• InsurrectionFormer National Security Officials Call for a 9/11 Commission-Like investigation of the Attack on the Capitol

    More than a hundred former senior national security, military, and elected officials, both Republicans and Democrats, have called on lawmakers to form an independent bipartisan commission to investigate the attack. “We write to encourage this Congress to establish an independent and bipartisan national commission to investigate the January 6th assault of the U.S. Capitol Complex and its direct causes, and to make recommendations to prevent future assaults and strengthen the resilience of our democratic institutions,” the letter, which was signed by 140 officials, read.

  • Domestic terrorism“Domestic Terrorism Prevention Act” Gains Steam

    By Patrick G. Eddington

    Congress should avoid a repetition of the PATRIOT Act debacle and not legislate in this area until existing investigations into the Capitol Insurrection have run their course and we have the full facts about how it happened, who was involved, and why the response to the insurrection was so slow and fragmented. A quick, fear‐driven legislative response will only make things worse.

  • Extremism46,218 News Transcripts Show Ideologically Extreme Politicians Get More Airtime

    By Joshua P. Darr, Jeremy Padgett, and Johanna Dunaway

    We research how changes in the media have shifted the incentives of elected officials and the considerations of voters, and what that means for American democracy. In recent work, we showed that extremely conservative and extremely liberal legislators receive far more airtime on cable and broadcast news than their moderate counterparts. Robust local news outlets once held legislators to account by covering whether they delivered for their districts. But as local news has declined, voters are turning to national media outlets for their political news. There, ideological outliers now set the tone of the debate, distorting perceptions of the important issues and warping Americans’ views of their political options.

  • Attack o the CapitolAn Eyewitness to the Capitol Siege

    By Niall Fitzgerald and Nolan Cleary

    Two journalists for the Long Island’s North Shore Leader were present on January 6th for the Electoral College reading to the Joint Session of the U.S. Congress, when they witnessed the Capitol Hill riotous protests. Several local North Shore residents also were present and have been interviewed. This is what the journalists report.

  • Attack o the CapitolDon’t Blame Fox News for the Attack on the Capitol

    By Ashique KhudaBukhsh,Mark Kamlet, and Tom Mitchell

    In the immediate aftermath of the 6 January assault on the Capitol, in a Trump-inspired effort by his supporters to prevent Congress from ratifying the rightful winner of the election, Fox News was criticized for “whipping up the radicals.” A close comparative study of post-election news coverage, however, shows that Fox News was restraint, and largely accurate, in its coverage, while three right-wing fringe networks – Newsmax, One America News Network (OANN), and Blaze TV – had a far bigger role in amplifying Trump’s disinformation and conspiracy theories about the election. The hyper-partisan coverage of election integrity provided by the three fringe networks – combined with the almost perfectly sealed echo chamber they had created for their viewers – makes them the more likely culprit for having riled up loyal Trump supporters.

  • ARGUMENT: Insurrection investigationNine Questions for the Capitol Insurrection Commission

    In the days since the Jan. 6 insurrection, calls have proliferated for a national commission to report on the riot and its attendant events. “The calls are understandable and worthy—though some hard thinking is needed before launching any investigation,” Daniel Byman and Benjamin Wittes write. There is “a lot of sense to a high-level and broad inquiry by an independent commission to explore and report on the multifaceted aspects of Jan. 6 that have nothing to do with impeachment or criminal conduct,” they write. They offer a list of at least some of the questions that any commission will need to consider.

  • PERSPECTIVE: Capitol siegeA Proposal for a Commission on the Capitol Siege

    On 6 January, the U.S. Capitol was assaulted and occupied for the first time since 1814. Five people were killed, including Brian Sicknick, a Capitol Police officer who was beaten to death while attempting to repel the siege. Herb Lin and Amy Zegart write that the insurrectionists were ultimately unable to block the Congressional certification of Joseph Biden as president-elect and Kamala Harris as vice president-elect. “Accountability, healing, and national reconciliation are vital to restoring American democracy in the days ahead,” they write. “It is critical for the nation to conduct a systematic, thorough and bipartisan examination of this event to understand how it happened and how to prevent similar violent attacks on democratic processes in the future.”

