On video in the hours leading up to the riot encouraging the crowd to enter the Capitol, Epps had been on the FBI's Capitol Violence most wanted list before he was removed without explanation after nearly six months.
With speculation circulating, Republicans have been clamoring for more clarity on Epps. Still, Justice Department and FBI officials have repeatedly declined to provide answers about the provocateur as well as any FBI informants or agents who may have been embedded within the pro-Trump crowd. These people stormed the Capitol and disrupted the certification of now-President Joe Biden’s win in the 2020 election. The Jan. 6 Committee made the first move Tuesday, announcing House investigators interviewed Epps, yet did not offer any insight into whether he was under oath when he denied being an FBI informant.
“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 revealed in a statement. “The Select Committee has interviewed Mr. Epps. 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.”
Video footage shows Epps, a former President of the Arizona Oath Keepers militia group, eliciting a crowd of Trump supporters on the evening of Jan. 5, 2021, to "go into the Capitol" the next day, provoking allegations from the crowd that he was working for the federal authorities, with chants of “Fed!”
As former President Donald Trump spoke to supporters outside the White House on Jan. 6, Epps went to work enthusiastically calling for people to move toward the Capitol. He was among the initial group of rioters to break through a police barrier on Capitol grounds, and he whispered something unknown into the ear of one rioter a few seconds before that person began trying to rip at a police barrier.
The Department of Justice said at least 725 defendants had been arrested in connection with the Capitol riot. More than 225 defendants had been charged with assaulting or impeding law enforcement officers. Despite initial hype from a former top DOJ prosecutor, no one has been charged with insurrection or sedition.