There are at least two ways in which the newly approved Congressional Select Committee on the events of Jan. 6 might go about investigating the violent storming of the U.S. Capitol building in Washington on that day. One is to treat the assault as a one-off—an aberrant security breach in which thousands of people who supported former President Donald Trump stormed the seat of American democracy to protest the 2020 certification of election results that put President Joseph R. Biden in the White House. Another is to approach the mob violence that day as the culmination of a yearslong influence campaign involving some of Trump’s most powerful allies. Either way, the eventual findings of the soon-to-be-seated Congressional Select Committee will, no doubt, be controversial.

What matters now though is that the inquiry is comprehensive and that it is driven by evidence of who did what—and who failed to act and when. This…

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