The original pitch to the paper on Monday was to package together the argument on the Insurrection Act with another proposal, but the editors were interested in a piece focused solely on the Insurrection Act. There was “haggling,” the Cotton staffer says, “over what the angle and point of the piece ought to be.”…

After several rounds of back of forth Monday and into Tuesday, Senator Cotton accepted the Times-approved topic. Then, the drafting process began, with the senator finishing the final version late on Tuesday. Around 7 a.m. Wednesday, Cotton’s office delivered the piece to the Times.

There were at least three drafts back and forth. The Times would send along edits for approval, and the Cotton team would sign off, and then there would be another round.

The first two rounds focused on clarity and style, and the last round on factual accuracy.

Regarding the fact-checking, the Cotton staffer says, “It was pretty rigorous. We were going into the weeds.” They went through each sentence to make sure it was supported and that the links said what they were represented as saying. “We were challenged on a couple of things,” he adds, “and actually made changes.”