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Distinguished Scholar Round-Up: The Capitol Insurrection and its Aftermath

Jan 22, 2021 |

Several of the Strauss Center’s Distinguished Scholars have written about the riot at the U.S. Capitol last week. Professor Jeremi Suri discussed the issue on several platforms. In an article published by KENS5, Suri took a historical perspective, likening the tactics of the rioters to that of al Qaeda, who also previously targeted the Capitol building. He further noted that violence like this has not occurred in the U.S. Capitol since the 1814 British invasion. Suri was also quoted by an article published in Al Jazeera where he noted that we have never “had this at the seat of our government,” but mob violence nonetheless has a long history in America.

Professor William Inboden also weighed in on the riot on multiple platforms. In an interview with ABC’s KVUE channel, Inboden discussed the security and political aspects of the insurrection, providing insight into how such a failure of security may have occurred, and discussing the prospects of impeachment. In a separate interview with the Texas Standard, Inboden discussed four ways the insurrection could impact the U.S.’s global standing, namely: “A window of vulnerability, adversaries further sowing division, a ‘tarnished’ image on the global stage,” and ambiguity regarding the U.S.’s chain of command. 

Professor Kenneth Greene was also interviewed by the Texas Standard on the riot, noting that it had “the fingerprints of an attempted coup in progress.” Greene also expressed his concern about the potential for a “long-term erosion of democratic norms,” and called for a “democratic recovery to go along with the economic one.”

Professor Stephen Vladeck discussed the riot on several platforms as well. In an episode of the Y’all-itics podcast, Vladeck discussed Section 4 of the 25th amendment, which could be invoked to remove President Trump from office faster than impeachment would be able to do. He also discussed the protocol for removing the President via the 14th amendment and the prospects of a Presidential self-pardon. Vladeck was also interviewed by Just Security where he discussed the functioning (or dis-functioning) of norms, rules, and institutions, noting that while it was one of the “darkest days for the presidency in all of American history,” Congress completing the certification of the electoral votes on the same day as the insurrection was a “remarkable act of institutional perseverance under unprecedented circumstances.” In a separate interview with the Texas Standard, Vladeck also gave his thoughts on forthcoming charges against those who participated in the insurrection.

On the night of the riot, Vladeck and Professor Robert Chesney published a special episode of the National Security Law podcast, discussing the array of crimes that were committed, the weak police presence and response, the 25th amendment, impeachment, and the prospect of President Trump being permanently barred from office. 

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