The Aftermath

The Aftermath, Episode 2: Scattered to the Four Winds

By Benjamin Wittes
Monday, March 7, 2022, 11:18 AM

On Monday, we released the second episode in our narrative podcast series, The Aftermath:

Episode 1, available here, had dealt with the events of Jan. 6 itself and the accountability questions they raised: How did security at the Capitol complex fail so completely? Who bears political responsibility for the event, and what does that look like? How do you conduct a criminal investigation of an attack when you’ve literally let thousands of perpetrators walk away from the scene? Who gets to tell the official story of what happened that day, and by what means and authority? And where do we go from here?

Episode 2—entitled “Scattered to the Four Winds”—deals specifically with the early phases of the criminal investigation launched by the FBI even as the perpetrators of the riot were heading home. Featuring former FBI and Justice Department official Chuck Rosenberg, New York Times reporter Katie Benner, and Seamus Hughes of the George Washington University Program on Extremism, it tells the story of how the investigation got started, the challenges investigators faced in a nationwide manhunt featuring thousands of suspects and perpetrators, and the internal struggle that had just taken place within the Justice Department itself.

Along the way, we also bore down into four specific, representative cases—designed to show the diversity of the conduct the department has prosecuted over the year since the insurrection took place. 

Episode 3, which we are working on now, will tell the story of the impeachment efforts that took place immediately after the insurrection and of Congress’s consideration of other constitutional remedies at its disposal.