Where Democrats see an insurrection, Republicans may be smelling a set-up.
A group of House Republicans last week demanded that Attorney General Merrick Garland explain whether the Justice Department disappeared one or more of the alleged Jan. 6 U.S. Capitol rioters because they were really government plants.
“Following January 6th, were there people that you took off any of the Most Wanted lists that were federal assets or federal agents?” a letter from those Republicans to Garland asks. “If so, did any of the decisions to remove those people come as a consequence of cooperation between the federal government and the people that were animating the violence?”
“We look forward to your truthful and transparent response.”
The letter was signed by GOP Reps. Thomas Massie of Kentucky; Matt Gaetz, Greg Steube and Bill Posey, all of Florida; Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia; Louie Gohmert of Texas; Andy Biggs and Paul Gosar, both of Arizona; and Bob Good of Virginia.
Their questions seem to refer to an Arizona man named Ray Epps, who is increasingly being suspected in conservative circles as an agent provocateur who instigated protesters into illegally entering the Capitol.
“Epps appears to be among the primary orchestrators of the very first breach of the Capitol’s police barricades” on Jan. 6, the conservative website Revolver News wrote in October in a lengthy article detailing Epps’ involvement in the riot.
“Epps appears to have led the ‘breach team’ that committed the very first illegal acts on that fateful day. What’s more, Epps and his ‘breach team’ did all their dirty work with 10 minutes still remaining in President Trump’s National Mall speech, and with the vast majority of Trump supporters still 30 minutes away from the Capitol.”
Continuing, Revolver News added, “Epps appears to have worked alongside several individuals — many of them suspiciously unindicted — to carry out a breach of the police barricades that induced a subsequent flood of unsuspecting MAGA protesters to unwittingly trespass on Capitol restricted grounds and place themselves in legal jeopardy.”
And back in July, the website added, after Epps first generated public attention, the FBI “stealthily removed” Epps from its “Capitol Violence Most Wanted List.”
In its report, Revolver News noted that Epps is seen in multiple social media videos encouraging people to enter the Capitol.
Then, in the initial hours after the riot, the FBI asked for public assistance identifying the rioters. Soon, investigators received “troves of unassailable direct evidence” about Epps, such that he was one of the first 20 rioters IDed and added to the FBI’s most-wanted list.
Yet, “for nearly six months, amidst the biggest manhunt in American history, the FBI did nothing with this information,” Revolver News added.
“It is important to keep in mind: Ray Epps is a free man. He has never been arrested or charged. Nearly 10 months after January 6, the FBI and Justice Department still refuse to comment on whether Epps has ever been served a search warrant.”
Now, Massie, Gaetz, and other Republicans want to know why.
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