Bonus Episode 4
Hi Everybody I'm Dan Kleinman Editor in chief of Yahoo News and welcome to this bonus episode of Yahoo News Conspiracy Land a new podcast series on the murder of seth rich brought to you by skulduggery auguring. I'm here with my colleague. Skulduggery Co host Mike Jessica off Yahoo News is chief investigative correspondent and the host of conspiracy land and beyond a Gold Riga veteran news broadcaster WHO's reported for A._B._C. News C._B._C.. News is currently a C._N._N.. Contributor and our former colleague and Yahoo in these special episodes we will tell the story behind the story of conspiracy land explore the larger themes this tangled and tragic case raises and here from Mike what it was like to report on the seth rich murder as he plumbed the depths of Dark Netherworld of American political conspiracies each bonus podcast will be available with the episode corresponds to today. We're discussing episode four Fox News Fiction all right Mike Yesica beyond welcome back no all right so isikoff. How did this story get to Fox News well excellent question and I should point out that Fox News and Sean Hannity give the seth rich conspiracy the sort of ultimate push? There's a week in May of two thousand seventeen when Sean Hannity is shouting it from the rooftops doing segment after segment other Fox regulars Newt Gingrich Lou Dobbs. They're all all chiming in and what's their message this undercuts the Russia Hannity are you yes and look the biggest number one in cable news radio show and his radio show but what we do an episode for is examined the question. How did he get there? How did this story come about and there is an absolutely fascinating back story <hes> with all sorts of twists and turns about how this story migrates from what was then still you know the sort of fringes of the Internet the sort of all right sites to what is in conservative media as mainstream as you get Fox News News right and it starts with a guy named Ed boot Hausky in last episode? We talked about Jack Berkman the DC lobbyists Edward Hausky is quite the character. I think we call them quirky in his zone right Dallas money man financier manages <hes> the financial assets for professional athletes but he's like a political Kibitzer in Republican Party Conservative Party circles he <hes> watched the Republican convention <hes> from the box of Sheldon Adelson in Cleveland <hes> the <hes> biggest Republican donor of all he <hes> had a relationship with Steve Bannon had been on <hes> Amines Radio show a few times so they knew. Each other he had was on a first name basis with Sean Spicer apparently drafted material for the Republican National Committee when Spicer was the chief of communications so he had these relations and he decides to Guam lawmen to the seth rich case for much the same motivation as everybody else in conservative circles Trumpian circles did because if you could prove that it was seth rich who leaked to wikileaks you you undercut the Russia story you undercut the Russia investigation but one of the <hes> sadder parts for me was the role of Seymour Hersh you know one of my journalistic heroes a guy who has done groundbreaking investigations that I've admired for years from me lie in Vietnam to Abu Ghraib and in Iraq but you know Hirsch and we had him on our podcast L. Duggary at one point you know in his later years has gotten a little looser than he was when he was reporting at the New York Times any likes to shoot his mouth off so somebody tells boot Hausky to call all Seymour Hersh that Hirsch has stuff on the rich murder and Petoskey calls and of course secretly tapes the phone calls her Sh- doesn't know it and side shoots off his mouth and say Oh yeah you know I know l.. How this whole fucking thing started and you know there's all Russia thing? It's <hes> you know this is John Brennan operation. He invented it which is not really true and then he goes on to say he has a source told them that the F._B._i.. Had done a forensic analysis analysis of <hes> Seth richest computer infound communications with wikileaks so who taskey goes crazy about this like oh my God this is exactly what I'm looking for right exactly and he presses hirsch to give them a copy of the report Jordan says well. I don't really have it and more boathouse key presses the more her says look. I don't even know if this is true. What I'm telling you but petoskey heard what he wanted? He sends it to the rich family. He convinces the rich family to let him MM hire a private investigator on their behalf with him putting up the money Petoskey goes to the Sky Rod Wheeler of Former D._C.. Cop who is <hes> Fox News contributor and the two of them start conspiring in a way to develop a story for Fox News that could support the Seth Ridge Conspiracy Narrative and there's a discrepancy between what Ed boot Hausky says his conversation with the rich family entailed tailed and what they say came out of the conversation. He says that they said something. Along the lines of we know what our son did bright their version of that was we know our son and he would never do something like this absolutely and look. There's a discrepancy between what Hausky says and almost everybody else he talks to when you ask about provided you the audio of his tape conversation with Hirsch yes he didn't you don't have any of his conversation with the rich family no. But now that that was not for