WASHINGTON — Mysterious white buses unloaded dozens of FBI informants near the Capitol on the morning of Jan. 6, according to a new conspiracy theory from Rep. Clay Higgins (R-La.).
During a hearing with FBI director Christopher Wray on Wednesday, Higgins displayed a picture from inside the Union Station parking garage on Jan. 6 and asked if Wray was familiar with ghost buses.
“A ghost bus?” Wray said. “I’m not sure I’ve used that term before.”
Higgins, an Army veteran and former police officer, said ghost vehicles are used for “secret purposes.” He pointed to the picture of buses in the garage and noted they were painted “completely white,” as though that were an unusual way for buses to look.
“These buses are nefarious in nature and were filled with FBI informants dressed as Trump supporters deployed unto our Capitol on Jan. 6,” Higgins said. “Your day is coming, Mr. Wray.”
The ghost buses are the latest distraction from and excuse for the attack on the Capitol by supporters of former President Donald Trump. Higgins and other Republicans have suggested the attack has been used as a pretext for the persecution of Trump and his followers.
More than 1,200 people have been arrested and charged with federal crimes for their actions that day, according to the Department of Justice, including more than 400 charged with assaulting or interfering with police. The riot was part of Trump’s unsuccessful effort to nullify his loss in the 2020 presidential election, for which Trump has been charged with multiple felonies.
In an alternate reality — one that surfaces in Capitol Hill hearing rooms every few months when someone from the Justice Department testifies — FBI provocateurs tricked the legion of Trump supporters into ransacking the Capitol. Wray has offered a similar response each time.
“If you are asking whether the violence at the Capitol on Jan. 6 was part of some operation orchestrated by FBI sources and/or agents, the answer is emphatically no,” Wray told Higgins Wednesday.
Even among people steeped in conspiracy theories about Jan. 6, the ghost buses are new. Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss..), the former co-chair of the House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol, said he had never heard of them.
“In all our work, we never even came across that term,” Thompson told HuffPost, adding that he had never even heard someone claim there was a bus full of FBI informants.
Rep. Barry Loudermilk (R-Ga.), chairman of a House subcommittee investigating alleged deficiencies of Thompson’s investigation, also said he’d never heard of ghost buses. He initially thought a reporter was asking about “Ghostbusters,” the movie franchise.
Loudermilk said he believed there were “federal agents” in plain clothes present on Jan. 6 because that’s normal practice for law enforcement during any large political protest. His only question was whether they were present before help had been requested by the Capitol Police and what information had prompted them to attend.
But Loudermilk said he cautions his staff to disprove theories rather than prove them so they don’t deceive themselves.
“If you seek to prove a theory true, you will, 100% the time, because you will discredit any evidence contrary to your political theory,” Loudermilk said.
(Steven D’Antuono, the former assistant director in charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Office, told lawmakers in June, in a closed-door deposition, that he had not assigned any FBI agents to attend the protest that day. He said any FBI informants who attended only did so of their own volition and that the bureau used information from its sources to try to discourage potential domestic terrorists from coming to Washington.)
“These buses are nefarious in nature and were filled with FBI informants dressed as Trump supporters deployed unto our Capitol on Jan. 6"Clay Higgins (R-La.)
Lawmakers may be unfamiliar with the ghost buses because Higgins has kept his investigation private, the Louisiana Republican told HuffPost.
“I can tell you that I have extensive evidence about those two vehicles,” Higgins said, adding that the buses were seen unloading military-age men with muscular physiques, who looked like police officers even though they were dressed like Trump supporters, and the buses were abandoned in the garage.
When asked if he was saying the FBI’s bus passengers orchestrated the attack on the Capitol, Higgins wouldn’t go there.
“They orchestrated what they orchestrated and don’t put words in my mouth,” Higgins said, explaining that the FBI infiltrated groups of people who met online to complain about coronavirus restrictions in 2020.
“I’ve turned a lot of this evidence over to the appropriate authorities, and we’ll see what happens,” Higgins said. “When we get Trump back in the White House, these guys are in a bind.”