Several Republican lawmakers, some in right-wing media and conspiracy theorists have suggested that Ray Epps was a federal informant who cause the Jan. 6 Capitol riot by urging Trump supporters to storm the building in an attempt to discredit the MAGA movement.
Epps, the former head of the Arizona chapter of the Oath Keepers, was caught on video the night before the insurrection encouraging Trump supporters to march on the Capitol. He was also seen on Jan. 6 near rioters as they tore down police barricades.
Allies of Trump in Congress and the media have spent more than a year alleging that Epps works for the federal government and his presence on Jan. 6 shows there was a “deep state” plot to encourage Trump supporters to storm the Capitol.
“Was Ray Epps a fed?” Sen. Ted Cruz asked Assistant FBI Director Jill Sanborn in a congressional hearing on the riot earlier this year, according to Newsweek.
“Even by their own standards, they’re inconsistent because the committee did not send a criminal referral about Ray Epps,” Fox News host Tucker Carlson said this week during his monologue attacking the Jan. 6 committee.
However, the transcript of Epps‘ deposition before the Jan. 6 committee shows that he was just another MAGA supporter who traveled to Washington D.C to stop the certification of Biden’s victory based on lies told by Trump and propagated by people like Carlson and Cruz.
“My wife found out that [their son] was going, and she insisted that I go because there was a lot of hype,” Epps said in his deposition. “There was a lot of stuff going on at the time, so she was worried for his safety, and so we decided to make arrangements so that I could be there.”
Epps denied working with law enforcement.
“At any point on January 5th — so we’ve asked you this question about December 27th through January 4th, but now let’s just focus in on January 5th,” the committee asked Epps in his deposition. “Did you coordinate or speak with any law enforcement officials from the FBI?”
“No sir,” Epps responded.
Epps also said he did not coordinate or speak with anyone from the Washington Metropolitan Police Department, the CIA or the National Security Agency.
“Any other law enforcement officials, other than the other folks you mentioned earlier, you might have interacted with at the plaza as you were de-escalating?” the committee asked.
“No, sir,” Epps replied.
Epps also revealed in his deposition that the conspiracy theories ruined his life.
“We had a tour bus come by our home and our business with all these whacked-out people in it,” he said. “There are good people out there that was in Washington. Those aren’t the people that’s coming by our house. This attracts — when they do this sort of thing, this attracts all the crazies out there.”
Epps has not been charged with a crime for Jan. 6 and there’s no evidence to suggest that he went into the Capitol building that day.