  • ExtremismCapitol Siege Raises Questions over Extent of White Supremacist Infiltration of U.S. Police

    By Vida Johnson

    The apparent participation of off-duty officers in the rally that morphed into a siege on the U.S. Capitol building Jan. 6 has revived fears about white supremacists within police departments. Reports of officers involved in an attack in which the symbols and language of white supremacy were clearly on display are concerning. But so too, I believe, is a policing culture that may have contributed to the downplaying of the risk of attack before it began and the apparent sympathetic response to attackers displayed by some police officers – they too hint at a wider problem.

  • ARGUMENT: Impeachment & mad kingsNecessary and Insufficient: The Problems Impeachment Does Not Solve

    Congress could not ignore President Donald Trump’s relentless, persistent campaign of Big Lies about the 3 November election—a pattern of behavior that culminated in the president’s move last week to assemble a mob in Washington and loose it on the Capitol. Benjamin Wittes writes that impeachment was, therefore, necessary – but “Impeachment is an awkward remedy in a more practical sense” since “It does nothing to disable Trump in the last seven days of his presidency.” “Congress can remove a president using impeachment but, in the meantime, has to leave the mad king in possession of all of his powers.”

  • Democracy watchU.S. Capitol Police Overrun by Mob After Declining Help

    By Jeff Seldin

    Law enforcement officials in charge of protecting the U.S. Capitol repeatedly declined offers of additional assistance ahead of Wednesday’s protest-turned-riot that forced lawmakers to take shelter, delaying certification of the results of the country’s presidential election. The allegations, from defense and military officials, come a day after large crowds of extremists supporting President Donald Trump pushed past barricades and members of the Capitol Police to rampage through the building.

  • Democracy watchThe Uncomfortable Questions Facing Capitol Police over the Security Breach by MAGA Mob

    By Tom Nolan

    When die-hard Trump supporters are able to storm the U.S. Capitol and forcefully occupy offices in the House and the Senate, questions over security are going to be asked. Something clearly didn’t go to plan on Wednesday. The man in charge of policing that day, U.S. Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund, has since announced he is resigning. But even with him gone, what will remain are serious questions that will need to be answered about how an angry mob was able to circumvent security and enter the Capitol building.

  • PERSPECTIVE: Capitol security failureTragedy at the Capitol: Four Questions that Demand Answers

    How can the U.S. Capitol, surrounded by one of the largest concentrations of law enforcement and national security personnel in the world, be so quickly overrun by Trump insurrectionists hell-bent on “stopping the steal,” halting our cherished democratic processes, and potentially harming lawmakers? Mark Nevitt writes that “it was always drilled home from my time in the military the importance of unity of command and unity of effort…. But prior to the insurrection, Trump himself incited it, in tweets and in a speech that morning. Shockingly, the person at the very top of the chain of command was not interested in protecting the Capitol nor the lawmakers inside during a time of national crisis.”

  • Democracy watchOfficials Seek Answers to Why Security Failed at U.S. Capitol Wednesday

    Washington, D.C., officials have joined U.S. lawmakers in calling for an investigation of the police force that protects the Capitol, while offering praise for their actions, after Wednesday’s storming of the seat of the country’s legislative branch by a mob of pro-Trump protesters.

  • PERSPECTIVE: Plum IslandCongress’s Spending Bill Protects a Mysterious Island for Studying Diseases from the Auction Block

    For decades, Plum Island, off the northeast edge of Long Island, has been the subject of the kind of conspiracy theories the Internet loves. The truth is more prosaic: By order of Congress, the Plum Island Animal Disease Laboratory opened in 1956 to study how to combat dangerous foreign animal pathogens, such as foot-and-mouth disease. A dozen years ago, Congress approved a plan to move the animal research facility to Manhattan, Kansas. The move was to be followed by auctioning Plum Island to the highest bidder. A coalition consisting of environmental groups, Native American nations, local businesses, and other organizations was formed to block any such sale. James Bennet writes that “deep within the 5,000-plus pages of the spending bill awaiting President Trump’s signature… is a terse provision that saves Plum Island from the auction block.”

  • ThreatsRecent Congressional Testimony: Worldwide Threats to the Homeland

    By Stevie Kiesel

    Two weeks ago, FBI Director Christopher Wray testified about “Worldwide Threats to the Homeland” to the House Committee on Homeland Security. Wray acknowledges the “unique and unprecedented challenges” brought about by COVID-19, as well as important “aggressive and sophisticated threats on many fronts,” but in his opening statement he focuses on five main topics: cyber, China, lawful access, election security, and counterterrorism.