While the “Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol” continues to hold hearings and examine different aspects of the events of January 6, 2021, serious questions about what role, if any, federal agents or informants played that day remain largely unanswered.
In January of this year, on his podcast The Verdict with Ted Cruz, Sen. Cruz examined this question specifically as it relates to a man by the name of Ray Epps, who has become a central figure in this debate.
Footage of Epps on January 6, and critically on the day before, has been widely circulated on the internet and has caused many, including Sen. Cruz, to question the nature of his actions and whether he was a potential agent provocateur embedded by the federal government itself to foment illegal activity within the unwitting crowd.
Footage from January 5, 2021, shows Epps enticing the crowd to enter the Capitol the following day. “I’m going to put it out there, I may go to jail for this … tomorrow … we need to go into the Capitol … into the Capitol!”
The crowd immediately responds to Epps with boos, cries of “no,” and a chant of “Fed! Fed! Fed!”
In an exclusive interview with The Epoch Times, a man named Eric Clark recounts his personal experience with Epps the day following January 6.
After listening to President Trump speak and leaving before he finished, Clark approached the U.S. Capitol on the pathway from the Peace Foundation.
“As soon as we arrived at the Peace Monument, what I see already is something’s wrong,” Clark told the Epoch Times. “Something’s at least off-kilter. Something’s already gone on. There were just people all the way up to the top of the Capitol steps and a thin line of Capitol guard people all the way up on that tower already.”
Clark then let out a loud cry of “Oorah,” an expression used by U.S. Marines. At this point, Ray Epps approached him and allegedly told Clark, “Semper Fidelis, devil dog, we got to hold this crowd back a little longer, or they’re gonna f–k up the plan.”
Clark told the Epoch Times he was not sure what to make of Epps’ mention of a “plan,” but he watched as Epps interacted with many people in the crowd. Clark claimed that Epps appeared to command great authority with protesters and police alike.
“When he came and said what he had to say to me, he had an obvious presence of authority amongst not just the protesters but the Capitol guard as well. Any time he would walk by, they would back off,” Clark remarked.
Clark recounted watching as Epps pulled individuals out of the crowd and engaged them in brief conversation before these individuals would proceed to perform “specific actions.”
“The other gentleman pulled out [by Epps] in the black hoodie pulls two other people out of the crowd, and they make a beeline directly toward this structure. It’s like 4 foot by 4 foot by 4 foot, and it has a hatch like a lid on top of it,” Clark recounted.
Clark says the men pulled open the hatch and retrieved a 12-foot-long piece of lumber, cardboard tubing of about the same length, and a small step stool. The exact intended purpose of these items is unclear; however, in footage of the breach of the U.S. Capitol, a man is seen hurling a piece of lumber similar to the one described by Clark through a window.
According to Clark, who later examined the area, the hatch where the items were stored appeared to be utility access or drain clean-out. The Epoch Times independently observed such a hatch at precisely the location outlined by Clark.
In an email correspondence to the Epoch Times, John Blischak, Epps’ Arizona-based attorney, denied the allegations made by Clark, stating, “It never happened.”
Curiously, despite substantial video evidence of Epps’ actions attempting to incite crowds, Epps remains uncharged as of the writing of this story. Conversely, Eric Clark has been charged with “knowingly entering or remaining in a restricted building without legal authority, and violent or disorderly conduct in a Capitol building” and has pleaded not guilty.