By Alicia Powe and Liz Crokin
WASHINGTON – Former Democratic National Committee interim chairwoman Donna Brazile is the high-ranking DNC representative who allegedly called police and the family of murdered DNC staffer Seth Rich and demanded to know why a private investigator was “snooping” into Rich’s death, the private eye revealed to WND Monday.
“The high-ranking DNC official that called the police after I inquired about Rich’s case was Donna Brazile,” veteran homicide detective Rod Wheeler told WND. “Why shouldn’t I reveal who it was?”
Brazile, who was also a CNN contributor and a Hillary for America donor at the time, was caught providing Democratic Party nominee Hillary Clinton with questions that would later be asked of Clinton at a televised CNN town hall. In an interview with Fox News before the election, Brazile denied leaking the questions to Clinton. But in a March 17, 2017, column for Time magazine, she finally admitted doing so, saying it was a “mistake I will forever regret.”
A spokesman for the Rich family has repeatedly criticized detective Wheeler, who was hired by Rich’s family in March to find the DNC staffer’s murderer, for not ruling out the possibility that Rich may have leaked DNC emails to WikiLeaks. The Rich family recently sent Wheeler a “cease and desist” order to stop his investigation into the murder.
As WND reported, Rich was murdered July 10, 2016, near his affluent neighborhood in Washington, D.C. He was shot in the back with a handgun at 4:18 a.m. while he walked home, and nothing was taken from him. He was transported to a local hospital and was pronounced dead at 5:57 a.m. On July 22, just 12 days after Rich’s death and days before the Democratic Party Convention in Philadelphia, WikiLeaks released 20,000 emails from DNC officials.
Wheeler said in several interviews last week that a federal investigator has elaborate details about Rich’s connection to WikiLeaks and is a credible source.
“I don’t like to suggest things without saying the person’s name, but I can’t say that person’s name, because that person would be thrown under the bus,” Wheeler told Fox News’ Sean Hannity. “This person, we checked him out, we have to check him out, he’s very credible – he said he laid eyes on the computer and he laid eyes on the case file.
“When you look at that with the totality of everything else that I’ve found on this case, it’s very consistent for a person with my experience to begin to think, perhaps there were some email communications between Seth and WikiLeaks.”
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Wheeler told Hannity: “There were some problems that Seth was having on his job at the DNC right before he was killed. And the person that called the father after I called the police to get information (Brazile), that’s the person that Seth was having problems with at the DNC. So connect the dots, here; it’s starting to all come together.”
Wheeler added: “I don’t know for sure, I don’t know as matter of fact, if the emails went out to WikiLeaks or anybody else. But it sure appears that way.”
Brazile resigned as a contributor from CNN on Oct. 14 after it was revealed in hacked e-mails from John Podesta’s account that she leaked the questions to Clinton’s campaign before CNN-sponsored events with the candidates.
“We are completely uncomfortable with what we have learned about her interactions with the Clinton campaign while she was a CNN contributor,” CNN spokesperson Lauren Pratapas said in October.
Trump blasted Brazile on the campaign trail for using her position at the cable news network to collude with Clinton.
“Speaking of draining the swamp, Donna Brazile did it again,” Trump said just weeks before the election. “WikiLeaks today, she gave the questions to a debate to Hillary Clinton. And that was a couple of weeks ago. Happened again, but this time far worse. She gave the questions to a debate to Hillary Clinton.”
Wheeler initially refrained from revealing the identity of the DNC official who called the Rich family to inquire about the detective’s “snooping,” but he said he felt less compelled to stay quiet about Brazile’s identity after what he believed to be an unrelenting assassination of his character by the Rich family’s spokesman.
The spokesman, Democratic political crisis consultant Brad Bauman, excoriated Wheeler for not eliminating the possibility that Rich leaked emails, accusing the veteran detective of fabricating his claims in a desperate attempt for media attention.
