On Thursday, those concerned about the fate of American democracy took the day to acknowledge the one-year anniversary of the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol.
Many have rightly pointed out that the fact that the coup attempt did not succeed does not mean there will not be another attempt — especially since the same lies that propelled rioters to storm the building have burrowed even deeper into the conservative landscape.
As Trump allies and an alarming number of Republican office-holders continue to deny the gravity of that day’s events and the danger of stolen-election lies, accountability is more important than ever in ensuring our elections remain free and fair, and that our democracy withstands these attacks.
In the year since the Capitol riot, American Oversight has been working to shed light on what happened on Jan. 6, 2021, and during the surrounding days. How did government officials prepare for the protests, and how did they respond to the violence? What accounted for the hours-long delay in National Guard deployment? With whom did officials speak as the attack unfolded?
Many questions remain unanswered, and our work, and that of congressional investigators, is ongoing. But through records requests and litigation, we’ve already uncovered key documents and communications. On Thursday, we outlined our findings — and what we’re still asking for — regarding that frightening day.
While we continue to seek answers about Jan. 6, we’ve also been closely following the efforts of prominent proponents of the Big Lie. This week, the partisan election investigation going on in Wisconsin got a heavy dose of accountability, as did the biased “audit” undertaken last year by the Arizona Senate.
- On Tuesday, a Wisconsin judge ordered Assembly Speaker Robin Vos and his aide to answer questions, under oath, from American Oversight regarding their failure to release public records related to the investigation. “The citizens of Wisconsin deserve the truth,” Judge Valerie Bailey-Rihn said. The depositions are scheduled to take place next week, on Jan. 12.
- Vos has gone to great lengths to conceal the inner workings of the taxpayer-funded political stunt, and the public is entitled to learn whether public documents have been destroyed or withheld. Records we’ve already brought to light have shown contact with partisan activists and election deniers, and troubling uses of taxpayer resources.
- In an interview, Vos said that he has spoken with former President Trump several times to update him on the investigation. Vos’s communications with Trump are among the records that we’re suing for.
- A Vos spokesperson also said that Vos has asked lead investigator Michael Gableman to finish his work by the end of the month so legislation can be “passed by the end of this session.”
- Meanwhile, in Arizona, Maricopa County election officials released a point-by-point rebuttal to the Cyber Ninjas final “audit” report. As detailed by the Arizona Republic, county officials “explained that the contractors made faulty assumptions and false accusations, in part because of mistakes they made during their analysis but also because they were inexperienced and misunderstood how the county and state’s elections work.”
- On Thursday, a judge found Cyber Ninjas to be in contempt of court and ordered the firm to pay $50,000 a day as long as it continues failing to comply with court orders to release documents in the Republic’s public records lawsuit. The same day, the Republic’s Jen Fifield reported that a spokesperson for CEO Doug Logan said, “All employees have been let go and the company is being closed.”
- Of course, we also have our ongoing lawsuit for “audit” records held by Cyber Ninjas — on Thursday, Judge Michael Kemp denied the motion by Cyber Ninjas’ lawyer to withdraw from the case. Keep your eyes on our website for further updates in the coming days.
One year after the insurrection, combating these anti-democratic forces and getting answers to questions about Jan. 6 are equally important. American Oversight has partnered with PublicWise and other watchdogs to create the Insurrection Index, a searchable database tracking the organizations and individuals who took part in the Capitol attack who serve in positions of public trust.
Here are some recent articles and essays on the grim anniversary:
- In the Capitol’s shadow, the Jan. 6 panel quietly ramps up its inquiry (New York Times)
- Jan. 6 protesters find new cause: Running for office (Politico)
- Conspiracy, deflection, and mockery: How right-wing media is marking the January 6 anniversary (CNN)
- From the Capitol to the city council: How extremism in the U.S. shifted after Jan. 6 (NBC News)
- ‘It’s only gotten worse’: The long shadow of the night that broke the House (Politico)
- Another far-right group is scrutinized in effort to aid Trump (New York Times)
- Teachers at culture war front lines with Jan. 6 education (Associated Press)
- Facebook groups topped 10,000 daily attacks on election before Jan. 6, analysis shows (Washington Post)
- Since Jan. 6, the pro-Trump internet has descended into infighting over money and followers (Washington Post)
- The 1/6 question: Not what, but when (Politico)
- I fear for our democracy (Jimmy Carter, New York Times)
- Republicans’ Jan. 6 responsibility (Karl Rove, Wall Street Journal)
The Coronavirus Pandemic
As the omicron variant of Covid-19 continues to spread, the Biden administration has faced criticism from public health experts for reducing recommended isolation periods for asymptomatic people. In response, the CDC recommended, but did not require, that they test after five days of isolation. While the country still faces testing shortages, the White House said that beginning next week, Americans can file for reimbursement for at-home rapid test kits.
The U.S reported a record 1 million daily Covid-19 cases on Jan. 2. Deaths from the virus have surpassed 830,000, the highest known number in any country. Over the past two weeks, cases spiked by more than 240 percent compared with the previous two weeks. Deaths have declined slightly.
- The U.S. Postal Service asked the Occupational Health and Safety Administration for a temporary waiver from the federal vaccine mandate.
- Documents obtained by Vanity Fair revealed that the Biden administration in October rejected a plan to distribute free Covid-19 tests ahead of the holiday surge.
- After the Chicago Teachers Union voted to hold classes virtually until Covid-19 cases in the district fell below a particular threshold, the city government retaliated by canceling classes.
- Twitter permanently suspended the account of Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene for violating the site’s Covid-19 misinformation policy.
- The House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis published a staff memo detailing evidence from its investigation into One Medical’s flawed administration of Covid-19 vaccines, claiming that the health care company sought to take advantage of vaccine scarcity to advance company interests.
Other Stories We’re Following
Jan. 6, Election Investigations, and the Big Lie
- Jan. 6 committee subpoenas MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell’s phone records (Politico)
- Capitol Police intelligence analysts worried a member of Congress was actually encouraging violence in the days leading up to the Jan. 6 attack: Louie Gohmert (Politico)
- House Jan. 6 committee requests information from Fox News host Sean Hannity (Washington Post)
- More than 1,000 U.S. public figures aided Trump’s effort to overturn election (Guardian)
- ‘Slow-motion insurrection’: How GOP seizes election power (Associated Press)
- Corporations seek to rebuild bridges with GOP objectors ahead of midterms (The Hill)
- They resigned in protest over Jan. 6 — then never went after Trump again (Politico)
- Report shows the extent of Republican efforts to sabotage democracy (Guardian)
- Wisconsin GOP lawmaker wants outside audit of all state voter data (WKOW Madison)
- Gableman subpoenas election officials and city IT departments as GOP election review widens (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)
- Inside the campaign to undermine Georgia’s election (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
In the States
- Texas natural gas production dropped during recent cold front, reviving concerns about electric grid (Texas Tribune)
- Thousands in Texas Guard unvaccinated as mandate challenged (Associated Press)
- Virginia officials apologize to stranded I-95 motorists, defend storm prep (Virginia Mercury)
- Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan’s messages to state employees self-destruct in 24 hours (Washington Post)
- DeSantis is ‘blurring the lines’ using state plane for campaign-style events, watchdog says (Orlando Sentinel)
- U.S. prisons director resigning after crises-filled tenure (Associated Press)
- Former Rep. John Ratcliffe funneled $30K from his old campaign account to his wife last year (Forbes)
- New York attorney general seeks depositions from Ivanka Trump, Donald Trump Jr. (Washington Post)