An Arizona man becomes the focus of a partisan battle over how to commemorate the Capitol Hill riots
Participants in last year’s pro-Trump rally that escalated into the destruction of the Capitol have been identified as possible provocateurs for federal agents, but critics have called the claims a “conspiracy theory.”
How did Ray Epps make the headlines? Epps was part of a large group of supporters of then-President Donald Trump who convened in Washington, D.C., before Congress approved Joe Biden’s victory in the 2020 election. He was filmed on four separate occasions on January 5 and 6, and many on the right are highly skeptical. His actions at the time, as well as certain facts about his life, made him a good candidate for a federal informant and maybe even a federal informant. Critics say it’s a key figure in a supposed conspiracy to incite violence on Capitol Hill to benefit Democrats.
What the hell did he do in January?
According to footage, on January 5, Epps spoke with other members of the scheduled protest, calling on them
“Enter the Capitol” the next day. “peacefully,” He stressed at one point that this prompted others to start chanting “Fed! Fed up!” In response.
On Jan. 6, Trump was photographed directing demonstrators to the Capitol after his speech at the rally. He was later filmed in front of a police barricade before protesters vandalised it. In the video, Epps can be seen saying something to another man wearing a red MAGA hat but not involved in attacking the barricade.
There is no evidence that he personally entered the building after the breach.
When was this discovered?
Early in the investigation, the video was part of a trove of public information about the riots. Shortly after the drama, Epps was recognized by local media in his home state of Arizona and interviewed about his role.
he Tell Arizona Republic says he did nothing wrong in Washington, instructing people to enter the Capitol, he meant to go “At the door like everyone else.” He condemned the actions of other protesters. The FBI similarly identified Epps early on as a person of interest and placed him on the Congressional Violence Most Wanted List, requesting information from the public about him. Later, his image was removed from the page.
Why do people find Epps suspicious?
Some say he may have escaped his instigation by being one of the FBI’s informants in the right-wing militias. Epps is a 60-year-old former Marine who lives in Queens Creek, Arizona. He has a ranch and an event venue business there, according to public records.
In the early 2010s, he was the state chapter president of the nonpartisan Militia Oathkeeper. He is also reportedly closely associated with the group’s founder and national leader, Stewart Rhodes.Neither has been charged with any crimes related to January 6, although
other Protesters linked to the group face some of the most serious charges among the hundreds of people indicted in the congressional riot investigation. conservative news media revolver Arrange you could say so most detailed Reasons why they think Rhodes and Epps are immune to federal prosecution. There are many vocal supporters in the conservative camp, including Fox News host Tucker Carlson, Rep. Thomas Massey and Sen. Ted Cruz, among others.
What does the government say?
In October, Massey asked Attorney General Merrick Garland about Epps and broader claims that government-linked agitators may have played a role in instigating the Jan. 6 unrest. Garland responded that the Justice Department does not comment on ongoing investigations.
This week, Jill Sanborn, the FBI’s executive assistant director, told a Senate committee she was aware of Epps but would not provide any details about him. After the hearing, the Democratic-led House committee investigating the unrest tweeted that Epps had interviewed lawmakers and assured them that he had no ties to any law enforcement agencies.
Is there an innocent explanation?
FBI investigators could have removed Epps from the wanted list after determining there was no more information about him. The reason he was not charged may be a lack of evidence of wrongdoing that would secure a conviction.
Most of those charged on Jan. 6 were arrested for crimes such as entering restricted areas and disorderly conduct inside the Capitol, or various rioting and violence during a stand-off with police following the breach. There is no direct evidence that Epps had any ties to the FBI.Left-leaning exit Being laughed at claims to the contrary conspiracy theories and “The Next Big Lie” Shifting blame for the congressional storm away from the Trump world.
This dismissive attitude may be partly due to the fact that Democrats and many of the media critical of Trump have invested heavily in viewing Jan. 6 as a major attack on a country that has all but ended American democracy. Marking the anniversary of the event earlier this month, Vice President Kamala Harris compared it to Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor during World War II and the September 11, 2001, terrorist attack.