The incredible weirdness of the Ray Epps saga
Ray Epps is a name that keeps cropping up in connection with January 6. There are myriad videos of him urging people to go into the Capitol. Now, it turns out that, on January 6, 2021, he sent a text to a family member boasting, “I also orchestrated it [the entry into the Capitol].” By rights, according to the standards the Democrats have set since January 6, Epps ought to be sitting in a D.C. jail without bail or a trial date like the rest of the January 6 defendants. Except that he isn’t. What gives?
I won’t rehash the whole narrative of Ray Epp’s presence in Washington, D.C., on January 5 and 6, 2021. The Revolver did a good job of that, along with videos showing not just Epps in action but also showing carefully disguised people (unlike all the naïve Trump supporters on the scene) systematically and deliberately removing all fencing and signage that would have warned ordinary citizens that they were on land that carried heavy trespassing penalties.
The videos of Ray Epps, a tall, gray-haired man urging people to the Capitol, that are posted at The Revolver will suffice to show that Epp’s behavior was open and perfectly met the Democrats’ own description of what constitutes an “insurrection.” (I’m not agreeing with their definition, I’m just saying that Epps meets it.)
What’s truly bizarre is affirmative disinterest that the Democrats and the FBI (but I repeat myself) are showing in Epps. And by “affirmative,” I meant that, despite the FBI having him on its radar, it erased him entirely from consideration, while the January 6 Committee called him a good guy. From the Revolver:
As we explained in detail in our previous report, the FBI originally put Ray Epps’s face on its Capitol Violence “Most Wanted List” on January 8, 2021, just two days after 1/6. They offered a cash reward for information leading to his arrest. In fact, rank-and-file FBI agents initially deemed Epps’s role as an apparent riot organizer so important that they named him Suspect #16—one of the first 20 high-profile FBI targets in a database now packed with more than 500 suspects.
Then, six months later on June 30, 2021, both Revolver News and The New York Times published inconvenient stories that encouraged a more aggressive interrogation of the “Ray Epps third rail,” leading reasonable people to wonder why this publicly identified man on the Most Wanted List still had no charges filed against him.
The FBI responded to these important media stories the very next day. But their response was to quietly purge all online Ray Epps files from their website, then switch to a posture of “What? Who? Ray Epps? Never heard of him.”
Then there was Adam Kinzinger’s January 2022 Tweet essentially saying Epps was a good guy:
January 18, 2022
Well, that’s strange. Stranger yet is what emerged a couple of days ago when Ray Epp’s testimony before the House January 6 Committee was finally made public. It turned out that, on January 6, he boasted to his nephew that he “orchestrated” the Capitol riot:
There’s only one January 6 protester that @AdamKinzinger and @Liz_Cheney will defend. That’s Ray Epps, the very guy urging people to go inside the Capitol, who later admitted he “orchestrated” the event. So how did Epps become the #January6thCommittee’s favorite insurrectionist? pic.twitter.com/XKuagJIjfh— Dinesh D'Souza (@DineshDSouza) January 1, 2023
Ray Epps was near the front line from the very beginning of the riot when he was whispering in Ryan Samsel's ear to when he helped push a large metal sign into the police line (for which others have been charged with felonies)— Stephen Horn (@stephenehorn) December 30, 2022
No "I didn't know what was going on" for him https://t.co/SJUpIXzH8h
Despite that tweet and the videos, Epps told the Committee that he had no idea that anyone was breaking into the Capitol, despite being caught on video urging people to do so the day before:
“At that point, I didn’t know that they were breaking into the Capitol,” Epps told Congressional investigators, adding “I didn’t know anybody was in the Capitol. ... I was on my way back to the hotel room.”
But the night before, Epps was seen going around to various groups of Trump supporters, telling them they need to storm the capitol.
In addition, we now know that, in February 2021, Epps had told the FBI he trespassed on Capitol grounds and admitted that he told people to go to the Capitol and try to enter it. (There’s much more here about Epps’s behavior.)
I’m not accusing Epps of any wrongdoing. I’m not familiar with federal laws about urging others to trespass on federal property, about doing the trespassing oneself, or about insurrection. I strongly believe that the Democrats are misusing whatever laws do exist to persecute political enemies and to make it clear to conservatives that they are at risk if they exercise their First Amendment rights.
However, I am accusing both the FBI and the January 6 Committee of very bizarre and suspicious decisions regarding Ray Epps. I sincerely hope that the incoming House will investigate why those Democrat-controlled institutions gave Epps a kid-glove treatment they denied to every other Trump supporter they caught in their extremely wide net.