Illustration: Joel Kimmel

Justice League

James Sasso ’12 shares what it was like to work on the DOJ's Jan. 6 investigation.

In January, James Sasso ’12 completed his year-long tenure as a Senior Investigative Counsel on the Justice Department committee that was created to investigate the US Capitol attack on January 6, 2021. Sasso, a 2019 graduate of Harvard Law School, helped to draft the committee’s final report to Congress, and later wrote about the experience in an op-ed for the New York Times. He now practices law at a Washington, DC, law firm. 

His first months on the committee were spent on a team tasked with digging into the details of how the riot unfolded. The work included interviewing people who pleaded guilty to participating. Later, he helped to write scripts and compile footage to be used during the committee’s televised hearings. Watching body camera footage, he said, made the horror and violence of the day more real. “You hear people chanting ‘Trump’ and ‘1776’ and loving it when cops are getting assaulted,” he said, “And you’re like, ‘What? This is America? What is happening here?’”

The experience opened his eyes to the threat of domestic extremism and the fragility of democracy. “We’ve become completely unmoored from our faith that if we lose an election, it’s okay,” he said. “And the only way democracy survives is that the losers accept the results.”