The January 6, 2021 insurrection was not simply a national security failure. It was the product of broader effort by a violent minority to dispute and attempt to overturn the results of a free and fair election that began months before the attack. CREW urges Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer to include events in the months leading up to and months after the election in Congress’ investigation into the insurrection. 

CREW urges Congress to investigate failures in security on the day of the attack. This includes gaps in intelligence and physical and informational security of the Capitol as well as delays in reacting to the security crisis, including timing and reasons for the delay in providing requested assistance. 

We also urge Congress to investigate systematic failures to confront and seriously act on threats of white nationalist groups leading up to the attack, as well as the failure to identify and respond to security threats posed by the political supporters of President Trump. 

Congress must also interrogate the planning and coordination of the attack in the months prior, including the nature and extent of any planning or coordination between white nationalist and extremist groups, public officials, and organizers of the January 6, 2021 “stop the steal” rally. It should also investigate disinformation about the 2020 presidential election and the proliferation of conspiracy theories on social media, including the spread of such disinformation by federal officials, as well as. federal officials’ role in pressuring state election officials to invalidate the votes cast by thousands of Americans. 

Finally, federal officials’ obstruction of democratic processes surrounding the election must be investigated. Postmaster General Louis DeJoy’s role in making it harder for Americans to vote by mail should be examined as well as federal officials’ efforts to undermine the rule of law, which may have had the effect of signaling that certain individuals would not face consequences for criminal misconduct.

The commission’s work is no substitute for ongoing or future criminal investigations, and criminal investigations are no substitute for a full and unflinching account of the insurrection and everything that led up to it. Truth and accountability are both essential to the future of our democracy.

The scope of the January 6 Commission must examine all of these factors because the day was a culmination of many tensions and systemic factors, rather than the product of a single precipitating event. No stone should go unturned—especially not the role of any official action or actor in precipitating this attack on our democracy. 

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