The Jan. 6 attack: The cases behind the biggest criminal investigation in U.S. history
Updated February 16, 2024 at 6:31 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.
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.
Explore the Jan. 6 Capitol riot cases
About this story
This is a project from NPR's Investigations and News Apps teams. NPR's Tom Dreisbach, Meg Anderson, Dina Temple-Raston, Monika Evstatieva, Barbara Van Woerkom, Arezou Rezvani, Barrie Hardymon, Tim Mak, Austin Fast, Emine Yücel, Allison Mollenkamp, Nick McMillan, and Noah Caldwell contributed reporting to this project; NPR's Connie Hanzhang Jin and Alyson Hurt built the database; and NPR's Emily Bogle, Catie Dull, Michele Abercrombie and Di'Amond Moore identified photographs.
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