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After the Insurrection: How to Build a More Resilient Democracy

Examine the reform agenda taking center stage in the new Congress.

Past: Thursday, February 18, 2021 1:00 pm
This is a virtual event
  • Preet Bharara
  • ,
  • Michael Steele
  • ,
  • Michael Waldman
  • ,
  • Christine Todd Whitman
  • Nia-Malika Henderson
After the Insurrection: How to Build a More Resilient Democracy

After abuses of power often come opportunities for reform. The attack on the U.S. Capitol, spurred by President Trump’s big lie about the election, highlights the importance of holding those responsible to account, shoring up institutional guardrails, and taking action to revitalize democracy. Impeachment, oversight, and criminal prosecution are all on the table. Landmark legislation to restore institutional checks against abuses of power, strengthen voting rights, and deter corruption are among the most urgent priorities for lawmakers in the coming months. Speaking with CNN senior political reporter Nia-Malika Henderson, the co-chairs of the Brennan Center for Justice’s National Task Force on Rule of Law and Democracy, Preet Bharara and Christine Todd Whitman, will join Michael Steele and Michael Waldman to discuss the reforms needed to bolster American democracy. 

Co-presented by the Brennan Center for Justice and The New York Public Library.

LIVE from NYPL is made possible by the support of Library patrons and friends, as well as by the continuing generosity of Celeste Bartos, Mahnaz Ispahani Bartos and Adam Bartos, and the Margaret and Herman Sokol Public Education Endowment Fund.



 Preet Bharara served as U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York from 2009 to 2017. Bharara oversaw the investigation and litigation of all criminal and civil cases and supervised an office of over 200 Assistant U.S. Attorneys, who handled cases involving terrorism, narcotics and arms trafficking, financial and healthcare fraud, cybercrime, public corruption, organized crime, and civil rights violations. The New York Times dubbed Bharara one of “the nation’s most aggressive and outspoken prosecutors.” In 2017, Bharara joined the NYU School of Law faculty as a Distinguished Scholar in Residence. He is the co-founder of CAFE Studios and the host of CAFE’s Stay Tuned with Preet, a podcast focused on issues of justice and fairness. Bharara graduated magna cum laude from Harvard College and from Columbia Law School, where he was a member of the law review. He is the author of a New York Times bestselling book, Doing Justice: A Prosecutor’s Thoughts on Crime, Punishment, and the Rule of Law

 Nia-Malika Henderson is a senior political reporter for CNN, reporting on politics, policies, and people shaping Washington. Henderson reports for the network’s digital and television platforms, and regularly appears as a panelist for CNN’s Inside PoliticsThe Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer and CNN Tonight with Don Lemon. She also often serves as a fill-in anchor for Inside Politics. Henderson graduated from Duke University with a bachelor’s degree in literature and cultural anthropology and earned master’s degrees from Yale University in American studies and Columbia University in journalism. 

 Michael Steele is a political analyst for MSNBC and the host of the Michael Steele Podcast. When elected lieutenant governor of Maryland in 2003, Steele became the first African American elected to statewide office. He again made history when he was named chairman of the Republican National Committee in 2009. He is the author of Right Now: A 12-Step Program for Defeating the Obama Agenda and coauthor of The Recovering Politician’s Twelve Step Program to Survive Crisis. Born at Andrews Air Force Base in Prince George’s County, Maryland, Steele was raised in Washington, DC. Upon graduating from Johns Hopkins University, he entered the Order of St. Augustine, where studied for the priesthood. He is a graduate of Georgetown Law Center, an Aspen Institute Rodel Fellow in Public Leadership, and a University of Chicago Institute of Politics Fellow.

 Michael Waldman is the president of the Brennan Center for Justice. A constitutional lawyer and voting rights expert, Michael has led the Center’s policymaking and litigation  since 2005. He is the author of The Fight to Vote (2016), a history of the struggle to win voting rights for all citizens. Prior to leading the Center, Michael served as director of speechwriting for President Bill Clinton. He is a graduate of NYU School of Law and Columbia College. 

 Christine Todd Whitman is President of the Whitman Strategy Group, a consulting firm specializing in environmental and energy issues. She served in the cabinet of President George W. Bush as Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency from 2001 to 2003, and was Governor of New Jersey from 1994 to 2001. During her time in government, she gained bipartisan support and was widely praised for championing common-sense environmental improvements. Gov. Whitman is involved in numerous national nonprofit organizations focused on legal and environmental causes, including the American Security Project, the National Institute for Civil Discourse, the Climate Leadership Council, and the National World War II Museum. She is a graduate of Wheaton College in Norton, Massachusetts. 

This program will be streamed on Zoom and simulcast to YouTube. You must register with your email address in order to receive the link to participate. Please check your email shortly before the discussion to receive the link. Captions for this event will be provided. 

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