Tom Dreisbach

Tom Dreisbach is a correspondent on NPR's Investigations team focusing on breaking news stories.

His reporting on issues like COVID-19 scams and immigration detention has sparked federal investigations and has been cited by members of congress. Earlier, Dreisbach was a producer and editor for NPR's Embedded, where his work examined how opioids helped cause an HIV outbreak in Indiana, the role of video evidence in police shootings and the controversial development of Donald Trump's Southern California golf club. In 2018, he was awarded a national Edward R. Murrow Award from RTDNA. Prior to Embedded, Dreisbach was an editor for All Things Considered, NPR's flagship afternoon news show.

Editor's Note: This story includes explicit language.

In June 2018, a member of the Proud Boys punched a counterprotester in the jaw, shoved him into the pavement in Portland, Ore., and sent him to the hospital with a serious concussion.

The counterprotester had used a metal baton to strike first, and the Proud Boys leader, Ethan Nordean, claimed self-defense. In the end, Nordean, a former bodybuilder, faced no legal consequences for knocking out the man.

The far-right conspiracy theorist Alex Jones has been banned from Facebook, Apple, YouTube, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, Spotify and even PayPal for violating those sites' policies against hate speech. But Jones continues to have a platform to sell expensive dietary supplements through one of the world's biggest online retailers: Amazon.

In federal court on Wednesday, a judge heard arguments about whether a 22-year-old UCLA student, who took inspiration from far-right extremists, should be released from federal custody pending his criminal trial for allegedly storming the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.

In the wake of the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, a popular narrative has emerged: that because rioters did not fire guns that day, they were not really "armed."

For nearly a year, UCLA students said, they raised the alarm about one of their classmates.

On Twitter, classmate Christian Secor attacked women and minorities, they said, and embraced the ideology of a far-right extremist. On campus, he pushed a student Republicans group toward extreme positions against all immigration. And on the video streaming site DLive, Secor took on the handle "Scuffed Elliot Rodger" — an apparent reference to the misogynist gunman who killed six people in Isla Vista, Calif., in 2014.

Leo Brent Bozell IV, the son of a prominent conservative activist and media critic, has been charged for his alleged involvement in the Capitol insurrection.

The impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump hinges on the question of whether he incited insurrectionists to storm the Capitol on Jan. 6.

To make their case, the House impeachment managers have argued: Just listen to the rioters.

"Their own statements before, during and after the attack make clear the attack was done for Donald Trump, at his instructions and to fulfill his wishes," said Rep. Diana DeGette, a Colorado Democrat, on Thursday.

Updated April 9, 2021 at 11:10 AM ET

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

Nearly every day since insurrectionists stormed the U.S. Capitol, the list of those charged in the attack has grown longer. The government has now identified more than 375 suspects in the Jan. 6 rioting, which ended with five people dead, including a U.S. Capitol Police officer.

As a violent mob descended on the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, lawmakers and aides hid wherever they could, waiting for the military and police to arrive. But many of those who stormed the Capitol were military veterans themselves, who had once sworn to protect the Constitution. In fact, an NPR analysis has found that nearly 1 in 5 people charged over their alleged involvement in the attack on the U.S. Capitol appear to have a military history.

Updated 12:48 p.m.

Among some prominent Republicans, inside social media companies and in other major institutions throughout society, a reckoning has erupted following the violent attack on the U.S. Capitol last week.

Not at the Fox News Channel, however. On the contrary, the network that has helped shape conservative politics in the U.S. for more than two decades has yet to acknowledge how the heated rhetoric radiating from its shows and stars may have helped inspire the pro-Trump rampage.

The United States Capitol Police have identified the woman who was shot and killed by one of their officers during the pro-Trump rioting on Wednesday as Ashli E. Babbitt, an Air Force veteran from the San Diego area.

She was among the rioters who stormed the Capitol building.

Babbitt, 35, was one of four people who died during Wednesday's chaotic events, according to Washington's Metropolitan Police Department (MPD). MPD Police Chief Robert Contee said the three others who died experienced unspecified "medical emergencies."

Early on in the coronavirus pandemic, as governments scrambled to find rapid and reliable coronavirus tests, three states ended up turning to a small public company that just months earlier had no major customers and was losing millions of dollars.

The chairman and CEO of Pfizer, Albert Bourla, sold $5.6 million worth of stock in the pharmaceutical company on Monday. The sale took place on the same day Pfizer announced that its experimental coronavirus vaccine candidate was found to be more than 90% effective. The company's stock soared on the news.

A member of Congress, who has led efforts to investigate alleged coronavirus scams, is calling for the federal government to crack down on an unproven treatment for COVID-19. Widespread sales of that purported treatment - a drug known as thymosin alpha-1 - were first identified by an NPR investigation earlier this month.

A major political donor, who just two years ago was forced out of his position as finance chair of the Republican National Committee, has contributed millions of dollars this election cycle to Republican candidates and political action committees aligned with the party.

Just as the coronavirus pandemic began its rapid and deadly spread across the United States, a well-known doctor named Dominique Fradin-Read told thousands of viewers tuning into an Instagram Live video that she had an answer: "one of the best ways to prevent and fight COVID-19."

Whether the coronavirus vaccine developed by Moderna succeeds or not, executives at the small biotech company have already made tens of millions of dollars by cashing in their stock. An NPR examination of official company disclosures has revealed additional irregularities and potential warning signs.

"On a scale of one to 10, one being less concerned and 10 being the most concerned," said Daniel Taylor, an associate professor of accounting at the Wharton School, "this is an 11."

Jack Brewer, a member of Black Voices for Trump who is scheduled to speak at the Republican National Convention on Wednesday, was charged with insider trading by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission earlier this month.

Louis DeJoy, depending on whom you talk to, is either a Republican political operative beholden to President Trump, or a savvy businessman who's the right person to fix what's broken at the U.S. Postal Service. When senators question him this week, they will want to know which narrative is closer to the truth — and whether he is suited to head the service at this time.

The government agency responsible for policing Wall Street brought the fewest number of insider trading cases in decades, according to the most recent available data.

That decline came just before the COVID-19 pandemic hit. The Securities and Exchange Commission now warns that the pandemic has created wild swings in the market and more opportunities for insider trading.

NPR reviewed data from the 1980s through last year and found that under the Trump administration, the SEC brought just 32 insider trading enforcement actions in 2019, the lowest number since 1996.

The federal government has repeatedly warned Americans about scammers trying to sell dietary supplements as a remedy for COVID-19 when medical experts say supplements are neither safe nor effective for treating the disease.

But if consumers type "coronavirus supplement" or "COVID supplement" into the search bar at Amazon.com, not only does the online retailer auto-complete the search, it serves up pages and pages of supplements without any warning about the scientific evidence.

Dr. Lauren Jenkins says her medical training has always taught her to think of the worst-case scenario. And one day this past March, that's exactly where her mind went.

It was early into the coronavirus pandemic. Jenkins, a 37-year-old obstetrician-gynecologist who practices at a hospital in Philadelphia, was cooking for her husband and their nearly three-year-old twins, Pierce and Ashton.

That's when she got a call from a colleague. An anesthesiologist she had worked with during a long surgery about one week earlier had tested positive for the coronavirus.

The city attorney of Los Angeles announced Wednesday that his office is suing Wellness Matrix Group for allegedly engaging in a "fraudulent scheme" related to the COVID-19 pandemic that was both "sophisticated" and "wide ranging."

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In late March, the California company RootMD started advertising "at-home Covid-19 exposure and immunity tests" for consumers worried about the coronavirus. For $249, the company said it would mail out a test kit — including a "lancet" that buyers could use to prick their finger and collect a blood sample. Then, the company promised, consumers could mail that sample back to "certified MD immunologists" to test for antibodies to the coronavirus, and get results within 48 hours.

The kind of financial schemes depicted in movies like The Wolf Of Wall Street and Boiler Room never went away, and Wall Street's top cops are warning investors that the coronavirus has only created new opportunities for that type of financial fraud.

In response, the Securities And Exchange Commission has "substantially accelerated" its pace of enforcement related to the pandemic, says Stephanie Avakian, who co-directs the SEC's enforcement division.

Mike Feuer, the city attorney of Los Angeles, announced on Monday that his office had "filed a civil law enforcement action against, and achieved an immediate settlement with," a company that had been "illegally selling" an at-home test for the coronavirus.

With government authorities warning an anxious public about scams related to the coronavirus, a California company is facing scrutiny by members of Congress and the city attorney of Los Angeles for selling COVID-19 test kits that it claimed can be used "in the home or at the bedside."

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In the early morning of June 12, 2017, a group of eight Central American migrants decided to go on a hunger strike to protest conditions at the immigration detention center where they were being held in California.

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