On the second episode of Now & Then, “Investigating Democracy,” Heather Cox Richardson and Joanne Freeman discuss the history of congressional commissions, following the Senate Republican filibuster of the proposed commission to investigate the January 6th insurrection. Heather and Joanne look back on investigations of the 1856 caning of Massachusetts Senator Charles Sumner, the 1871 Ku Klux Klan hearings, and the 1954 back-and-forth between Senator Joseph McCarthy and the Army. In the process, they explore the partisanship and lasting cultural impact of these commissions and what that says about the utility of a January 6th Commission.
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