Wray Blows Up Conspiracy Theories That ‘Antifa’ Or Fake Trumpers Drove Jan. 6 Attack

FBI Director Christopher Wray testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee on the January 6th insurrection, in the Hart Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC on March 2, 2021. (Photo by MANDEL N... FBI Director Christopher Wray testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee on the January 6th insurrection, in the Hart Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC on March 2, 2021. (Photo by MANDEL NGAN / POOL / AFP) (Photo by MANDEL NGAN/POOL/AFP via Getty Images) MORE LESS

There’s just no evidence at all so far that anti-fascists or fake Trump supporters played a role in the Jan. 6 Capitol attack, FBI Director Christopher Wray told Congress on Tuesday. 

Appearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Wray was asked several times about the widespread lie — promoted by Trump supporters, including members of Congress, quickly after the attack — that,  in fact, Trump supporters were being unfairly blamed for the violence. 

“While we’re equal-opportunity in looking for violent extremism of any ideology, we have not, to date, seen any evidence of anarchist violent extremists or people subscribing to ‘antifa’ in connection with the 6th,” Wray told Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) early in the hearing.

Leahy had asked if the FBI had seen evidence that “antifa” — short for anti-fascists — or other left-wing groups had played a part in the attack.

“That doesn’t mean we’re not looking, and we’ll continue to look, but at the moment we have not seen that,” Wray added. 

Later in the hearing, asked by Sen. Chris Coons (D-DE) if there was any evidence that the riot had been organized by people “simply posing” as Trump supporters, Wray said “we have not seen any evidence of that.” 

What about “antifa” or Black Lives Matter? Coons asked. 

“We have not seen any evidence to that effect thus far,” Wray said. 

The debunking from Wray is relevant given the ongoing push from some Republicans to blur the lines of who committed the attack. 

At a hearing last week, for example, Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) read from an article speculating that “agents provocateurs, fake Trump supporters” were behind the riot. 

So far in the attack investigation, Wray said, authorities have charged members of militia groups and white supremacists — “but the militia violent extremists are probably, at the moment, trending the biggest bucket, if you will,” he said. 

Separately, Wray acknowledged a George Washington University report cited by Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX), which found that the majority of people charged so far in the attack were “inspired believers” rather than individuals who operated as part of larger clusters or militia groups. 

“More and more, the threat that we face as a country is what I would call the ‘inspired attacks,’” Wray said. “They don’t have formal membership in an organization. They don’t have clear command and control direction in the way that, say, an Al Qaeda sleeper cell might have.”

Dear Reader,

When we asked recently what makes TPM different from other outlets, readers cited factors like honesty, curiosity, transparency, and our vibrant community. They also pointed to our ability to report on important stories and trends long before they are picked up by mainstream outlets; our ability to contextualize information within the arc of history; and our focus on the real-world consequences of the news.

Our unique approach to reporting and presenting the news, however, wouldn’t be possible without our readers’ support. That’s not just marketing speak, it’s true: our work would literally not be possible without readers deciding to become members. Not only does member support account for more than 80% of TPM’s revenue, our members have helped us build an engaged and informed community. Many of our best stories were born from reader tips and valuable member feedback.

We do what other news outlets can’t or won’t do because our members’ support gives us real independence.

If you enjoy reading TPM and value what we do, become a member today.

Sincerely,
TPM Staff
Latest News
Comments
Masthead Masthead
Founder & Editor-in-Chief:
Executive Editor:
Managing Editor:
Associate Editor:
Investigations Desk:
Reporters:
Newswriters:
Director of Audience:
Editor at Large:
General Counsel:
Publisher:
Head of Product:
Director of Technology:
Associate Publisher:
Front End Developer:
Senior Designer: