Who Is Ray Epps? Jan 6 Protester At Center Of Right-Wing Conspiracy Theory

The House Select Committee investigating the January 6 attack has dismissed a right-wing conspiracy theory falsely alleging an Arizona man working for the FBI encouraged Donald Trump supporters to storm the Capitol.

For several months, Ray Epps has been the focal point of a conspiracy that the January 6 attack was a "false flag" orchestrated by federal agents.

The claims have been widely promoted by Fox News' Tucker Carlson as well as Republican Senator Ted Cruz and representatives Matt Gaetz, Marjorie Taylor Greene and Thomas Massie, among others.

The claims surrounding Epps are based on videos taken the night before January 6 as well as during the riot, and how Epps was featured on the FBI's Capitol Violence Most Wanted list before being removed without ever having been arrested.

In a clip taken on January 5, Epps is recorded telling another Trump supporter: "I don't even like to say it because I'll be arrested. I'll say it. We need to go into the Capitol."

In another, he is addressing a larger crowd in the streets of Washington D.C. telling them that "we need to go into the Capitol. Into the Capitol."

The crowd disagrees and start chanting "Fed, fed, fed" towards Epps.

In another video taken on January 6, Epps is seen yelling to a crowd: "OK, folks, spread the word! As soon as the president is done speaking, we go to the Capitol. The Capitol is this direction."

Epps is later seen ushering Trump supporters towards the Capitol building on the streets on D.C.

In a statement, the House Select Committee has dismissed any suggestion that Epps was working on behest of the FBI that day and have already interviewed him regarding his actions on January 6.

"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.

"The Committee has interviewed Epps. Epps informed us that he was not employed by, working with, or acting at the direction of any law enforcement agency on Jan 5th or 6th or at any other time, & that he has never been an informant for the FBI or any other law enforcement agency."

In a series of posts on Twitter, Rep. Adam Kinzinger, one of two Republican members of the House committee investigating the attack on the Capitol, said that Epps was removed from the FBI's Most Wanted list because there is no evidence he broke any laws on January 6.

Epps was not pictured inside the Capitol building on January 6, despite being filmed encouraging others to do so, and there is no evidence he attacked police officers during the riot.

While there is a video that shows Trump supporters smashing police barricades and pushing past officers outside the Capitol, a man who resembles Epps who is near the rioters does not appear to be taking part.

Another video shows Epps attempting to de-escalate a fight between police and protesters on January 6.

"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," Kinzinger tweeted.

"On the broader issue. Let's say Ray was an agent (HE IS NOT), the premise is that one agent can gin up a crowd to insurrection. That isn't saying much about the intelligence of your voters is it Ted [Cruz]? The rioters had formal education, owned businesses etc," Kinzinger added.

"The narrative on Jan 6 has been that it's first antifa, or patriots who love their country, maybe crisis actors, def false flag operatives, or now FBI agents. Take your pick. Truth is they were rioters incited by lies. And RAY is no fed. Just another misled man."

The statements from the House Selection Committee investigating January 6 arrived following months of speculation from conservative figures. The conspiracy surrounding Epps was featured on Carlson's controversial "Patriot Purge" documentary.

The Fox News host, who downplays the violence at January 6 and suggests it was a false flag, has also frequently brought up Epps' name on his show.

In October, Rep. Massie played footage of Epps during a congressional hearing while asking Attorney General Merrick Garland about the conspiracy that FBI agents incited violence on January 6.

On the one-year anniversary of the Capitol attack, Greene and Gaetz held a press conference in which they discussed the false claim that the FBI orchestrated the riot.

According to a MailOnline report, the 60-year-old runs the Rocking R Farms wedding venue and hospitality business from his ranch in Queen Creek just outside Phoenix, Arizona.

It was previously revealed that Epps was president of the Arizona chapter of the far-right Oath Keepers in 2011. It is unclear if Epps has since cut ties with the group.

Several members of the extremist militia have been charged with some of the most serious offenses stemming from January 6 after allegedly plotting to violently stop the certification of the 2020 election results.

It is also widely reported that Epps is a Marine Corps veteran. However, a spokesman for the Marines told FactCheck.org that there was no record matching his name and birthdate being in that branch of the military.

In a brief interview with The Arizona Republic last January, Epps downplayed the comments he was recorded making about storming the Capitol.

"The only thing that meant is we would go in the doors like everyone else. It was totally, totally wrong the way they went in," Epps said.

ray epps
The House Select Committee investigating the January 6 attack Ray Ray Epps, who seen suggesting Trump supporters should storm the Capitol, was not a federal agent. Screenshot