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The Jan. 6 attack: The cases behind the biggest criminal investigation in U.S. history

Supporters of Donald Trump stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.
Brent Stirton
/
Getty Images
Supporters of Donald Trump stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.

Updated June 07, 2024 at 18:19 PM ET

Editor's note: This story was first published on Feb. 9, 2021. It is regularly updated and includes explicit language.

On Jan. 6, 2021, supporters of then-President Donald Trump stormed the U.S. Capitol, injuring 140 law enforcement officers, forcing a panicked evacuation of the nation's political leaders, and threatening the peaceful transfer of power.

Five people died during or soon after the riot, and more than $2.9 million worth of damage was done to the Capitol. Rioters brought firearms, knives, hatchets, pepper spray, baseball bats and other improvised weapons to the Capitol grounds and prosecutors say many of those weapons were used to assault police. The Federal Bureau of Investigation considers the attack an act of domestic terrorism. In response, the Department of Justice launched the largest criminal investigation in U.S. history.

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The FBI continues to make arrests for charges stemming from the insurrection, though at a slower pace than in the earliest months of the investigation. The FBI has estimated that around 2,000 people took part in criminal acts on Jan. 6. At the current pace of arrests, the government appears unlikely to charge all of those individuals before the statute of limitations lapses for many offenses on Jan. 5, 2026, according to an NPR analysis.

The U.S. Supreme Court is also set to weigh arguments about the scope of a felony charge brought in more than 300 Capitol riot cases, including the federal criminal case against Trump himself: obstruction of an official proceeding. The court's decision could have implications for hundreds of Jan. 6 defendants.

NPR is tracking every federal criminal case stemming from that day's events. This database makes publicly available — and searchable — information on hundreds of cases, including alleged affiliation with extremist ideologies and past or present police or military experience.

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Explore the Jan. 6 Capitol riot cases

About this story

Copyright 2021 NPR

Corrected: February 20, 2021 at 3:35 PM CST
In an earlier version of this database, the summary for Vitali GossJankowski was mistakenly entered twice and appeared incorrectly for Cindy Sue Fitchett.
Dina Temple-Raston is a correspondent on NPR's Investigations team focusing on breaking news stories and national security, technology and social justice.
Tom Dreisbach is a correspondent on NPR's Investigations team focusing on breaking news stories.
Monika Evstatieva is a Senior Producer on Investigations.
Arezou Rezvani is a senior editor for NPR's Morning Edition and founding editor of Up First, NPR's daily news podcast.
Meg Anderson is an editor on NPR's Investigations team, where she shapes the team's groundbreaking work for radio, digital and social platforms. She served as a producer on the Peabody Award-winning series Lost Mothers, which investigated the high rate of maternal mortality in the United States. She also does her own original reporting for the team, including the series Heat and Health in American Cities, which won multiple awards, and the story of a COVID-19 outbreak in a Black community and the systemic factors at play. She also completed a fellowship as a local reporter for WAMU, the public radio station for Washington, D.C. Before joining the Investigations team, she worked on NPR's politics desk, education desk and on Morning Edition. Her roots are in the Midwest, where she graduated with a Master's degree from Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism.
Barbara Van Woerkom is a researcher and producer with the Investigations team. She is a master at digging up documents, finding obscure people and answering all manner of research questions. Van Woerkom has been a part of several award-winning series, including "Guilty and Charged," which focused on excessive fees in the criminal justice system that target the poor; "Lost Mothers," an examination of the maternal mortality crisis in America; and "Abused and Betrayed," which brought to light the high rate of sexual assault on people with intellectual disabilities. She also won a Peabody Award for a series on soldiers who were deliberately exposed to mustard gas by the U.S. military during World War II, locating hundreds more affected veterans than the Department of Veterans Affairs was able to find.
Austin Fast is the inaugural Roy W. Howard Fellow on NPR's investigations team.