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Lesson Plans

Brooks and Capehart: The Capitol attack and Trump’s next impeachment

January 11, 2021

Full Lesson



Directions: Watch the short video clip featuring conversation by long-term NewsHour commentator David Brooks and Jonathan Capehart, who replaces newly retired Mark Shields. Read the summary and answer the discussion questions. A transcript of the video is available here.

Summary: New York Times columnist David Brooks and Washington Post columnist Jonathan Capehart join Judy Woodruff to discuss the week in politics, including the rampage at the Capitol, President Trump’s potential impeachment, and the future of the Republican Party.

  • Both Brooks and Capehart agree that there are reasons to impeach President Trump for spurring on the attack on the Capitol, even if his term is up anyway in a little over a week, and even if the Senate does not vote to remove him.
  • Capehart predicts that the internal division over the future of the Republican party will lead to its “destruction,” though Brooks disagrees, stating that the party still represents almost half of voters, and polling shows most did not support the attack.
  • Both pundits expressed dismay at the damage done not just to lives and property, but to the symbol of democracy that the Capitol represents.


Warm up questions: 

  1. What does Brooks mean when he refers to the attack on the Capitol building as a “desecration”?
  2. Who attacked the Capitol on January 6?
  3. Why does Capehart say he was “shocked” but not “surprised” by what happened at the Capitol on January 6?
  4. When and where will President-elect Biden be sworn in as president?
  5. How do Brooks and Capehart describe the effect or purpose of impeachment of President Trump for his incitement of the attack on the Capitol?

Focus questions:

  1. What do you think is the best path forward for the country to both achieve accountability and preserve peace?
  2. After listening to this segment, do you think President Trump should be impeached even though his term ends in a little over one week? Why or why not?

Media literacy: Whose opinion would you want to hear from aside from Capehart and Brooks to help you understand the future of American politics after January 6?

Additional resources: 

  • For our lesson on the events and their immediate aftermath, click here.
  • If you are a teacher and would like some ideas on broad approaches to guiding your students toward civic engagement in this moment, click here.
  • This EXTRA lesson explores the connection between white privilege and the response to the attack on the Capitol. This lesson takes a look back at some past insurrections in the U.S., beginning in the 18th century.


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