A senior Federal Bureau of Investigations official repeatedly refused to answer when grilled by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) at a hearing on Tuesday whether the federal agency participated in the riot at the Capitol building on January 6.
Cruz questioned Jill Sanborn, who is executive assistant director of the FBI’s National Security Branch, whether any FBI agents participated in the events that unfolded on January 6, which Democrats have called an insurrection.
Cruz asked Sanborn, “How many FBI agents or confidential informants actively participated in the events of January 6?”
She responded, “Sir, I’m sure you can appreciate that I can’t go into the specifics of sources and methods.”
Cruz asked if “any FBI agents or confidential informants” actively participated in the events of January 6th. “Yes or no?” he asked. Sanborn responded, “Sir, I can’t answer that.”
Sanborn gave a similar response when asked whether any FBI agents or confidential informants “commit[ed] crimes of violence on January 6th,” or if any FBI agents or informants actively encouraged and incited crimes of violence that day.
Under questioning again, she claimed she did not know whether “federal agents or anyone in the service of federal agents actively encouraged violence or criminal conduct. “Not to my knowledge, sir,” she told Cruz.
Sanborn’s refusal to confirm — or deny — the FBI’s involvement in the riot that day could bolster growing suspicions about the role of the agency in egging on violence at the Capitol.
Suspicions have focused particularly on one man, Ray Epps. Cruz said Epps was caught on video encouraging people on January 5, 2021, to break into the Capitol, prompting some to chant “Fed! Fed! Fed!”
Cruz said Epps was also captured on video whispering to someone who then began tearing down barricades around the Capitol on January 6, 2021. Cruz noted that the FBI first sought information on him from the public in a posting, but then later removed him from the posting.
Cruz asked Sanborn, “Who is Ray Epps?”
Sanborn said she was “aware of the individual,” but did not have the “specific background to him.”
Cruz asked if Epps was a fed.
“Sir, I cannot answer that question,” Sanford said.
She also could not say whether Epps urged people to tear down barricades.
.@SenTedCruz: "Did any FBI agents or confidential informants actively participate in the events of January 6th? Yes or no?"
FBI's Jill Sanborn: "I can't answer that." pic.twitter.com/Z5Sj1tSyNx
— CSPAN (@cspan) January 11, 2022