RealClearInvestigations - Investigations, News, Analysis, Video and Polls

Latest Investigations

Set this view as default? Yes No
Set this view as default? Yes No

In RealClearInvestigations, James Varney and Abigail Degnan explore why fatal police shooting totals have steadily creeped up since the 2014 killing of Michael Brown -- despite a glaring spotlight on police behavior and reforms such as body cameras augmented by bystanders’ smartphone cameras. Don’t blame racist or trigger-happy cops, criminologists say. Rather, a handful of intertwined factors are at work:

  • The almost immutable math of crime and demographics: There are some 18,000 police departments in the United States with a population of more than 335 million people, leading to some 50 and 60 million annual encounters between police and civilians. Under present circumstances, a ballpark figure of 1,000 fatal police shootings annually is “baked into the cake.”

  • Media sensationalism: The media and its audience tend to focus on deaths where there is no clear justification, and the split second a trigger is pulled and a bullet fired, rather than the events that led up to that fateful moment.

  • Distorted public perceptions about race and guns: Blacks are more likely to commit crimes, study after study shows. And while legal gun sales have risen markedly, they have little bearing on police killings because the guns police encounter are so frequently illegally acquired.

  • Inertia-bound police departments failing to adapt in ways to make a difference: Criminologists say there has been more reform talk than action since 2015 – even after high-profile unrest and impassioned “defund the police” campaigns.



  • Ray of hope: An emerging “sanctity of life” paradigm shift in policing philosophy -- from “get home safe” to “everyone gets home alive.”

In RealClearInvestigations, Paul Sperry reports that the “whistleblower” who sparked Donald Trump’s first impeachment was deeply involved in the political maneuverings over Biden-family business schemes in Ukraine that Trump wanted investigated:

  • In 2019, then-intelligence analyst Eric Ciaramella touched off the impeachment when, relying on a colleague’s account of a presidential phone call, he anonymously accused Trump of making military aid for Ukraine contingent on an investigation into alleged Biden corruption in that country.

  • Emails from former Vice President Joe Biden's office reveal that Ciaramella had a conflict of interest: As key adviser to Biden on Ukraine, he was quite involved in the matters at issue.

  • Ciaramella knew that the Veep had threatened to cut off U.S. aid to Ukraine unless it fired its top prosecutor -- as it soon did. The prosecutor was investigating the corrupt energy firm paying Biden’s son Hunter millions.

  • The emails show Ciaramella expressed shock at Biden’s threat: “Yikes.” They also show he was drawn into White House communications over how to handle negative publicity over Hunter’s taking the lucrative, no-show post.

  • There is no public evidence Ciaramella raised alarms about the shady Biden activities he witnessed firsthand – a contrast with the hearsay evidence he relied upon to accuse Trump.

  • These matters are now part of the House impeachment inquiry into President Biden, and probers want Ciaramella to testify.

  • In 2019, RealClearInvestigations was the first to identify Ciaramella as the anonymous “whistleblower,” something major media haven’t done to this day.

In RealClearInvestigations and on leefang.com, Lee Fang reports that the U.S. government provides funding and direction to Ukrainian media outlets that go beyond countering Russian propaganda to imposing censorship, closing dissident outlets, spreading disinformation, and silencing critics of the war with Russia, including American citizens.

Fang reports:

  • Among leading critics cast as part of a “network of Russian propaganda” are economist Jeffrey Sachs, commentator Tucker Carlson, journalist Glenn Greenwald, and University of Chicago Professor John Mearsheimer.

  • But these figures are hardly Kremlin agents. They simply have forcefully criticized dominant narratives about the war, from both the left and the right.

  • VoxUkraine, a fact-checking partner to Facebook parent Meta, has released highly produced videos attacking the credibility of American opposition voices, including Sachs, Mearsheimer, and Greenwald.

  • Detector Media similarly produces a flow of social media and posts branding American critics of the war as part of a Russian disinformation operation.

  • Unlike similar media programs that the U.S. has led throughout the Middle East, Ukrainian outlets tend to produce a lot of English content that trickles back into the domestic American audience and explicitly targets American foreign policy discourse.

  • The U.S. Congress is now hotly debating further aid to Ukraine.

  • Ukraine illustrates the increasingly global reach of the American government’s propaganda arms, at a time when Washington’s efforts to censor information at home are drawing greater scrutiny.

In RealClearInvestigations, Ben Weingarten reports on progressives’ unprecedented efforts to exploit legal loopholes and federal power to maximize Democrat votes in the 2024 election -- at taxpayers’ expense:

  • The methods include voter registration and mobilization campaigns by ostensibly non-partisan charities that target Democrats using demographic data as proxies.

  • The administration is also following President Biden’s executive order that "every federal agency" focus on “ways to expand citizens’ opportunities to register to vote and to obtain information about, and participate in, the electoral process.”

  • Watchdogs say an array of Democrat-linked (and similarly named) “democracy-focused” outfits – operating as tax-exempt charities and lavishly funded by major Democrat-tied “dark money” vehicles – are engaged in a sprawling campaign to register voters and harvest the votes necessary to defeat Donald Trump.

  • These efforts amplify and extend what Time magazine described as a “well-funded cabal” to defeat Trump in 2020. They “were not rigging the election,” Time declared. “They were fortifying it.”

  • By contrast, Republican stalwarts lament, no comparable effort exists on the right.

  • The GOP's turnout efforts seek to thread a difficult needle by encouraging offsite voting while the party simultaneously fights the mainly blue-state pandemic-era laws that greatly expanded the practice.

  • The party's position is further complicated by its standard-bearer's warnings of a rigged election bigger than in 2020, which some speculate could turn off moderate swing voters.

