WASHINGTON – There were infamous white nationalists and noted conspiracy theorists who have spread dark visions of pedophile Satanists running the country.
Others were more anonymous, people who had journeyed from Indiana and South Carolina to heed President Donald Trump's call to show their support. One person, a West Virginia lawmaker, had just been elected to office in November.
All of them converged Wednesday on the grounds of the U.S. Capitol, where hundreds of rioters crashed through barricades, climbed through windows and walked through doors, wandering around the hallways with a sense of gleeful desecration, because, for a few breathtaking hours, they believed that they had displaced the very elites they said they hated.
"We wanted to show these politicians that it's us who's in charge, not them," said a construction worker from Indianapolis, who is 40 and identified himself only as Aaron. He declined to give his last name, saying, "I'm not that dumb."
He added: "We've got the strength."
As the country sifts through the shards of what happened in Washington on Wednesday, what comes into focus in the storming of the Capitol is a jumbled constellation of hard-core Trump supporters: a largely white crowd, many of them armed with bats, shields and chemical spray; some carried Confederate flags and wore costumes of fur and horns inspired by QAnon; they were mostly men, but there were women, too.
Those who stormed the Capitol were just one slice of the thousands of Trump supporters who had descended on Washington to protest the certification of Joe Biden's victory in November over Trump.
Their breach came with a confused and frenzied energy, fueled by the words of Trump just minutes before and the fervor of the mob standing behind them.
Some of those who had also surged forward in the crowd seemed to show a bewildered wonder at what they were seeing in front of them.
A few remarked on the opulence of the Capitol building and offices, a quality that seemed to confirm their suspicions about the corruption of Washington.
"Yeah look at all this fancy furniture they have," said a man in a winter parka and red hat, standing on the west side of the Capitol and peering through the glass at empty desks, computer screens and ergonomic chairs. Several people banged on the windows with their fists, including one man who shouted, "Put the coffee on!" One man hit his head, not seeing the outer layer of glass there, it was so clean.
As people rushed inside, there was a strange mix of confusion and excitement, and the almost complete lack of police presence in the beginning amplified the feeling of lawlessness.
They gawked at a place of wealth and beauty, adorned with art and marble, a domain of the powerful, and for a short while Wednesday afternoon, the rioters were in control. For once, they felt, they could not be ignored.
The lawmaker from West Virginia and a man who broke into Speaker Nancy Pelosi's office and posed at her desk were among those arrested on charges related to the siege at the Capitol, federal law enforcement officials announced Friday as they promised an exhaustive investigation into the violence.
Derrick Evans, the newly elected lawmaker from West Virginia, posted video to his Facebook page of him filming as he stood among the crowd outside a Capitol door and then rushing inside with them.
Richard Barnett, 60, from Gravette, Ark., who posted a picture on social media that showed him sitting at Pelosi's desk with his feet up and said he had expected to be arrested, was arrested and faces three counts.
The authorities also found 11 Molotov cocktails and a semi-automatic rifle in the truck of a 70-year-old man from Alabama who was also arrested, according to prosecutors. He also had two handguns.
Hundreds of prosecutors and FBI agents have been assigned to work the investigation and were pursuing dozens of cases, Ken Kohl, a prosecutor in the U.S. Attorney's Office in Washington, said in a briefing with reporters.
"We are far from done," added Steven D'Antuono, who runs the FBI's Washington Field Office.
Federal law enforcement officials have charged at least 13 people, the Justice Department said later Friday, several on charges of unlawful entry. Washington police have also arrested dozens, mostly on charges of unlawful entry and curfew violations.
The U.S. Capitol Police announced the arrests of 14 other people on Thursday.