Senator Ted Cruz demanded to know the level of involvement, if any, the agency had in the deadly attack last year and wanted to know more about an ex-Marine accused of being an FBI plant sent to help incite the events last year.
‘How many FBI agents or confidential informants actively participated in the events of January 6th?’ Cruz asked the FBI’s Executive Assistant Director of the National Security Branch Jill Sanborn during a hearing on domestic violence threats on Tuesday.
‘Sir, I’m sure you can appreciate that I can’t go into the specifics of sources and methods –’ Sanborn began, but was cut off but Cruz re-asking the same question.
‘I can’t answer that,’ said Sanborn, who joined the hearing virtually.
‘Did any FBI agents or confidential informants commit crimes of violence on January 6?’ Cruz pushed.
‘I can’t answer that.’
‘Did any FBI agents or FBI informants actively encourage and incite crimes of violence on January 6?’ the Texas Republican senator asked.
Sanborn repeated the same answer for a third time.
On Twitter later Tuesday, Cruz called the response from Sanborn ‘completely unacceptable.’
Senator Ted Cruz pushed FBI’s Executive Assistant Director of the National Security Branch Jill Sanborn on Tuesday whether any agents were involved in the January 6 Capitol attack
Sanborn, who joined the hearing virtually on Tuesday, repeatedly said, ‘I can’t answer that’ to Cruz. She also said while she is aware of who Ray Epps is she does not ‘have the specific background on him’
Ex-Marine Ray Epps is accused of being an FBI plant sent to help incite the events last year. DailyMail.com located former the Oath Keepers chapter president at his rural property in Queen Creek just outside Phoenix, Arizona
He then shifted tactics, asking: ‘Who is Ray Epps?’
‘I’m aware of the individual, sir, I don’t have the specific background on him.’
Cruz then shared images of Epps from January 5, where his suspicious behavior caught the attention of Trump supporters gathered in Washington, D.C., causing them to chant, ‘Fed!’
The following day, the day of the riot, Epps can be seen in another clip dressed in military-style clothing and yelling to a crowd: ‘OK folks, spread the word. As soon as the president is done speaking, we go to the Capitol, where our problems are.’
Pointing behind him, he adds: ‘It’s that direction. Please spread the word.’
The House select committee probing the events of January 6 are aware of the claims and interviewed Epps, who claimed that he is not associated with law enforcement.
‘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,’ a select committee spokesperson told DailyMail.com in a statement.
‘The Select Committee has interviewed Mr. Epps,’ they added. ‘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.’
Rep. Adam Kinzinger, Ill., one of two Republicans on the committee, also took to Twitter to poke holes in the theory that Epps was an FBI agent.
‘He didn’t enter the Capitol on Jan 6, and was removed from the most wanted list because apparently he broke no laws,’ he said. ‘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.’
‘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?’ referring to Cruz.
Cruz blessed the exchange Tuesday and said officials are dodging questions on the potential the federal agents were involvement in the attack.
‘The American people deserve transparency from the DOJ & the FBI about January 6,’ Cruz tweeted following his line of questioning Tuesday.
‘For months, I’ve been demanding answers & still to this day, their answers are:- ‘I’m not sure’ – ‘I don’t have the numbers’ – ‘I don’t have any information about that’.’
He also tweeted: ‘Questions about Ray Epps & his disappearance from the FBI’s public posting is a matter of public accountability for the FBI and the American people deserve real answers.’
Republicans, including Representatives Matt Gaetz and Marjorie Taylor Greene, claim Epps was on the FBI’s Most Wanted List but was mysteriously removed after right-wing blog Revolver labeled him a ‘Fed-protected provocateur.’
Gaetz and Greene held a press conference on Thursday marking one year since the Capitol riot where they promoted a fringe conspiracy theory that the federal government was behind the deadly events that day.
They claimed that people added to the FBI’s Most Wanted list for breaking into the Capitol last year simply ‘fall off’ – specifically making reference to Epps.
‘Congresswoman Greene and I are not here to celebrate January 6. We’re not here to obsess about it, but we’re here to expose the truth, to ask key questions about what happened on January 6, what animated the violence, the extent to which the federal government had been involved,’ Gaetz said at the start of their media event.