RealClearInvestigations' Picks of the Week

In RealClearInvestigations, James Varney and Abigail Degnan explore why fatal police shooting totals have steadily creeped up since the 2014 killing of Michael Brown -- despite a glaring spotlight on police behavior and reforms such as body cameras augmented by bystanders’ smartphone cameras. Don’t blame racist or trigger-happy cops, criminologists say. Rather, a handful of intertwined factors are at work:

  • The almost immutable math of crime and demographics: There are some 18,000 police departments in the United States with a population of more than 335 million people, leading to some 50 and 60 million annual encounters between police and civilians. Under present circumstances, a ballpark figure of 1,000 fatal police shootings annually is “baked into the cake.”

  • Media sensationalism: The media and its audience tend to focus on deaths where there is no clear justification, and the split second a trigger is pulled and a bullet fired, rather than the events that led up to that fateful moment.

  • Distorted public perceptions about race and guns: Blacks are more likely to commit crimes, study after study shows. And while legal gun sales have risen markedly, they have little bearing on police killings because the guns police encounter are so frequently illegally acquired.

  • Inertia-bound police departments failing to adapt in ways to make a difference: Criminologists say there has been more reform talk than action since 2015 – even after high-profile unrest and impassioned “defund the police” campaigns.



  • Ray of hope: An emerging “sanctity of life” paradigm shift in policing philosophy -- from “get home safe” to “everyone gets home alive.”

In RealClearInvestigations, Paul Sperry reports that the “whistleblower” who sparked Donald Trump’s first impeachment was deeply involved in the political maneuverings over Biden-family business schemes in Ukraine that Trump wanted investigated:

  • In 2019, then-intelligence analyst Eric Ciaramella touched off the impeachment when, relying on a colleague’s account of a presidential phone call, he anonymously accused Trump of making military aid for Ukraine contingent on an investigation into alleged Biden corruption in that country.

  • Emails from former Vice President Joe Biden's office reveal that Ciaramella had a conflict of interest: As key adviser to Biden on Ukraine, he was quite involved in the matters at issue.

  • Ciaramella knew that the Veep had threatened to cut off U.S. aid to Ukraine unless it fired its top prosecutor -- as it soon did. The prosecutor was investigating the corrupt energy firm paying Biden’s son Hunter millions.

  • The emails show Ciaramella expressed shock at Biden’s threat: “Yikes.” They also show he was drawn into White House communications over how to handle negative publicity over Hunter’s taking the lucrative, no-show post.

  • There is no public evidence Ciaramella raised alarms about the shady Biden activities he witnessed firsthand – a contrast with the hearsay evidence he relied upon to accuse Trump.

  • These matters are now part of the House impeachment inquiry into President Biden, and probers want Ciaramella to testify.

  • In 2019, RealClearInvestigations was the first to identify Ciaramella as the anonymous “whistleblower,” something major media haven’t done to this day.

In RealClearInvestigations and on leefang.com, Lee Fang reports that the U.S. government provides funding and direction to Ukrainian media outlets that go beyond countering Russian propaganda to imposing censorship, closing dissident outlets, spreading disinformation, and silencing critics of the war with Russia, including American citizens.

Fang reports:

  • Among leading critics cast as part of a “network of Russian propaganda” are economist Jeffrey Sachs, commentator Tucker Carlson, journalist Glenn Greenwald, and University of Chicago Professor John Mearsheimer.

  • But these figures are hardly Kremlin agents. They simply have forcefully criticized dominant narratives about the war, from both the left and the right.

  • VoxUkraine, a fact-checking partner to Facebook parent Meta, has released highly produced videos attacking the credibility of American opposition voices, including Sachs, Mearsheimer, and Greenwald.

  • Detector Media similarly produces a flow of social media and posts branding American critics of the war as part of a Russian disinformation operation.

  • Unlike similar media programs that the U.S. has led throughout the Middle East, Ukrainian outlets tend to produce a lot of English content that trickles back into the domestic American audience and explicitly targets American foreign policy discourse.

  • The U.S. Congress is now hotly debating further aid to Ukraine.

  • Ukraine illustrates the increasingly global reach of the American government’s propaganda arms, at a time when Washington’s efforts to censor information at home are drawing greater scrutiny.

In RealClearInvestigations, Ben Weingarten reports on progressives’ unprecedented efforts to exploit legal loopholes and federal power to maximize Democrat votes in the 2024 election -- at taxpayers’ expense:

  • The methods include voter registration and mobilization campaigns by ostensibly non-partisan charities that target Democrats using demographic data as proxies.

  • The administration is also following President Biden’s executive order that "every federal agency" focus on “ways to expand citizens’ opportunities to register to vote and to obtain information about, and participate in, the electoral process.”

  • Watchdogs say an array of Democrat-linked (and similarly named) “democracy-focused” outfits – operating as tax-exempt charities and lavishly funded by major Democrat-tied “dark money” vehicles – are engaged in a sprawling campaign to register voters and harvest the votes necessary to defeat Donald Trump.

  • These efforts amplify and extend what Time magazine described as a “well-funded cabal” to defeat Trump in 2020. They “were not rigging the election,” Time declared. “They were fortifying it.”

  • By contrast, Republican stalwarts lament, no comparable effort exists on the right.

  • The GOP's turnout efforts seek to thread a difficult needle by encouraging offsite voting while the party simultaneously fights the mainly blue-state pandemic-era laws that greatly expanded the practice.

  • The party's position is further complicated by its standard-bearer's warnings of a rigged election bigger than in 2020, which some speculate could turn off moderate swing voters.

Today's Topics