The anniversary of the Jan. 6 insurrection today will, no doubt, be an occasion for a great deal of commentary and reflection: what the day means, whether the fundamental story of the anniversary is the attack on American democracy or the resilience of that democracy in the face of attack, whether it is the attempt to disrupt the peaceful transition of power and overturn an election, the violence of that attempt or the attempt’s ultimate failure.
Here at Lawfare, we have spent the last few months working on a podcast series that looks at Jan. 6 through what we hope will be a different sort of lens.
The Aftermath, which we launch today, is not about the Jan. 6 insurrection itself but about the year-long effort since the attack to deliver accountability for it. Hosted by Lawfare’s executive editor, Natalie Orpett, and produced in partnership with our friends at Goat Rodeo, The Aftermath will be a multipart series—we have not decided yet how many episodes there will be—devoted to our democracy’s response to the transition crisis of 2021.
The first episode, entitled “Day Zero, Ground Zero,” deals 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?
In the coming episodes, we’ll try to tell the story of the efforts to answer these and other accountability questions arising out of Jan. 6.
The second episode will deal with the launch of what has become the largest criminal investigation in American history in the days that followed the insurrection.
The third episode will tell the story of Congress’s effort at constitutional remedies—the second impeachment of President Trump, after he had left office.
Future episodes will cover the early congressional oversight hearings on the Capitol security failures, the failed attempt to create a national commission to study the attack and the resulting creation of the House select committee that is currently investigating Jan. 6.