Revealed: Ray Epps Claimed He Believed Capitol Was Open To Public On January 6

Ray Epps, a mysterious January 6 figure some theorized to be a federal informant, told congressional investigators he believed the U.S. Capitol was open to the public on the day of the riot.

The assertion appears in a long-awaited transcript released Thursday by the House January 6 Committee, which released its final report last week. Epps, a self-proclaimed supporter of former President Donald Trump who raised concerns about the 2020 election, was asked about January 5, 2021, video footage showing him urging a crowd to “go into the Capitol” the next day.

Epps said “yes” when asked if he was under the impression that the Capitol would be open on January 6, the day lawmakers met to certify President Joe Biden’s 2020 election victory. He again said “yes” when the word “open” in this case was described as “like, open to visitors, like anyone could walk in.”

Asked why he believed the Capitol would be open, Epps contended, “It was a weekday.” When Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) pressed Epps on how he perceived the negative reaction he received from the crowd in response to his call to enter the Capitol — people around him shouted “No!” and chanted “Fed! Fed! Fed!” — Epps contended, “I don’t think I thought about it at the time,” and stressed that he thought he “followed that up with peaceably [sic].”

Epps also asserted that what he was doing that night was geared toward trying to stop the onset of violence, but he conceded what he told the crowd, including that what he saying might get him arrested, amounted to a poor choice of words. “It shouldn’t have been said, but I said it,” Epps testified.

Speculation about Epps, an Arizona man and former Oath Keeper, has been stoked by Republican lawmakers and high-profile conservatives including Fox News host Tucker Carlson. During the interview with the January 6 Committee, Epps said the “crazy” theories that swirled around him made life “really, really difficult.” He also flatly denied he was acting on behalf of any government agency while in Washington, D.C.

“The only time I’ve been involved with the government was when I was a Marine in the United States Marine Corps,” he said.

Part of the fascination with Epps derived from how he appeared on the FBI’s Capitol Violence Most Wanted list before he was removed without explanation, per the Washington Examiner. Kinzinger tweeted in January, roughly 10 days before Epps’ interview with the panel, that Epps “didn’t enter the Capitol on Jan 6, and was removed from the most wanted list because apparently he broke no laws.”

When asked about his client being removed from the list so quickly, Epps’ attorney John Blischack clarified that he believed that Epps “was removed shortly after he contacted the FBI and/or the FBI contacted me.”

Recordings released earlier this year to defense lawyers representing people who were charged in connection to the Capitol riot included further details about Epps, including the revelation that two days after the Capitol riot, Epps called an FBI tip line after seeing himself on a list of January 6 suspects, according to The New York Times.

The report, citing sources who heard a recording of the call, said Epps explained to investigators what happened in another exchange captured on film, this one on January 6 just before the violence began at the U.S. Capitol, showing him whispering into the ear of another man at the barricades outside the building. Epps claimed he was trying to calm this person down and said that the police present were merely doing their jobs. The other man, identified as January 6 defendant Ryan Samsel, reportedly corroborated this account.

Ultimately Epps denied breaking the law. He testified to the January 6 Committee that he attended Trump’s rally at the Ellipse near the White House, where the former president encouraged people to march on the Capitol to protest the 2020 election results, and then made his way to the Capitol along with others. There, Epps said he realized the Capitol was not open to the public and tried to de-escalate tension between the police and protesters when he witnessed the standoff.

“I just looked around, and I was sick. There was a lot of tear gas, a lot of bad stuff going on,” he testified.

Epps said he started to leave and offered aid to an individual having a medical emergency. Afterwards, Epps said, “I saw people crawling all over the Capitol, climbing the walls. It made me kind of ill to my stomach. I decided to go back to the — there was no point in going back. It had gone beyond to what I wanted it to be.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Generated by Feedzy