Footage of the Capitol riot deals a blow to the Jan. 6 conspiracy theory

Newly released video footage of the January 6, 2021 riot at the US Capitol Building has dealt a blow to a conspiracy theory that claims federal agents were involved.

House Speaker Mike Johnson, R-Louisiana, last week released 90 hours of tapes from Jan. 6, when supporters of former President Donald Trump violently protested the results of the 2020 presidential election in an unsuccessful attempt to block Congress from certifying his victory. President Joe Biden in the Electoral College.

Since that day, more than 1,000 people, including Trump, have been indicted for their alleged role in the riot. Some conservatives have accused the Department of Justice (DOJ) of unfairly targeting suspected rioters on Jan. 6 for political purposes, with some raising questions about whether federal agents may have been involved in organizing and inciting the riots.

Conspiracy theorists have pointed to one clip they say proves federal agents were present at the riot. They claimed a video showed one insurgent, Kevin Lyons, wearing one of Trump’s signature “Make America Great Again” hats while displaying an official government identification badge to a camera.

Supporters of Donald Trump at the Capitol during the riot on January 6, 2021 in Washington. Recently released footage of the riots dealt a blow to a theory supported by some conservatives.
John Cherry/Getty Images

However, skeptics pointed out that Lyons was actually holding a vape and not a government ID, casting cold water on the theory. Several high-profile conservatives pushed the theory, but were forced to back down under criticism.

Sen. Mike Lee of Utah was among Republicans who backed the theory, retweeting a post on X, formerly Twitter, on Saturday night questioning whether Lyons was an “undercover federal agent.”

“I look forward to asking FBI Director Christopher Wray about this at our next oversight hearing. I predict that as always his answers will be 97% uninformed,” Lee wrote in an X post.

Lee’s post remained public Monday morning, and he ignored criticism that Lyons was in fact holding a vape, despite a community note from X checking him on the matter.

“Man shows no badge. He is not a government official or source. This is Kevin Lyons, who was recently sentenced to 4 years in prison for his actions on January 6th. He called the police Nazis,” a community note read.

Newsweek has Lee’s office was reached for comment by email.

He also faced criticism from former Republican Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming and others for the post.

“You’re a lawyer, Mike. You are able to understand the multitude of verdicts and decisions since January 6th in our federal courts,” she wrote. “You didn’t challenge the voters on January 6th because you knew what Trump was doing was unconstitutional and you know what you’re doing now is wrong.

“It’s rare for US senators to repeat such blatant misinformation, but here we are,” wrote Politico reporter Kyle Cheney.

Republicans backed away from the theory on January 6

Other Republicans have removed this theory from their social media.

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Green of Georgia, for example, edited a post to X that referred to Lyons holding “a law enforcement badge in his hand while disguised as a Trump supporter wearing a MAGA hat.”

Green removed that line from his post, but it could still be seen by reviewing the platform’s edits Monday morning. She has been among the leading voices in Congress criticizing the DOJ’s treatment of insurgents and called on Johnson to create a commission of inquiry.

Conservative influencer Benny Johnson also appears to have removed a post sharing the theory.

MeidasTouch reported that Johnson wrote to X: “Undercover federal agent with BADGE, fully disguised as a Trump supporter INSIDE the US Capitol on January 6th. January 6 was created by the Federal Reserve. by reason of interception.”

The post was no longer on his X profile on Monday morning and Newsweek could not verify the authenticity of the tweet.