you know there's no tape of that but what we did do is we checked something that Petoskey had told both the rich family and Seymour Hersh on that tape phone call and that is he has a friend can't who met with Julian assange in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London during the closing weeks of the election and assange told his friend that seth rich was his source for the the D._N._C.. Emails now task has been saying this frears. We tracked down the friend because Metavsky didn't tell you who the friend was. You asked but didn't tell you you're able to track this track the person down because a although I discussed discuss this with route Hausky a another source Kutowski had talked to had identified the person and this radio talk show host Ellen Ratner and she fits perfectly as the person as the description description of the person that Petoskey had provided to the rich family and two Cy Hirsch her brother Michael Ratner the late Michael Ratner was the lawyer for wikileaks and he's passed away but Ellen Ratner for an her other brother the developer Bruce Rattener went to see assange in October of two thousand sixteen and did meet with him but when we tracked Ellen Ratner Down and asked about did assange tell you about seth rich. She said the subject never came up and in fact. She says she never discussed that she met Ed and a Green Room. Yes and her version of the story is they never discussed this either well. She never knew anything about Julian assange orange telling her about seth riches being a source because it never the subject never came up she did in fact meet with assange that part is True Jack but the key part turns out to be according to Era Ellen Ratner entirely not true so my tells more about rod wheeler because he's a colorful character. He's a key figure in the chain of the of the migration route from conspiracy land to Fox News right exactly so rod wheeler you know he was a Fox News contributor he would come on you know and talk about whenever they were law enforcement issues that Fox wanted to talk about now but he was cut you off but he was some of the stuff he was saying. It was crazy. He had this story about this. I love this about the pistol-packing lesbian gangs all over the country to regret attacking yeah yeah yeah I mean it was complete nonsense and he goes on Bill Oreilly at one point and talks about how Washington D._C.. is plagued by these pistol-packing lesbian gangs that are going around indoctrinating young kids into <hes> homosexuality and play a really important moment because it showed that Fox News and some of their anchors had a predisposition to either believe or at least propagate these crazy stories if you have a guest. He'll say what you want them to say. Hey you put him on the air. Although as we point out and we talked to a number of Fox producers and other people at Fox there was real wariness about wheeler for precisely that reason there was some people that just Ashley well not on the big you know not when it came to the O'Reilly's in the Hannity's in the bureaucracy of Fox there were people who had their antenna up about Rod Wheeler but then Rod wheeler becomes he gets hired aired by Bukowski as the investigator for the rich family the rich family that no contact with him at that point they didn't know Rod Wheeler from a hole in the wall and Rod Wheeler becomes this go-to Guy for Fox to put on to talk about the seth rich case where the interesting things in this episode which <hes> I hope people focus on his at some point we are goes to see the detective detective Della camera who was in charge of the seth rich case and writes up a memo in which the detective says they have absolutely no evidence that connects seth riches to death to his work at the D._N._C. at all and the F._B._i.. Hi as nothing to do with the case. I'm the Detective Della Kammer tells them I've never heard from the F._B._i.. They've never asked me any questions. They've never come to see the evidence in the case so there were some red flags about what Fox was about to report very soon based on what wrote the original claim from Hausky and Seymour Hersh there were red flags from the get-go on this but it doesn't stop the freight train quickly tie this in as we end here to the trump administration petoskey and wheeler ended up having a short meeting with Sean Spicer Yes yes and they and there are a differing accounts of what took place in the meeting spicer wooden talk to us. No surprise there boot Hausky says you know as soon as the subject of the seth rich case came came up spicer dismissed it and said you know I have nothing to do with this. You know I don't want to hear about it. According to wheelers version view in fact Spicer said <hes> here's my card you want me to set you up with the Justice Department. I'll set you up with the Justice Department urban so you know differing accounts as to what happened well in the next bonus episode. We're going to get to a key moment. Where another character a journalist plays an important role in getting this story to Fox News and turning it into from scoop soup to a P._R.? Nightmare exactly what is the true source of the Seth Rich Conspiracy Theory and who should be held accountable join us as we get to the bottom of it at news dot Yahoo Dot com slash conspiracy land and subscribe bribes conspiracy land on Apple podcasts or wherever you listen to your podcasts yeah.