In yesterday’s J6 committee hearing update, I told you about THE NEW YORK TIMES’ odd story on Ray Epps, which painted him as a victim of right-wing conspiracy theorists. Epps says he plans to sue those who’ve accused him of working undercover for the FBI to encourage Trump supporters to “go inside the Capitol.”
Tucker Carlson has repeatedly reported on the Ray Epps suspicions, and he fought back against the NYT story Thursday evening. Apparently, Tucker said, in all the time the NYT reporter spent with Epps (a whole day), he was never asked what he meant to accomplish by telling the crowd to go into the building. “It’s all very strange,” Tucker said. “THE NEW YORK TIMES has mounted a propaganda campaign on behalf of a self-described Trump voter insurrectionist.” What’s going on here?
“It’s almost like they’re trying to cover something up,” he said.
Tucker found it interesting that the NYT specifically includes this: “Mr. Epps also said he regretted sending a text to his nephew, well after the violence had erupted, in which he discussed how he helped to orchestrate the movements of people who were leaving Mr. Trump’s speech near the White House by pointing them in the direction of the Capitol.” He theorizes that since we’ve heard nothing at all till now about this particular text, the main purpose of the NYT piece might have been to “drop that little bomblet at the end in the least damaging way.”
Also, the piece fails to mention whether Epps had any contacts with any federal agencies in the period leading up to the rally. Why wouldn’t the NYT ask him about that?
But the article does tell us that Epps might be in mortal danger from Mexican drug cartels. Talk about a non sequitur; how are Mexican drug cartels involved in the story of January 6?
Darren Beattie of REVOLVER NEWS, who has done outstanding reporting on January 6, pointed out that “in the entire piece, there is no blanket, explicit denial on the part of Epps to have been associated with any intelligence group, DHS, JTTF [Joint Terrorism Task Force], military intelligence, so forth. [He] just reiterates his very legal denial of being involved with law enforcement.” Also, “the piece describes Epps as a Trump supporter...on a last-minute thing with his son to attend Trump’s speech on election fraud. The only thing is, Epps didn’t attend the speech. Epps travels all the way from Arizona to DC, this big Trump supporter, and he doesn’t even attend the speech?”
No, he “fixates on this bizarre mission to get everyone to go into the Capitol?” And he happens to be “hanging out right by the initial breach point...before the Proud Boys even get there?”
The piece also doesn’t discuss how Epps got this idea. “Here’s the one person calling for everyone to go in,” and the NYT doesn't ask him that. Did he come up with it himself after he got there? Did someone tell him to do it?
Epps’ behavior was “so egregious,” Beattie said, that he was in the top 20 on the FBI Most Wanted list and even featured in a NYT documentary on January 6. “And now, he’s unarrested, unindicted, and he’s the only January 6 rioter about whom Adam Kinzinger has nice things to say and THE NEW YORK TIMES is writing puff pieces about.”
We still need to know about the roles played by law enforcement, intelligence and the military on that day and the days leading up to it. “When they won’t answer a question and call you names for asking it, maybe there’s something there,” Tucker concluded.
Of course, as we reported yesterday, Adam Schiff is doing his best to keep the next Congress --- almost certainly destined to be GOP-led --- from looking into questions like that.
Article after article is parroting what the NYT reported about Epps. They use the phrase “unfounded conspiracy theory” to describe suspicions about him. “Baseless” is another popular adjective, which is used here just as reflexively as it is in articles on election fraud (another issue for which suspicions are not, in reality, baseless). Here’s one example:
If you have a strong stomach and the time and inclination to read these, you’ll see that Tucker is right about the big questions regarding Epps’ behavior not being asked. I’m in no way defending the harassment and death threats Epps says he’s received, but, really, why WASN’T he arrested and charged for doing the same thing (and more) that got others locked up without bail? Why WAS he dropped from the FBI Most Wanted list? BUSINESS INSIDER simply says that “the FBI has not publicly commented on allegations that Epps was working with them or why he was not charged.”
Epps was caught on camera blatantly encouraging what the left condemns as “insurrectionist” behavior. The fact that he wasn’t arrested and jailed and treated with the same lack of due process as others were who did much less --- Brandon Straka, who also never entered the Capitol and was much more peaceful, comes to mind --- makes no sense. So my guess is that some piece of information is missing. Whether or not Epps was working with the feds, something about this story smells off.
The NYT ran an earlier piece on Epps, in May, reporting that during discovery for some of those protesters who, unlike Epps, were actually facing charges, some recordings of interviews were found to support the claim that he tried to calm another protester before that person confronted cops at the barricades and effectively triggered the breach. He's said to have whispered to the man, Ryan Samsel, something like, "Dude, relax; the cops are doing their job," not encouraging him to riot as has been alleged.
This detail, even if true, still doesn't tell us why Epps was so insistent the night before that protesters go inside the building and why law enforcement took such an uncharacteristic hands-off approach with him.