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Douglas Andrews / October 27, 2021

We Smell a January 6 Rat

Who is Ray Epps, and why hasn’t the federal government indicted him for his leading role in the breach of the Capitol?

It looked like the last place Merrick Garland wanted to be.

When Kentucky Republican Congressman Thomas Massie began questioning Garland last week about a man named Ray Epps, the attorney general all but took the Fifth. It was probably a wise decision in the short run, although it won’t quell the growing suspicion — indeed, the growing evidence — that federal agents played an outsized role in the January 6 riot at the Capitol.

Epps is reportedly the government-protected agent provocateur who appears to have led the very first attack on the Capitol building on January 6. A comprehensive collection of videos from that day shows that Epps was everywhere, and his oft-repeated message was the same: “We need to go into the Capitol.”

A resident of Queen Creek, Arizona, Epps was obviously a long way from home that day. And his conspicuous actions have attracted plenty of attention — including that of Massie, who invoked Epps during a House oversight hearing in which lawmakers questioned AG Garland about the attack on the Capitol.

Massie dug deeper, asking whether Epps and other federal agents were present and agitating people before the riot: “There’s a concern that there were agents of the government, who were assets of the government, who were present on January 5th and 6th during the protests,” he said. “As far as we can determine, the individual who was saying he’ll probably go to jail, he’ll probably be arrested, but they need to go into the Capitol the next day, is then the next day directing people to the Capitol. And as far as we can find, this individual has not been charged with anything. You said this is one of the most sweeping in history.”

This put Garland on his heels: “So as I said at the outset,” the AG replied, “one of the norms of the Justice Department is to not comment on impending investigations, and particularly not to comment on particular scenes or particular individuals.”

Massie persisted: “I was hoping today to give you an opportunity to put to rest the concerns that people have that there were federal agents or assets of the federal government present on January 5 and January 6. Can you tell us, without talking about particular incidents or particular videos, how many agents or assets of the federal government were present on January 6, whether they agitated to go into the Capitol, and if any of them did?”

To which Garland replied meekly: “So I’m not going to violate this norm of, uh, of, of, the rule of law. I’m not going to comment on an investigation that’s ongoing.”

And that was that. Still, the damage was done. Joe Biden called the events of January 6 “the worst attack on our democracy since the Civil War,” and Nancy Pelosi spoke of her “respect for the integrity of the investigation,” and her “insistence on the truth.” Further, upon being asked how long her House select committee would need to investigate the riot, she said, “The timeline will be as long as it takes for them … to do the investigation of the causes of this … the white supremacy, the anti-Semitism, the Islamophobia, all of the rest of it.”

We wonder: Does Nancy Pelosi really want to dig in to “all of the rest of it”? Does she really want to learn what role Ray Epps played in all this?

Epps and his ilk acted while Donald Trump was still addressing his supporters that day — which means they were still a good distance from the Capitol. Given that Epps was sporting a red “Trump” hat that day, it seems more than a bit odd that he headed off long before the end of his guy’s speech.

And further, the FBI stealthily removed Epps from its Capitol Violence Most Wanted List on July 1, just one day after one of Epps’s primary January 6 associates had been exposed. Those rabble-rousing associates remain unindicted.

In one particular video, a couple of Trump supporters suspect Epps is a government agent, and they began to shout him down, chanting, “Fed, Fed, Fed!”

The true events of January 6 suggest something far more serious than mere foreknowledge on the part of the feds. The government’s agents almost certainly took a proactive and participatory role in the riot — a role not unlike the one they took in the Michigan “kidnapping” plot against Democrat Governor Gretchen Whitmer. And one wonders: Just what would these two events have looked like had federal agents not provoked the crowds, had not incited and directed those around them? Would the Capitol building have been stormed? Would January 6 have been just one more in a series of hundreds of peaceful, law-abiding rallies by supporters of President Donald Trump?

Of course, we’ll never know the answer to those questions. But the fact that we’re asking them should trouble every American who respects law and order, who is troubled by our two-tiered system of justice, and who believes the government should be enforcing our laws rather than inciting others to break them.

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