Jill Sanborn, the FBI's executive assistant director of the National Security Branch, was unable to provide answers during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing about the potential involvement of federal informants during the 2021 Capitol riot.
In the hearing, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) asked Sanborn on Tuesday, "How many FBI agents or confidential informants actively participated in the events of January 6th?"
"Sir, I’m sure you can appreciate that I can’t go into the specifics of sources and methods...," Sanborn began to answer.
"Did any FBI agents or confidential informants actively participated in the events of January 6th? Yes or no?" Cruz interjected.
"Sir, I can’t — I can’t answer that," Sanborn replied.
"Did any FBI agents or FBI informants actively encourage and incite crimes of violence on January 6th?" Cruz pressed.
"Sir, I can’t answer that," Sanborn repeated.
Cruz then inquired Sanborn about Ray Epps, who was seen several times on January 5 and 6 trying to instigate the crowd before the riot took place at the Capitol building. To date, Epps has not been arrested or is known to be charged with anything.
"On the night of January 5, 2021, Epps wandered around the crowd that were gathered and there’s video out there of him chatting tomorrow we need to get into the Capitol, into the Capitol. This was strange behavior, so strange that the crowd began chanting, 'Fed! Fed! Fed! Fed! Fed! Fed!' Ms. Sanborn was Ray Epps a fed?" Cruz asked.
"Sir I cannot answer that question," Sanborn reiterated a third time.
"My question to you — and this is — this is not an ordinary law enforcement question, this is a question about public accountability — did federal agents or those in service of federal agent actively encourage violent and criminal conduct on January 6th?" Cruz asked again.
"Not to my knowledge, sir," Sanborn replied.
A spokesperson for the House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the U.S. Capitol issued the following statement on Epps:
"The Select Committee is aware of unsupported claims that Ray Epps was an FBI informant based on the fact that he was on the FBI Wanted list and then was removed from that list without being charged. The Select Committee has interviewed Mr. Epps. 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."
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