Sen. Cruz gives an overview of the Capitol conspiracy theory

0
2
 Sen.  Cruz gives an overview of the Capitol conspiracy theory

The special House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack is trying to rebuke a right-wing conspiracy theory that the Federal Bureau of Investigation is in part to blame for the riot
During a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Tuesday, Sen. Ted Cruz gave visibility to the claims that through an informant, the FBI bears some responsibility
The special House committee issued a statement saying it was aware of the “unsupported claims” 
One of the two Republicans on the committee, Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Illinois, then criticized Cruz for amplifying the theory

The special House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack is trying to rebuke a right-wing conspiracy theory that the Federal Bureau of Investigation is in part to blame for the riot. At a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Tuesday, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, gave visibility to the claims that through an informant, the FBI bears some responsibility. 

In response, Jill Sanborn, executive assistant director of the bureau’s National Security Branch, said, “Not to my knowledge.” 

“A lot of Americans are concerned that the federal government deliberately encouraged illegal and violent conduct on Jan. 6,” Cruz said to an FBI official during the hearing about domestic terrorism. “This is a question about public accountability. Did federal agents or those in service of federal agents actively encourage violent and criminal conduct on Jan. 6?”

Story Highlights

  • What You Need To Know

  • “If they criticize the events too much and criticize Donald Trump and his supporters, they run afoul of Republican primary voters. If they effectively support, endorse what occurred, they run afoul of independents and general election voters that they need in November,” said Mark Jones, a political science professor at Rice University. 

This theory involves an Arizona rancher named Ray Epps, who was captured on video the night before the riot urging Trump supporters to enter the Capitol the next day. According to the conspiracists, Epps was trying to encourage the Capitol attack at the behest of the FBI. Adding to the theory is that Epps’ name was removed from an FBI most wanted list and was not arrested or charged.  

“No one’s explained why a person videoed urging people to go to the Capitol, a person whose conduct was so suspect the crowd believed he was a fed, would magically disappear from the list of people the FBI was looking at,” Cruz said.  

The special House committee issued a statement saying it was aware of the “unsupported claims” and interviewed Epps. The statement went on to say, “Epps informed us that he was not employed by, working with, or acting at the direction of any law enforcement agency on Jan. 5 or 6 or at any other time, and that he has never been an informant for the FBI or any other law enforcement agency.” One of the two Republicans on the committee, Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Illinois, then criticized Cruz for amplifying the theory. 

​“One more Ted Cruz conspiracy down,” he tweeted. “Sorry crazies, it ain’t true.”  Cruz’s office declined Capital Tonight’s request for further comment, directing to his line of questions during the hearing.  

Jones said he believes Cruz, a former presidential candidate, is trying to build backing among hardcore Trump supporters. Cruz faced backlash among some conservatives recently for referring to Jan. 6 a “violent terrorist attack.” Jones said the senator is trying to win back support.   “That should help him both if he runs for president 2024, but he also still needs to win a Republican primary here in Texas in 2024, if he wants to continue as a senator. Certainly the statements he’s making now will endear him more to those Republican primary voters,” Jones said.  

It’s a signal that even if Trump does not run again, his influence will remain strong during this year’s midterms and the next presidential election.