- Ray Epps’s testimony to Jan. 6 committee raises more questions
By John Friend
Ray Epps, a man who loudly proclaimed that the “Capitol is our enemy” during a protest on the evening of Jan. 5 and who many suspect was some sort of undercover operative whose purpose was to incite and provoke the breach of the U.S. Capitol during the chaotic protests on Jan. 6, voluntarily testified on Jan. 21, 2022, before the Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the U.S. Capitol, nearly one year ago.
The full written transcript of that interview was recently released, sparking even more debate about the controversial figure and his role in the fiasco that unfolded on Jan. 6.
On the evening of Jan. 5, during a protest on the streets of Washington, D.C., Epps was captured on video loudly insisting to the crowd that, “Tomorrow, we need to go into the Capitol!” The crowd surrounding him immediately responded by yelling, “What?! No!” prompting Epps to insist that protesters should enter the Capitol peacefully.
Epps has claimed that, during this confrontation between himself and other protesters, he was attempting to deescalate the crowd and redirect their energy away from local law enforcement on the streets that night and towards those in positions of power who oversaw what he and others believe was a flawed 2020 election process. Following Epps’s demands that protesters enter the Capitol the next day, members of the crowd began chanting, “Fed! Fed! Fed!” a reference to “federal agent” or undercover operative, indicating that they believed Epps was himself a “fed” trying to instigate the crowd.
Later, in response to a question from another protester asking what specifically would happen the next day during the protest and subsequent entering of the Capitol, Epps responded, “I don’t even like to say it because I’ll be arrested,” before again suggesting protesters “go into the Capitol.”
On Jan. 6, the following day, Epps was captured once again on film loudly proclaiming to the crowd, “We are going to the Capitol where our problems are,” before pointing down the street showing the crowd which direction the building was in. “Please spread the word!” he yelled to the crowd.
After crowds had surrounded the Capitol, Epps was seen on film interacting with and whispering in the ear of one of the men who first broached the police line surrounding the Capitol building, again raising many questions about his purpose and role during the chaotic protests which have been hysterically denounced as an “insurrection” by Democrats, anti-Trump Republicans, and the liberal mass media.
Shortly after this interaction, protesters began ramming police officers with the metal barricades surrounding the Capitol grounds, eventually breaching the line and charging towards the building. Footage appears to show that Epps, at the very least, helped encourage and coordinate the initial breach of the Capitol barricades, as he ran with the crowd toward the building after breaching the outer perimeter. Epps has, however, claimed that he was attempting to deescalate the situation rather than encourage it.
“My vision was to get as many people in there [the U.S. Capitol] as we can and surround it, be there, let them know that we’re not happy with… what has happened, and that was it,” Epps told committee members during questioning. “No violence.”
He explained that he thought the Capitol would be open to the public that day and that protesters could enter the building peacefully. In his testimony to the Jan. 6 Committee, Epps denounced the way some entered the Capitol that chaotic day, describing it as lawless and violent.
“They used violence to enter our Capitol, violence and breaking windows and different things,” Epps explained. “I wasn’t aware of any of that until later on and seeing it on the news like everyone else.”
Epps later explained that, once then-President Trump began speaking on Jan. 6, “a group started running towards the Capitol.”
“[T]hey were moving quite fast,” Epps told the committee, explaining that he left the Ellipse area where the president was speaking and joined the crowd, saying he wanted “to be in the front” of the crowd.
“And, on the way there [to the Capitol], I noticed that it was some of the same people that were there the night before,” Epps continued. “They had blow (sic) horns. They were trying to incite people and stir things up. I thought it was important that I get up there, and I did.”
In one particularly explosive revelation, Epps sent a text message to his nephew just as the chaos at the Capitol was unfolding telling him he “orchestrated” it, a comment Epps insists has been taken out of context.
Throughout the questioning, Epps insisted he had no contact with any law enforcement officers or agents and that his purpose was to deescalate potentially violent situations at all times while encouraging the crowd to peacefully enter the Capitol. Epps claims that once he arrived at the Capitol with other protesters who were much rowdier and more confrontational with police, and he saw the barricades lining the building, he knew entering the Capitol would be unlawful and the crowd was quickly becoming unmanageable and violent.
However, Epps’ actions that day clearly demonstrate he, at least partially, helped instigate the crowd to create a scene of chaos and “insurrection” that the mass media and political establishment could exploit to demonize Trump and his millions of followers.
Incredibly, Epps has not been charged with any crime, unlike countless other attendees of the Jan. 6 protests at the U.S. Capitol, and has even received fawning media coverage from establishment sources like The New York Times, which described him as “the unwitting face of an attempt by pro-Trump forces to promote the baseless idea that the FBI was behind the attack on the Capitol.”
The fact that he has not been charged and has, instead, been treated as a victim of “conspiracy theorists” speculating about undercover operatives or other agent provocateurs instigating violence and chaos on Jan. 6 has only fueled speculation about his true motives and connections that day.