Maryland Representative Jamie Raskin on Wednesday smacked down one of his Republican colleagues on the House Judiciary Committee after he was asked to respond to a repeatedly debunked conspiracy theory regarding an alleged agent provocateur who has become a central figure in Trumpworld claims about the January 6 riot.
After Kentucky Republican Rep Thomas Massie began asking Mr Raskin about Ray Epps – an Arizona man who supporters of the ex-president who incited the Capitol riot claim was acting at the behest of the government when he allegedly ordered a man called Ryan Samsel to begin attacking police officers – Mr Raskin shut his GOP colleague down. Mr Raskin chided him for continuing to discuss Mr Epps and spin conspiracy theories about why an interview Mr Epps sat for with the House January 6 committee remains unreleased.
“None of the transcripts have been released, so you don't need a conspiracy theory about that – we haven't released any,” Mr Raskin said.
Continuing, he laid into Mr Massey for “trying to make this poor schmuck who showed up to your protest into something a lot bigger than he is”.
“He's just trying to survive and he's on your side. You don't have many voters left — you might want to try to hang on to them without demonising and vilifying your own people,” he said.
Raskin: You guys are trying to make this poor schmuck who showed up to your protest into something a lot bigger than he is. He’s just trying to survive and he’s on your side. You don’t have many voters left, you might want to try to hang on to them pic.twitter.com/CI3axaF7uP
— Acyn (@Acyn) September 21, 2022
Mr Epps, who in July told The New York Times that his life has been ruined by the GOP conspiracists who have forced him to flee his home and sell his business, was not arrested on January 6 and has not been charged with any crimes. But his brief conversation with Mr Samsel has led prominent Republicans to claim he was an FBI informant and demand information on him from the Department of Justice.
In an interview with the FBI obtained by the Times, Mr Samsel told agents Mr Epps only told him not to bother police that day.
“He came up to me and he said, ‘Dude’ — his entire words were, ‘Relax, the cops are doing their job,’” he said.