A sizable majority of likely voters believe that the Capitol riot of Jan. 6, 2021, was provoked by government agents secretly operating in the crowds, a stunning rejection of the blame that Justice Department prosecutors and a special House panel have put squarely on the head of former President Donald Trump.
While many had suspicions of undercover agents fanning anger in the crowd about Trump’s electoral loss to President Joe Biden, the airing of never-before-seen videos by Fox’s Tucker Carlson jumped that number to 65% in the latest Rasmussen Reports survey.
Rasmussen reported that nearly half (47%) said it was “very likely” that agents whipped up protesters to the point of attacking police and breaking into the Capitol, where Congress and former Vice President Mike Pence were trying to certify Trump’s loss and Biden’s win.
“Following Tucker Carlson’s release of previously unseen videos from the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the U.S. Capitol, more voters now believe it may have been provoked by undercover agents,” the poll analysis read.
“Among voters who have ‘very closely’ followed news about Carlson’s broadcast of new videos of the Capitol riot, 72% think it’s ‘very likely’ that undercover government agents helped provoke the riot,” it added.
Federal officials have denied playing a role. Carlson was criticized for airing the videos granted to him by House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) in a transparency effort.
Some videos showed police guiding protesters through the Capitol's hallways, even holding the door open for some of the most well-known suspects.
The Justice Department has charged some 1,000 rioters and said it plans to charge another 1,000. Some of those charged have been sentenced to years in jail.
The videos have presented a different view than that offered by the DOJ and the recently disbanded Jan. 6 panel, co-chaired by former Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY), who announced Tuesday that she planned to write a book on the affair and blame Trump for sparking an insurrection.
There have long been rumors that government agents fanned the flames, hopeful that pro-Trump supporters would break into the Capitol and help sully the former president’s reputation. Seven days after the riot, Trump was impeached for a second time on a charge of “incitement.”
While the impeachment vote was fairly one-sided, the new survey showed bipartisanship in the belief that anti-Trump government agents encouraged the riot.
"Seventy-four percent (74%) of Republicans believe it is at least somewhat likely that undercover government agents helped provoke the Capitol riot, as do 59% of Democrats and 62% of voters not affiliated with either major party," Rasmussen's analysis read.