WASHINGTON – It's the story no one want to touch because it is so potentially explosive.
And it's the murder mystery that could throw a wrench into the narrative that Russia hacked the Democratic Party's emails during the 2016 presidential election in order to influence the presidential election.
WND made numerous inquiries to lawmakers on both sides of the aisle, to the White House, Washington police and others, but received scant comment.
- A private investigator looking into the July 2016, murder of Democratic National Committee, or DNC, employee Seth Rich claims the staffer was in contact with WikiLeaks.
- A federal investigator told Fox News that Rich had emailed 44,053 DNC emails to WikiLeaks.
- The investigator, former D.C. police homicide detective Rod Wheeler, claimed the FBI and Washington, D.C., Metro Police are covering up that information, contained on Rich's laptop, which is in their possession.
- Twelve days after Rich was killed, WikiLeaks published internal DNC emails that indicated party officials conspired to make sure Hillary Clinton won the party's presidential nomination over rival Sen. Bernie Sanders.
- WikiLeaks has denied Russia was the source of the DNC emails it published and has offered a $20,000 reward for information leading to conviction for the murder of Rich, while not confirming he was their source.
There are many questions raised by the latest revelations, but one of the persistent oddities has been the classification of Rich's murder by Washington police as a botched robbery when nothing was stolen, not his wallet, watch or phone.
Metro police continue to say they have found no link between the DNC and Rich's murder.
When asked by WND to confirm, deny or comment on reports that detectives did not interview Rich's co-workers, a Washington police spokesperson replied, "We do not have any evidence to suggest that Mr. Rich’s employment was a factor in his death."
WND also asked police if they could confirm or deny the department has a laptop owned by Rich that had evidence of contact with WikiLeaks on it, or that its investigators were "told to stand down on this case."
Washington police responded with the following statement:
"The Metropolitan Police Department’s (MPD) Homicide Branch is actively investigating Mr. Rich’s murder and we continue to work with the family to bring closure to this case as we do with all homicide investigations. If there are any individuals who feel they have information, we urge them to call us at 202-727-9099 or text us at 50411. The department is offering a reward of up to $25,000 for information on this case that leads to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible."
Few elected officials and others in power want to talk to about the revelations, apparently because the stakes are so great, the implications are so dark and the facts are just beginning to come into focus.
WND sent inquiries to two members of President Trump's administration, six members of the House of Representatives and five senators without receiving a response.
One expert observer who did comment was talk-show radio kingpin Rush Limbaugh, who said: "If this is true, then this does great, great damage to the Russian [hacking the 2016 election] theory, because there's still no tangible evidence the Russians were involved in hacking the DNC.
"It's just become something everybody accepts because so many people have been confirming, 'Oh yeah! The Russians are hacking everybody. The Russians colluding with Trump.'"
However, a congressional source did tell WND, "There's significant evidence that it was the Russians – don't think the Seth Rich issue will change that."
But even if the Russians did attempt to hack the 2016 election campaigns, that doesn't mean Rich might not have provided WikiLeaks the key emails.
As a DNC staffer, he would have been in position to know which revelations would be most damning. And he was reportedly an ardent Sanders supporter who was outraged that DNC leaders conspired to make sure Clinton got the nomination.
Former U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., pointed out to WND that the Russians hacked Republicans, too: "The general public may not understand that Russia, China, Iran, North Korea, virtually any nation with a computer, hack their friends and foes alike. It's a way of life now. Hacking is 2017 style James Bond spying."
The former member of the House Intelligence committee added: "That's how spying has been done, together with traditional human intelligence gathering, since the inception of the web. Remember the maxim: You can always trust communists to be communists."
These are the inquiries WND made to current lawmakers and others without getting responses.
To a member of the White House press office: Will Attorney General Jeff Sessions look into whether the FBI and D.C. police are suppressing WikiLeaks evidence on the laptop?
To a presidential adviser: If WikiLeaks was getting DNC emails from Seth Rich, what does that do to the narrative of Russia hacking the DNC? Without that, is there any evidence of Russian meddling in the election at all?
To House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.; Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., (who resigned as DNC chair after the WikiLeaks emails were published); Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y.; and House Majority Leader Paul Ryan, R-Wis.: Do you know if it is true, as Fox News is reporting, that Seth Rich leaked 44,000 DNC emails to WikiLeaks? Have you asked the FBI about it?
To Sens. John McCain, R-Ariz.; Lindsey Graham, R-S.C.; Rand Paul, R-Ky.; and Ted Cruz, R-Texas: If WikiLeaks was getting DNC emails from Seth Rich, what does that do to the narrative of Russia hacking the DNC? Without that, is there any evidence of Russian meddling in the election at all? And do you have any observations on why the DNC did not let the FBI examine its hacked server?
A spokesperson for Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, said he was in transit.
And the office of Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, had no comment.