WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX), fresh off of frantically backpedaling on earlier comments where he referred to the January 6, 2021 riots at the U.S. Capitol as a “violent terrorist attack,” did an abrupt about-face on Tuesday when he harshly questioned a senior FBI official regarding suspicions that undercover FBI agents were involved in breaching the building while Congress was attempting to certify the results of the 2020 presidential election.
The FBI official, however, repeatedly declined to answer Cruz’s questions.
At a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing titled “The Domestic Terrorism Threat One Year After January 6,” executive assistant director for the FBI’s national security branch Jill Sanborn was asked by Cruz about rumors that FBI agents had in some way incited members of the riot to actually enter the Capitol Building.
“How many FBI agents or confidential informants actively participated in the events of Jan. 6?” the Texas senator asked, to which Sanborn replied that she was unable to discuss the FBI’s “sources and methods.”
Cruz then asked if FBI agents or confidential informants had participated in the Capitol riots, or if they had in any way “actively encouraged” crimes on that day; to both of those questions, Sanborn replied, “Sir, I can’t answer that.”
Cruz then asked Sanborn about Ray Epps, an individual seen on video the day before the riots encouraging protestors to enter the Capitol Building the next day; in the video in question, Epps could be seen telling a crowd “Tomorrow, we need to get into the Capitol!” The crowd, clearly suspecting Epps of being disingenuous, began chanting “Fed! Fed!” at him.
Some individuals have suspected that Epps was actually an undercover FBI agent who was sent to incite protestors, as evidenced by the fact that he initially appeared on the FBI’s Most Wanted list after the riots but was abruptly removed without explanation; at previous hearings since the riots, various government officials questioned about Epps have repeatedly refused to confirm or deny who he was.
“Miss Sanborn, was Ray Epps a fed?” Cruz asked.
“Sir, I cannot answer that question,” she replied, and continued to decline to answer several additional questions Cruz posed about Epps and his purported activities.
However, after the hearing, Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) issued a series of tweets, attempting to debunk the theory of Epps being a federal agent.
In a lengthily Twitter thread, Kinzinger claimed that Epps was removed from the FBI’s Most Wanted list because an investigation had revealed that he did not enter the Capitol Building on January 6 and had not committed any crimes, and that Epps had fully cooperated with the January 6 committee’s inquiries.