Fox News fueling right-wing conspiracy blaming FBI for pro-Trump insurrection
Capitol Rioters (Screengrab)

Right-wing Republicans are pushing a new conspiracy theory blaming the Jan. 6 insurrection on federal agents.

GOP lawmakers have previously claimed the U.S. Capitol rioters were tourists or even antifa and Black Lives Matter imposters, but now some Republicans are baselessly claiming that one participant -- Oath Keepers member Ray Epps -- acted as an agent provocateur for the FBI, reported Mother Jones.

“I’m starting to think this was less of an insurrection and more of a ‘fedsurrection,’” said Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) during a news conference with the Right Side Broadcasting Network on the riot's one-year anniversary.

The theory originated on 4chan, but former Donald Trump speechwriter Darren Beattie, who was fired for appearing on a panel with white nationalist Peter Brimelow, boosted the conspiracy into the mainstream via Fox News host Tucker Carlson.

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“What the evidence suggests is one of the biggest scandals in American history,” Beattie told the broadcaster on the anniversary.

The FBI has notoriously set up bogus terror plots through the use of informants, but there's no evidence that Epps -- an Arizona cattle rancher with ties to the Oath Keepers who went to Washington, D.C., to protest Trump's election loss -- was working on behalf of the feds or anyone else.

The purported smoking-gun evidence against Epps is a series of videos from the night before the riot showing him call for a "peaceful" march into the Capitol, which is met with accusations by someone else in the crowd that he's a fed, and then another clip showing him moments before the Capitol perimeter was breached cupping his hand and speaking into another man's ear.

Beattie has claimed this as proof that Epps directed the pro-Trump crowd to breach the fence, but the video shows several other men had already crashed through the barriers before Epps supposedly gave his orders.

Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY) referenced the theory, pointing out that Epps had not yet been arrested, during an Oct. 21 hearing with attorney general Merrick Garland, who declined to comment on the ongoing investigation.

Epps hasn't been arrested, but he admitted in a newspaper interview shortly after the riot that he had gone inside the Capitol, and it's possible that has been apprehended and then agreed to cooperate with the investigation.