Ray Epps, an Arizona man who was filmed encouraging others to enter the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, testified that he wasn’t “employed by, working with, or acting at the direction of any law enforcement agency on Jan. 5th or 6th or at any other time,” the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 insurrection, tweeted on Tuesday. That effectively poked another hole in the pro-Trump conspiracy theory that federal agents orchestrated the attack, the Associated Press reports. The evidence indicates the mob that invaded the Capitol on Jan. 6 was overwhelmingly made up of Trump supporters who wanted to help the then-president. The theory that Epps was an undercover FBI agent grew from a video that circulated on far-right message boards days after the insurrection. It showed Epps on the evening of Jan. 5, urging Trump supporters around him to “peacefully” enter the Capitol the next day.
That video and others of Epps talking to rioters outside the Capitol building ricocheted across social media for months until Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY) shared the footage in a congressional hearing in October. Massie asked Attorney General Merrick Garland why the man in the videos hadn’t been charged, and whether federal agents were involved in the riots. Garland said he couldn’t comment on an ongoing investigation, causing claims about Epps to snowball. There’s no reason now to believe that any undercover agent galvanized a mob of Trump supporters, many of whom were vocal about their intentions, to attempt to delay the congressional certification of Joe Biden’s presidential win. An AP review of social media posts, voter registrations, court files and other public records for more than 120 people either facing criminal charges or identified in footage from Jan. 6 showed that the mob was overwhelmingly made up of longtime Trump supporters, including GOP officials and donors, far-right militants, white supremacists, off-duty police, members of the military and conspiracy theory adherents.