What Will GOP Congress Do? ‘Investigate’ Loony Conspiracies
A bizarre interview Wednesday between far-right conspiracy theorist Alex Jones and Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) — covering the January 6 insurrection and the COVID-19 pandemic — revealed the toxic nexus between right-wing media and Republican politics, and what sort of lies a future GOP majority might use its power to promote by holding public investigations.
Greene is currently one of the top fundraisers in the House, and she has the support of Fox News prime-time host and conservative media kingmaker Tucker Carlson, who recently donated to her campaign.
She and Jones discussed a conspiracy theory that has made its way from far-right media to Carlson’s show, and then from Carlson’s show to a Senate committee hearing: the claim that an Arizona man named Ray Epps was a central figure in a conspiracy to entrap Trump supporters on January 6. Epps was seen on video the night of January 5, 2021, telling a crowd of Trump supporters to enter the Capitol the next day, and he was also seen outside the Capitol building during the siege. Epps was identified online and interviewed byThe Arizona Republic in the days following the attack, but it does not appear that he ever actually entered the Capitol or personally committed any violent acts that day.
Nevertheless, Epps has become a major figure in January 6 conspiracy theories — which have persisted even after the theory has been repeatedly debunked.
In this latest example, it was Greene who invoked Epps’ name as part of the supposed conspiracy. Initially, Jones bemoaned that Democrats were “trying to say I’m involved” in the insurrection, rhetorically asking, “I mean, how crazy is that?” (It’s not crazy at all, considering that Jones helped fund and plan the march and claimed the day after that the White House had directed him to lead the crowd to the Capitol.)
After assuring Jones that “you did absolutely nothing wrong,” and expressing her concern about the “innocent political prisoners” being held in jail, Greene added that Republicans would have to investigate Epps’ role in January 6 — that is, should the GOP win control of the House in the elections this November — in order to expose “all of their lies” surrounding what happened that day.
ALEX JONES (HOST): You’re what people want, an amazing, powerful, smart, beautiful woman promoting freedom. And that is what scares the Democrats, and that’s why they want to demonize you and have tried to expel you from Congress for January 6. They’re trying to say I’m involved, the Democrats are, as well. I mean, how crazy is that? Because I know you wanted to have the 10-day Senate investigation that’s in the law and totally legal — that’s what I wanted. The last thing we wanted was that fiasco. But I am really concerned about the vast majority of folks who were not violent, and are innocent political prisoners. And we really appreciate the fact that you’ve gone and tried to shed light on what’s happened to them.
REP. MARJORIE TAYLOR GREENE (R-GA): Well, thank you for that, and you did absolutely nothing wrong. I saw the videos — you were telling not to go, you were telling people not to do anything, and you were doing everything right.
But it’s people like Ray Epps who were telling people to go into the Capitol, urging people to go in the Capitol, take the Capitol, and all these horrible things that Ray Epps said. And I didn’t see Ray Epps in the D.C. jail, Alex, when I went in there, when I saw these pretrial January 6 defendants being held in solitary confinement, roughly 22 to 23 hours a day. I didn’t see Ray Epps in there.
And so we need to do these investigations when Republicans take back the House, if we’re able to take back the House after this election cycle. But we need to go in there, and we need to find out what’s going on, because Ray Epps is the one question that no one can answer.
And the fact that Adam Kinzinger, Liz Cheney, and the rest of the disgusting January 6 clown committee is defending this guy just shows you and exposes all of their lies. They can’t dare come after someone like you, Alex, or innocent people that got legal rally permits, or people that worked for Trump’s administration, staffers and so on. They shouldn’t come after any of you, if they’re going to stand there and let Ray Epps off the hook, because we know what he did. He is clearly guilty of more than anyone.
The two also discussed Fox Nation host Lara Logan, who has been absent from Fox News ever since she compared Dr. Anthony Fauci to the Nazi war criminal Dr. Josef Mengele. (Fox, however, has not said anything official about her status.) Jones and Greene, however, both agreed that Logan’s outrageous comment was a “fair comparison.”
Greene then brought up another set of claims that have circulated between the online fringes and right-wing media hosts such as Carlson and Charlie Kirk, saying that there have been a vast number of deaths from the COVID-19 vaccines based on the unvetted Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System.
“Why are there so many deaths reported on the VAER system? Why are there so many vaccine injuries reported on the VAER system?” Greene asked. (Well, for example, a VAERS report that a 2-year-old died after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine during clinical trials in early 2021 — when trials had not even begun yet for children that young — had to be removed from the system for being “completely made up.”)
Greene further claimed that there was a conspiracy by pharmaceutical companies to promote the vaccines “instead of real treatments” such as the anti-parasitic drug ivermectin and the anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine, which have been championed by Fox News and the entire right-wing media grifter ecosystem. As such, she said, “I tend to agree with Lara Logan, and I think most people do as well.”
“I think maybe she should run for office,” Jones replied.
In addition, Greene declared that “we need to investigate all these people” who talked down ivermectin and other alternative drugs for COVID-19: “Because it’s Dr. Fauci, and anyone at the CDC, or anyone involved that stopped lifesaving treatments and therapies, and people died. Well I think they’re guilty of murder.”
Is this a preview of the future, or would other congressional Republicans refuse to go along with these investigations? Well, the track record so far has shown that more experienced national politicians can quickly give in to “constructive bullying,” as they respond to demands from the right-wing media base to push these narratives.
Reprinted with permission from Media Matters