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Jan. 6 committee staffer: "Zero evidence that Ray Epps was a federal agent"

Debunking Ray Epps conspiracy
Jan. 6 Committee staffer debunks the Ray Epps conspiracy theory 03:42

In the months after the January 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol, an Arizona man named Ray Epps became the target of a conspiracy theory that accused him of being a federal agent that incited the riot. 

The unfounded accusation began on a right-wing website and seeped into Fox News Chanel's prime time shows, including "Tucker Carlson Tonight" and "The Ingraham Angle." The conspiracy theory was then amplified by elected members of congress including Senator Ted Cruz, R-TX, and Representatives Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-GA, and Matt Gaetz, R-FL.

Bill Whitaker asked Ray Epps why he was at the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. 60 Minutes

This week on 60 Minutes, correspondent Bill Whitaker interviewed Ray Epps. Epps is a staunch conservative and former member of the Oath Keepers militia who twice voted for former President Donald Trump. He told 60 Minutes he was forced to sell his house and move into an RV because of threats he began receiving because of the conspiracy theory.

"No matter how many times they push this conspiracy theory, this lie, it'll never become truth," Epps told 60 Minutes. "Truth stands on its own. What I'm telling you is the truth."

Epps told 60 Minutes he went to Washington, D.C. in 2021 to attend Mr. Trump's January 6 rally. The night before the insurrection, Epps was recorded at an impromptu gathering in Washington, encouraging people enter the Capitol the following day. His suggestion was met by shouts from other Trump supporters accusing him of being a federal agent. 

Epps maintains that he did not enter the Capitol on January 6 and did not break any laws. His photo initially appeared on an FBI website that sought information about people of interest who were in and around the Capitol grounds that day. The photo was taken down after Epps was questioned by the FBI. 

In a statement to 60 Minutes, the FBI said: "Ray Epps has never been an FBI source or an FBI employee."

According to Thomas Joscelyn, who worked for the House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol and helped author its final report, there was no evidence that Epps was involved in planning or orchestrating the insurrection.

"I wouldn't defend Ray Epps or anybody else who was on the Capitol grounds that day," Joscelyn told 60 Minutes. "I would just defend the facts. And the facts are that there's still absolutely zero evidence that Ray Epps was a federal agent, or a federal provocateur, or had any kind of contact with the FBI or any other federal agencies."

You can watch Bill Whitaker's full report on Ray Epps below.

Ray Epps: The 60 Minutes Interview 13:23

The video at the top was produced by Keith Zubrow and edited by Sarah Shafer Prediger.

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