The legacy media has insisted for years now that questions about Ray Epps are just conspiracy theories.
Last month, 60 Minutes did a fawning interview with Epps. The New York Times did a glowing profile of him in July. Despite the media’s best efforts to present him as simply a victim of circumstance though, questions around the infamous January 6 provocateur remain unanswered.
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.
“In fact, tomorrow, I don’t even like to say it cause I’ll be arrested,” Epps tells a man filming him with a phone camera.
“Well, let’s not say it,” the man responds.
“I’ll say it. We need to go into the Capitol,” Epps says.
“I’m going to put it out there. I’m probably going to go to jail for this. Tomorrow, we need to go into the Capitol, into the Capitol!” Epps tells fellow protesters in another clip.
“What? No! No!” members of the crowd respond in unison.
“Peacefully!” Epps adds.
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.
This is the only Jan 6 participant Adam Kinzinger will defend!
Still not arrested… pic.twitter.com/v7nOggQUID
— Darren J. Beattie 🌐 (@DarrenJBeattie) June 9, 2022
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. Thousands of others who behaved much less provocatively remained on the list, including at least two grandmas who were sentenced.
The main question that has stuck to Epps is whether he was working undercover for the federal government, the FBI in particular.
In January, 2022, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) asked the FBI deputy director point blank if the FBI had worked with Epps during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing.
She refused to answer.
“Was Ray Epps a fed?” Cruz asked Jill Sanborn, executive assistant director of the FBI’s National Security Branch.
“Sir, I can’t answer that question,” Sanborn replied.
Epps was interviewed by the January 6 select committee in November and again in January.
On January 11, the same day as Cruz’s questioning, the committee released a statement saying it is aware of “unsupported claims” that Epps was an FBI informant. The statement said Epps told them “he was not employed by, working with, or acting at the direction of any law enforcement agency.”
Recently in a wild new ripple to the situation, a woman who claims to be Epps’ adopted daughter publicly accused him of sexually abusing her when she was a child. She shared family pictures and what she said are her adoption papers on social media.
60 Minutes said Epps “doesn’t understand how he got cast as the villain” and that his version of the story is “more mundane.” Even 60 Minutes, though, admitted Epps “almost immediately stepped into trouble” once he arrived in the nation’s capital.
“It’s hard to see our Capitol under attack,” Epps lamented to the interviewer as they watched the footage together.
Epps also lashed out at former Fox News host Tucker Carlson, who brought national attention to the questions surrounding Epps, saying Carlson is “obsessed with me” and trying to “destroy my life.”
It doesn’t help the questions surrounding Epps that Carlson was fired from Fox News just before he planned to deliver a monologue on air that delved into those questions.
The FBI told 60 Minutes that “Ray Epps has never been an FBI source or an FBI employee.”
For now, even that assurance will likely do little to put skeptics at ease.