Over the last year, Trumpism has advanced three grand lies: against the significance of the pandemic, against Biden’s clear win in the presidential election, and against the fact of a violent insurrection at the Capitol on January 6th.
In response to that third lie – that there was no violent insurrection – there is ample documentary evidence showing the violent criminal behavior of a fanatical horde. Inside the Capitol Riot: An Exclusive Video Investigation from the New York Times shows indisputably (to rational minds) that hundreds committed acts of violence in a failed effort to prevent certification of the election result.
In the six months since an angry pro-Trump mob stormed the U.S. Capitol, immense efforts have been made not only to find the rioters and hold them accountable, but also — and perhaps more important — to dig into the details of Jan. 6 and slowly piece together what actually happened that day.
Congressional committees have looked into police and intelligence failures. The Justice Department has launched a nationwide investigation that has now resulted in more than 500 arrests. And while Republicans in Congress blocked the formation of a blue-ribbon bipartisan committee, House Democrats are poised to appoint a smaller select committee.
Even now, however, Republican politicians and their allies in the media are still playing down the most brazen attack on a seat of power in modern American history. Some have sought to paint the assault as the work of mere tourists. Others, going further, have accused the F.B.I. of planning the attack in what they have described — wildly — as a false-flag operation.
The work of understanding Jan. 6 has been hard enough without this barrage of disinformation and, hoping to get to the bottom of the riot, The Times’s Visual Investigations team spent several months reviewing thousands of videos, many filmed by the rioters themselves and since deleted from social media. We filed motions to unseal police body-camera footage, scoured law enforcement radio communications, and synchronized and mapped the visual evidence.
While it’s right to record history, it’s also necessary, as American finds herself beset with mendacious enemies both foreign and domestic.
Quite plainly: this country wouldn’t need so many documentaries if she didn’t have so many Trumpist liars. Yet she has these liars, and so she needs honest men and women to produce documentaries in defense of the truth.