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The lawyer representing Ray Epps, the former Oath Keeper who was captured on video inciting people to breach the U.S. Capitol, offered an explanation for why his client was removed from the FBI’s suspect database.
According to attorney John Blischak, Epps simply “explained his position” in a phone call to the bureau. See? Nothing to it.
Epps was never arrested despite appearing multiple times in footage. The night before the protest, he is seen encouraging others to enter the Capital and on Jan. 6, Epps is right there on the steps of the Capitol as the protest went awry. In one shot, Epps is seen whispering into the ear of a protester just before that man and others rip down barricades that had been set up by police.
Given that the FBI conducted a massive nationwide manhunt to track down and arrest all who where involved in the rioting that day, to include grandmothers taking selfies inside the Capitol, the fact that Epps escaped any consequence resulted in rumors that he may be an FBI informant or working for the government in some capacity.
Politico reported last week that Epps met with Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s politically motivated Jan. 6 select committee in November, reporting that he “was no secret government agent.”
“The select committee has interviewed Mr. Epps,” a spokesperson for the committee is quoted saying. “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.”
That meeting was just a precursor to a more-formal transcribed interview set to take place on Friday, according to Blischak, who addressed the controversy over why Epps was removed from the FBI’s list.
More from Politico:
Blischak told POLITICO that the reason Epps was removed was, in part, because he was no longer an unidentified suspect. Rather, he called the FBI on Jan. 8 and “explained his position” after a relative informed him that he had been the subject of news reporting related to the riot, Blischak said
Blischak said he had no knowledge about why it took several months for the FBI to remove Epps’ face from its “wanted” database.
The fact that the meeting this week will be “transcribed” prompted an obvious question, to which Politico reporter Kyle Cheney replied: “They’re not uncommon — they’ve happened with a few other 1/6 witnesses I’m aware of and possibly others. It’s an initial approach where the two sides feel each other out about evidence/ground rules/basics of testimony. Very normal part of the accommodation process.”
It all sounds so rational, not that others who’ve interacted with authorities have had a similar experience:
They’re not uncommon — they’ve happened with a few other 1/6 witnesses I’m aware of and possibly others. It’s an initial approach where the two sides feel each other out about evidence/ground rules/basics of testimony. Very normal part of the accommodation process.
— Kyle Cheney (@kyledcheney) January 18, 2022
Somewhat remarkably, U.S. Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., one of the two “Pelosi Republicans” on the select committee — the other being U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo. — not only went to bat for Epps, he thanked him for his cooperation — compare that to the Jan. 6 protesters who still sit in solitary confinement in a DC gulag.
“He didn’t enter the Capitol on Jan 6, and was removed from the most wanted list because apparently he broke no laws,” Kinzinger tweeted last week. “I’m pretty sure the FBI wouldn’t be dumb enough to put their own agent on a wanted list. Ray Epps has cooperated with the Jan 6 committee and we thank him.”
With all the speculation that the FBI may have played some role in events on the ground that fateful day, suffice it to say, social media users are skeptical… here’s a quick sampling of responses from Twitter:
After they already had some practice ?
— ALARM_CLOCK🚨 (@jorge58454907) January 18, 2022
Under oath or just a friendly chat? And will the transcripts be made public un redacted? I doubt it.
— Croaker (@CroakersAzz) January 18, 2022
The ONE on tape literally calling to go into the capital……gets in informal sit down?? Did they have cake and coffee? There’s others sitting in solitary.
— Jim Muessig (@JimMuessig) January 18, 2022
why is he getting this treatment and not the others that have been in solitary?
any reason he’s free and a media darling?
— Anony Mouse (@AnonyMo52892641) January 18, 2022
Is that kinda like when the FBI investigates their own? Seems legit.
— Lil Miss Potter (@blueIDmnstr) January 18, 2022
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