Ray Epps: Viral video shows ex-marine urging Jan 6 crowd to storm Capitol

Some Trump supporters have hypothesized that 60-year-old Ray Epps intended to frame them as domestic terrorists

                            Ray Epps: Viral video shows ex-marine urging Jan 6 crowd to storm Capitol
60-year-old Ray Epps is accused of being a federal plant with a motive to frame January 6 protesters as domestic terrorists (Twitter)

A viral video shows a retired Marine appearing to convince protesters to go into the Capitol building on January 6 last year before he was accused by right-wingers of helping incite the riot on behalf of the federal government.

Some supporters of former President Donald Trump have hypothesized that 60-year-old Ray Epps was a federal plant with a motive to frame protesters as domestic terrorists. That said, there is no evidence that Epps ever entered the federal building himself on that fateful day and was never arrested in connection with the storming despite being named in the FBI's January 6 wanted list.


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Epps was highlighted once again in October during the House Judiciary Committee oversight hearing of the Department of Justice when the FBI plant theory went mainstream. The 60-year-old was seen in clips presented by  Representative Thomas Massie (R-KY) repeatedly urging protesters on the streets of DC to "go into" the Capitol building.  During the hearing, Massie asked Attorney General Merrick Garland if the government had deployed agents or assets to "agitate" protestors into entering the federal building. In response, Garland said the DoJ does not comment on a pending investigation.


In the first clip played by Massie, Epps was seen inciting people in the street on January 5. "In fact tomorrow, I don't even want to say it because I will probably be arrested. Tomorrow we need to go into the Capitol," he is heard saying. Later that day, he is recorded saying, "I'm going to put it out there. I'm probably going to go to jail for it, OK? Tomorrow, we need to go into the Capitol. Into the Capitol…peacefully."

His repeated requests immediately caused some to believe he's a federal plant, and they began to chant, "Fed! Fed! Fed!" The next day, he was seen in another clip dressed in military-style clothing and making similar requests to the crowd. "OK folks spread the word. As soon as the president is done speaking, we go to the Capitol, where our problems are." He adds, "It's that direction. Please spread the word," pointing behind him.


The Arizona Republic later asked the ex-marine what he meant by "go into the Capitol." He told the local newspaper, "The only thing that meant is we would go in the doors like everyone else. It was totally, totally wrong the way they went in…I didn't do anything wrong," he insisted.

Who is Ray Epps?

Epps is an ex-marine who was reportedly the president of the Oath Keepers' Arizona chapter, the nation's largest, in 2011. However, it's unclear if he's still affiliated with the organization, which seeks veterans and ex-law enforcement for membership. Epps has been living on a five-acre horse farm in Arizona since 2010. He and his wife Robyn, also 60, developed the site and they run a wedding venue business called Knotty Barn, where couples can get married in a bucolic setting and even stay in a bridal suite. 

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