“I don’t think at this point, given Detective Wheeler’s lack of credibility – that I am going to dignify any accusations that he makes with any sort of discussion, I’m sorry,” he told WND.
He added that anyone who believes Rich may have leaked DNC e-mails “deserve(s) a place in hell.”
While Wheeler has concluded – after months of extensive investigation – the idea that Rich was killed during a robbery is implausible, he maintains that his motivation to solve the case and find Rich’s murderer has nothing to do with politics.
“I hope people understand this – I am not involved at all with the political side of any of this stuff – I am really not. My one focus is on finding a murderer,” he told WND. “That is my only focus.
“Now if that murderer is a neighborhood knucklehead who had a gun and killed him that night, then that is who I want to capture,” he said. “Then the story ends for me when I find him. If that murderer is someone who worked with him on his job, then that is who I want to capture.”
Brazile called the possibility that Rich leaked DNC emails “shameful” on Sunday.
“Seth Rich was a hard worker and proud to be an American. This desire to scar Seth’s legacy to his country and party is shameful,” the former DNC chair tweeted.
Seth Rich was a hard worker and proud to be an American. This desire to scar Seth’s legacy to his country and party is shameful. https://t.co/2cw5GZOYXO
— Donna Brazile (@donnabrazile) May 21, 2017
While critics dismiss the idea that Rich’s murder might be linked to the DNC in the midst of a highly contentious presidential campaign as “conspiracy” and “fake news,” talk-radio host Rush Limbaugh on Monday said Americans are determined to uncover the truth about Rich’s murder.
“This story is now starting to get legs, that Seth Rich was murdered. It was [allegedly] a contract hire killing because he was leaking to WikiLeaks. He was the one – he may have been a Bernie supporter – and the only colluding and rigging here, folks, is the Democrat primary election,” Limbaugh said. “KimDotCom, the noted hacker, has now come forward and said he was working with Seth Rich to get the documents to WikiLeaks.
“Right now it’s conspiracy-theory status. But it won’t go away. It just won’t go away. That’s about as much as I can say right now.”
“Kim Dotcom” is the Twitter handle for the hacker described as an “entrepreneur, innovator, gamer, artist, Internet freedom fighter & father of 5.” He is a German-Finnish Internet entrepreneur who founded Megaupload. On May 20, “Kim Dotcom” tweeted: “I knew Seth Rich. I know he was the @Wikileaks source. I was involved.”
In another tweet on the same day, he wrote: “I’m meeting my legal team on Monday. I will issue a statement about #SethRich on Tuesday. Please be patient. This needs to be done properly.”
On Sunday, Hannity called on Congress to get to the bottom of Rich’s murder.
In a Twitter response to “Kim Dotcom” that received nearly 19,000 “likes,” Hannity wrote: “Congress, investigate Seth Rich Murder! @JulianAssange made comments u need to listen to! If Seth was wiki source, no Trump/Russia collusion.”
Hannity was referencing comments by WikiLeaks Founder Julian Assange during an August 2016 interview on the Dutch television program Nieuwsuur. Assange appeared to suggest that Rich was the source of the WikiLeaks-exposed DNC emails.
Watch the interview:
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich appeared on “Fox & Friends” Sunday and called Rich’s murder an “assassination”:
We have this very strange story now of this young man who worked for the Democratic National Committee, who apparently was assassinated at 4 in the morning, having given WikiLeaks something like 53,000 emails and 17,000 attachments.
Nobody’s investigating that, and what does that tell you about what’s going on? Because it turns out, it wasn’t the Russians. It was this young guy who, I suspect, was disgusted by the corruption of the Democratic National Committee. He’s been killed, and apparently nothing serious has been done to investigate his murder.
As WND reported Monday, a manager of the Washington, D.C., bar where Rich was last spotted hours before he was shot and killed said D.C. police officers never interviewed the bar’s staff or requested any evidence from the bar, including the bar’s surveillance video from that night, as part of an investigation into Rich’s murder.