Jan 6 committee dismisses ‘fed man’ claim amid DOJ silence — Analysis

Ray Epps, a protester who disappeared from the FBI’s January 6 most needed record, advised Congress he “has by no means been an informant”

After GOP senators obtained non-answers from DOJ officers a couple of January 6 protester who was spared prosecution, the Democrat-dominated particular committee assured the general public that Ray Epps was not a fed.

The Arizona man, who was filmed on January 5 and 6 final 12 months apparently riling up pro-Trump protesters in Washington, DC, was interviewed by the Home committee investigating the Capitol Hill riot, its Twitter account mentioned.

“Epps knowledgeable us that he was not employed by, working with, or appearing on the route of any regulation enforcement company on Jan fifth or sixth or at some other time, & that he has by no means been an informant for the FBI or some other regulation enforcement company,” the tweet mentioned.

The submit got here hours after Epps’ position within the dramatic occasions of January 2021 was delivered to the forefront of a listening to of the Senate Judiciary Committee, which on Monday heard from senior Division of Justice (DOJ) officers about the specter of home terrorism post-January 6.

The witnesses interviewed had been Assistant Lawyer Basic Matthew Olsen and Government Assistant Director of the FBI Jill Sanborn. Each officers had been grilled by GOP Senators Tom Cotton and Ted Cruz on the potential roles performed by people related to federal regulation enforcement and notably about Epps.

Senator Cruz ready visible props displaying the protester’s recorded actions forward of the storming of the Capitol constructing. He bombarded Sanborn with questions corresponding to: “Was Ray Epps a fed?” The senator additionally requested why Epps was by no means charged with any crimes and even “magically disappeared from” the record of individuals the FBI was investigating in reference to the January 6 violence.

Most of Sanborn’s responses had been “I can not reply that query,” although in the long run, she mentioned that to her data, no FBI brokers or informants inspired “violent and felony conduct” on the Capitol.

Olsen was likewise uninformative relating to the FBI’s lack of curiosity in Epps, telling Senator Cotton that he didn’t have “any details about that particular person,” and referring him to his fellow witness. The reply got here on the again of a number of different “I don’t know” responses, prompting Cotton to chastise Olsen for apparently coming to the listening to unprepared.

Epps’ position within the occasions of January 2021 was recognized for the reason that early days of the investigation, however the suspicion that he was a fed-linked inciter of violence has brewed since round mid-June. Later, he was one way or the other faraway from the FBI’s Capitol Violence Most Wished Checklist.

In October, Republican Consultant Thomas Massie used footage of Epps when he questioned Lawyer Basic Merrick Garland about whether or not federal brokers had a hand in encouraging the January 6 riot.

Republicans blast January 6 as possible ‘Fedsurrection’

The speculation was additional popularized by conservative outlet Revolver, which revealed a prolonged argument for why it believed the previous chief of the Arizona chapter of the Oath Keepers to be protected by the feds.

The federal government by no means defined why Epps was by no means charged with any crime. There seems to be no proof that he personally entered the Capitol constructing after police barricades round it had been damaged, or took half in avenue violence after the breach.

The involvement of an FBI informant within the riot was individually reported in September by the New York Instances. The newspaper mentioned a member of the Proud Boys group was in contact along with his FBI handler on January 6 and that his messages undermined the federal authorities’s case in opposition to different members, who had been charged with planning an assault on the Capitol constructing with the aim of disrupting the certification of Joe Biden as president-elect. The Instances report didn’t declare that the informant was in any approach inciting violence.

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