The measure of the 1/6 Committee's Success
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Juliette Kayyem

I write about how to make things "less bad."

The measure of the 1/6 Committee's Success

I'll be joining some CNN coverage today of the January 6th Committee hearing. I have been writing about Trump and incitement for sometime, and the most easily accessible version of them are in my The Atlantic pieces which can all be found at the link here and some highlighted below. For years, I had been documenting Trump's use of a phenomenon known as #stochasticterrorism and how he was able to incite the crowds without directing them specifically; violence was therefore predictable but random, allowing him to wipe his hands of it, claim it was a joke, invoke plausible deniability. That all changed after the election; he was direct and I argued after 1/6 that we had to treat violent MAGA extremism as a counterterrorism effort with all the tools that could be used to minimize the strength of a violent ideology. That notion was controversial then, but not so much now. Today, there will be many ways to judge success with the hearings and, full disclosure, I did provide testimony to staff on incitement and stochastic terrorism two separate times this year.

So, I think a mere focus on the potential criminal indictment charges is only part of the picture. From an incitement and ideological perspective, a way to measure success is in how effective the Committee has been in taking the oxygen out of violent extremism and for that matter Trump. He is popular, but he is also stuck. I think the answer is they have succeeded by every metric. They have had help: DOJ and state prosecutions, isolation, financial and other vulnerabilities, massive prison times for major leaders. But we will likely spend considerable time viewing the Committee's work through a legal lens and not a safety and security one. The goal was to stop MAGA extremism, to bring shame back, and to provide an offramp to those who could no longer bear the violence Trump stands for. Based on these criteria, I think the Committee has already made its mark.

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