‘We know this — January 6 last year wasn’t an insurrection. No one has been charged with insurrection. No one has been charged with treason. But it may very well may have been a fed-surrection.’
RepresentativesMarjorie Taylor Greene (right) and Matt Gaetz (left) held a press conference Thursday – the one year anniversary of the attack – fueling fringe conspiracy theories that the federal government was involved in the Capitol riot
Cruz asked Epps about the identity of former Marine Ray Epps (pictured in red hat) and whether he was involved in any alleged FBI incitement of the Capitol riot. A group of Trump supporters shouted ‘Fed!’ at Epps on January 5, 2021 as he tried to rile up the crowd
Gaetz and Greene claim people added to the FBI’s Most Wanted list for breaking into the Capitol last year simply ‘fall off’ – specifically making reference to Epps
Greene from Georgia and Gaetz from Florida sought to frame the Trump supporters who entered the Capitol as being manipulated by undercover federal agents. They framed those who were subsequently arrested over it as political prisoners.
‘We are very concerned that we have sent letter after letter to Attorney General Garland and FBI Director Wray to simply get to the bottom of unexplained circumstances where people are on the FBI Most Wanted List from January 6, and then they fall off of that list,’ Gaetz said at the press conference last week.
They played a series of videos that showed Epps, directing people toward the Capitol on January 6, images from which were used during the Senate hearing on Tuesday by Cruz.
Regarding the testimony on Tuesday, Republican Senator Lindsey Graham said it had become apparent that the Biden administration is ‘deaf, dumb and blind’ when it comes to national security threats to the U.S.
‘I appreciate their efforts to prosecute those who defiled our Capitol on January 6, and I’m very supportive of such endeavors,’ he wrote in a statement on the hearing. ‘However, this hearing and the answers provided are further examples of the Biden Administration being deaf, dumb and blind to the national security threats we face.’
‘Whether it is the collapse of Afghanistan where the Taliban now reign or a completely broken southern border that could be easily penetrated by international terrorists, the Biden Administration is failing,’ he added.
Following Cruz’ line of questioning with Sanborn on Tuesday, Tom Cotton questioned Assistant Attorney General Matthew Olson. Cotton reiterated Cruz by asking if the FBI had any plainclothes officers in the crowd of rioters.
Olson said he did not know the answer to that question and also said he did not have information on Epps.
Fox News’ Tucker Carlson was baffled on his Thursday show as to why Epps he hadn’t been arrested or charged.
‘I don’t know who Ray Epps is,’ Cruz told Carlson during the January 6 show ont he one year anniversary of the attack.
‘I’ve seen the video, it’s disturbing’ Cruz said and suggested himself that Epps might be an FBI plant.
Cruz, during the show, was forced to walk back on his comments after those on the right targeted him for calling the January 6 riot a ‘violent terrorist attack.’
He called his own comments ‘dumb and sloppy’ and said he texted Carlson shortly after and asked to go on the show.
Carlson didn’t buy his explanation, saying: ‘He doesn’t use a single word by accident. Every word Ted Cruz uses is used intentionally. He’s a lawyer.’
‘I don’t buy that,’ Carlson told Cruz on his January 6, 2022 show. ‘I’ve known you long time since before you went to Senate. You were a supreme court contender. You take words as seriously as anyone in the senate. I do not believe you use that accidentally. I just don’t.’
Cruz replied: ‘Tucker, as a result of my sloppy phrasing it’s caused a lot of people to misunderstand what I meant.’
‘What I was referring to are the limited number of people who engaged in violent attacks against police officers,’ he explained.
‘That being said,’ Curz added, ‘it was a mistake to say that yesterday and the reason is what you said: is that we’ve had had a year of Democrats and the media twisting words and trying to say that all of us are terrorists. Trying to say you are a terrorist. I just don’t like people who assault cops.’
Carlson responded by saying: ‘I guess I just don’t believe you and I mean that with respect because I have such respect for your acuity and precision. You have sat there for a year and watched people use language to distort the events of that day.’
‘I was focusing on what I normally say is violence is wrong, peaceful protest is right. If you engage in violence you should be prosecuted, if you’re speaking, you have a right to speak.’