arrived at the scene, and he provided them with no information about the identity of the killer when given the opportunity.
There is no evidence to suggest that his death was related to his employment at the DNC, say police. In fact, Seth Rich’s parents are upset that their son’s death is being politicized, saying that conspiracy theorists “are actually causing more harm than good and impeding on the ability for law enforcement to properly do their job.’
Hillary Clinton also met with Rich’s parents to console them after their son’s death, although the nutters believe she met with them to silence them.
Conclusion: There’s absolutely nothing here and it would not have received any attention outside of tin-foil hat circles were it not for the fact that Assange offered a $20K reward. Assange himself admits that he does not want Hillary Clinton to win the election and has suggested that he will continue to meddle because he’s interested in blowing up the system, even if it means helping to install Donald Trump as President.