US Capitol riots: Is the threat of far-right political extremism to American democracy receding or just building?

  • In this special report, ITV News Correspondent Robert Moore looks at who was inside the Capitol building on January 6

On Sunday, ITV broadcasts a major new documentary examining the forces - and the characters - behind the attack on the US Capitol on January 6th. Along with his ITV News crew, Robert Moore witnessed the insurrection first-hand. In this powerful new film, he tracks down some of those he met on that fateful day to understand their motives and grievances, and to assess the dangers ahead. "After the Storm: America's Enemy Within?" airs on ITV Sunday at 10.25pm and afterwards on the ITV Hub.

For three months, I have been trying to answer some burning questions. Who were the insurrectionists and seditionists who stormed the Capitol on the afternoon of January 6th? What were their grievances beyond the passions of the moment? And, most significantly, has the immediate threat of far-right political extremism to American democracy receded, or is it still building? In this documentary film, we travelled across the country to locate and speak with the so-called seditionists whom I first met in the chaotic and violence-strewn corridors of Congress in January.

The journey took me from the swamps of eastern Florida to the hills of Oregon in the Pacific Northwest. We interviewed a member of the Proud Boys - the far right, nationalist group - about his role as he awaits trial on multiple charges. We spoke to conspiracy theorists who claim January 6th was a false-flag operation, believing that the invasion of Congress was orchestrated by the far left.

Joshua Pruitt, a member of the far-right group the Proud Boys, says he is not frightened of going to jail for storming the Capitol

I also interviewed the man who had shouted at me when I was outside Speaker Nancy Pelosi's office that he was a good and law-abiding citizen and that "you did this to us."

David Medina, who shouted 'you did this to us' to an ITV News camera on the day of the storming, said the government had motivated him to get 'politically active'

In different parts of America, I stumbled across a bizarre cast of characters, some suffering from childhood traumas, others who had simply followed their extreme pro-Trump passions all the way to the Capitol. No one expressed regret or remorse. Instead, they all insisted the media had wrongly portrayed the events of January 6th. This documentary is, at its heart, a dark journey into wild beliefs about a stolen election and far-right politics. It is also a glimpse into an all-hands-on-deck law-enforcement operation that has become the largest investigation since 9/11.

ITV News cameras followed the insurrectionists into the Capitol building and through the hallowed halls. Credit: ITV News

I met a Sheriff who compared this moment in history to the fall of the Roman Empire and who showed me a suspected extremist camp in remote woodland. Above all, I found a country where beneath the surface the volcano of conspiracy theory and far-right militancy is still rumbling and is ready to erupt again That is a cause for grave concern within the FBI, as agents try and stop the next act of right-wing political violence.

After the Storm: America's Enemy Within? is broadcast on ITV on Sunday 25 April at 10.25pm and afterwards on the ITV Hub.