In a new interview with ’60 Minutes,’ Ray Epps denies the “conspiracy theory” that he was actually a “Fed” working undercover on January 6 to incite a riot.
In conservative media, Ray Epps is a notorious villain, responsible for turning the protests on January 6 into a riot. It is a convoluted conspiracy theory he denies. He’s now in hiding, facing death threats.
This Sunday, Epps sits down with 60 Minutes. https://t.co/mEN4CWeXMW pic.twitter.com/DnooNqQWck
— 60 Minutes (@60Minutes) April 21, 2023
“No matter how many times they push this conspiracy theory, this lie, it will never become truth,” Epps asserted.
Epps made the denial in the teaser clip that ’60 Minutes’ posted on social media. The full interview is set to air Sunday evening,
Ray Epps was caught on video encouraging an ‘insurrection’ before the pre-planned attack on the U.S. Capitol. Epps has remained uncharged for his suspect activities involving the January 6 incident, despite videos showing him attempting to foment an attack on the Capitol, his communication with a J6 defendant moments before he made the initial breach of the security perimeter, his penetration of the Capitol grounds into restricted areas, and his boasting in a text that he “orchestrated” the event.
This is not the first time Ray Epps has denied being an FBI informant or having any involvement with The Feds.
“The Select Committee is aware of unsupported claims that Ray Epps was an FBI informant based on the fact that he was on the FBI Wanted list and then was removed from that list without being charged,” the panel said in a statement. “The Select Committee has interviewed Mr. Epps. Mr. Epps informed us that he was not employed by, working with, or acting at the direction of any law enforcement agency on January 5th or 6th or at any other time, and that he has never been an informant for the FBI or any other law enforcement agency.”
Epps reportedly called the FBI tip line two days after the violence, after seeing himself on a list of Jan. 6 suspects. During his call to the FBI, Epps reportedly suggested that instigators might have been present in the crowd on the day of the riot, but he denied being one of them.
According to sources familiar with the call, Epps told investigators that an exchange captured on video, showing him whispering into the ear of another man identified as Ryan Samsel, was Epps merely attempting to calm Samsel. Epps claimed he was telling Samsel that police outside the Capitol were just doing their jobs, before Samsel charged the barricades. This information was reported by The New York Times.
Samsel, in a late January 2021 interview with the FBI, appeared to confirm Epps’s account about their exchange. Samsel stated, “He came up to me, and he said, ‘Dude’ — his exact words were, ‘Relax, the cops are doing their job,'” referring to a man he did not know, as reported by The New York Times on Thursday night.
IMPORTANT: this is exact moment the siege of the Capitol building began as the two men in front ripped down a preliminary barrier & rushed officers who were behind a 2nd barrier
They then encouraged others to follow their lead. Officers appeared to be taken completely off guard pic.twitter.com/LE0a01PXBi
— E (@ElijahSchaffer) January 6, 2021
Epps, a former Oath Keeper from Arizona, had been on the FBI’s Capitol Violence Most Wanted list but was removed without explanation after nearly six months. But Epps was also seen on video on the night of Jan. 5 urging people to “go into the Capitol.”
According to footage captured on video, Epps was seen telling a rioter, “We’re holding ground — we’re not trying to get people hurt,” while standing on restricted Capitol grounds.
NEW: Video released in the Proud Boys trial depicts Ray Epps trying to calm/separate rioters who were face-to-face with a line of cops.
Second video also includes moment in which prosecutors indicated Zach REHL may have pepper sprayed cops.
— Kyle Cheney (@kyledcheney) April 19, 2023
These facts, along with his lack of arrest for his involvement in the riot, have led to speculation among some Republicans that he was actually an FBI informant tasked with encouraging the pro-Trump crowd at the Capitol.
Members of the left-wing media, Democrats, and anti-Trump Republicans have consistently defended Epps, even as they have engaged in hyperbole about the January 6 incident, branding it an “insurrection” and a “coup.” Some, including Republican Rep. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois, have come to Epps’ defense, stating that there is no evidence of him engaging in acts of violence or entering the Capitol building.
4) He didn’t enter the Capitol on Jan 6, and was removed from the most wanted list because apparently he broke no laws. I’m pretty sure the FBI wouldn’t be dumb enough to put their own agent on a wanted list. Ray Epps has cooperated with the Jan 6 committee and we thank him
— Adam Kinzinger #fella (@AdamKinzinger) January 11, 2022
However, The New York Times has conceded that Epps did commit an offense by entering a restricted part of Capitol grounds, but did not offer an explanation for why the offense has “largely gone unpunished,” while others are being prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law and are being jailed in D.C. while awaiting trial for lesser offenses.
There were at least 40 undercover informants working the Capitol riots on January 6, according to testimony given at court trial.
Follow Kyle Becker on Twitter @kylenabecker.