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Ray Epps, the alleged January 6 provocateur who has avoided arrest by the feds, was at the center of a fiery exchange Wednesday between a Republican congressman and FBI Director Christopher Wray.
Representative Troy Nehls (R-TX) grilled Wray during an oversight hearing before the House Judiciary Committee, asking him point blank if the FBI would arrest Epps.
Nehls mentioned two other January 6 defendants, whom he said were arrested for breaching Capitol grounds, as well as a defendant who was arrested for “disorderly and destructive conduct” which included yelling “Go, go, go!” as rioters tried to enter the Capitol.
“These three never went into the Capitol. They never assaulted anyone,” Nehls said, adding that there is “very little difference” between the actions of Ray Epps and those defendants.
“Now look into the camera, sir, when you answer my next question,” Nehls said. “Are you going to arrest Mr. Epps, yes or no?”
Rep. Nehls asks FBI Director Wray if he will arrest Ray Epps, and says:
"If you don't arrest Mr. Epps, there's a reason behind it. I believe you know what it is, and it appears to me you are protecting this guy. I strongly recommend you get your house back in order." pic.twitter.com/NSPDLlKYKW
— The Post Millennial (@TPostMillennial) July 12, 2023
“I’m not going to engage here in a discussion about individual people who are or are not going to be prosecuted,” Wray responded.
“Can I get a commitment?” an exasperated Nehls asked. “I’m an old law dog. I understand a little bit about probable cause.”
“You can see him. I almost think he’s inciting a riot,” Nehls continued, noting that many people have questioned whether Epps has a connection to the feds.
“There’s a lot of cloud over this,” the congressman said.
“My point is this,” Nehls said. “You arrested a lot of folks for unlawful activity. You just saw the video, and I will tell you, Mr. Wray, if you don’t arrest Mr. Epps, there’s a reason behind it, I believe you know what it is, and it appears to me you are protecting this guy. I strongly recommend you get your house back in order.”
Epps was a central figure in the Capitol riot from the beginning.
The 62-year-old Marine veteran from Arizona is seen in multiple video clips from January 6 and the day before trying to whip up other Trump supporters to “go into the Capitol” the next day.
“I’ll say it. We need to go into the Capitol,” Epps says in one clip.
The crowd of Trump supporters then starts chanting, “Fed! Fed! Fed!” at Epps.
At least four times on video, Epps repeats his call to action to “go into the Capitol.”
Then, while the vast majority of MAGA supporters were still near the National Mall where Trump was speaking, Epps is seen at the front of the very first crowd that breached the security perimeter around the Capitol. Moments before the crowd pushes past Capitol police officers, Epps whispers something into fellow protester Ryan Samsel’s ear. Later in January, Epps and Samsel both told the FBI separately that Epps had been encouraging Samsel to relax because the cops were just “doing their job.”
Epps also texted his nephew that he “orchestrated” the riot.
“I was in the front with a few others, I also orchestrated it,” the text from Epps reads.
Epps was initially on the FBI’s wanted list for January 6, but he was suddenly dropped, fueling conspiracies that he might be protected by the feds. Thousands of others who behaved much less provocatively remained on the list, including at least two grandmas who were sentenced.
No charges were ever filed against Epps for his role in the riot.