FACT CHECK: Did Donald Trump Invoke The Insurrection Act?

Elias Atienza | Fact Check Reporter

An image shared on Facebook over 170 times claims President Donald Trump recently invoked the Insurrection Act.

Verdict: False

There is no indication Trump has invoked the Insurrection Act. The Parler account that made the claim does not appear to belong to the Trump campaign.

Fact Check: 

The image shows a screen grab of a post from the Parler account @TeamTrumpNews. The account @TeamTrumpNews does not appear to belong to the Trump campaign, which posted on Parler with the handle @TeamTrump. Parler went offline after Amazon Web Services removed the social networking site from its cloud hosting service, according to CNBC.

The @TeamTrumpNews screen grab alleges that Trump has invoked the Insurrection Act of 1807 to “address the treasonous rebellion conducted by Democrat & Republican lawmakers, CCP agents, the FBI, DOJ, CIA & others to undermine, corrode and dismantle the United States of America and its Constitution.” It goes on to say he will “remain president indefinitely until all domestic enemies are arrested.”

The Insurrection Act, which has been amended several times since 1807, gives the president the power to deploy the military within the U.S. to maintain order in some circumstances, according to NPR. The Insurrection Act was last invoked in 1992 to quell riots that erupted in Los Angeles after the acquittal of four police officers in the beating of Rodney King, CNN reported.

There is no evidence that Trump has invoked the act. Such a move would likely warrant widespread media coverage; however, Check Your Fact only found media reports debunking the claim. The list of presidential actions available on the White House website shows no record of Trump enacted the Insurrection Act.

Robert Peck, a constitutional attorney and president of the Center for Constitutional Litigation, told WUSA 9 that the president must first issue a public proclamation asking “those who are the insurgents to cease and desist and go back to their homes peaceably, and give them the opportunity to do that.” A report from the Congressional Research Service also states that the president must first “issue a proclamation ordering the insurgents to disperse within a limited time,” citing Title 10 of the U.S. Code.

“Whenever the President considers it necessary to use the militia or the armed forces under this chapter, he shall, by proclamation, immediately order the insurgents or those obstructing the enforcement of the laws to disperse and retire peaceably to their abodes within a limited time,” the Insurrection Act states.

There is no record of Trump issuing such a proclamation. Trump said in a Jan. 7 video that he would be “ensuring a smooth, orderly and seamless transition of power” and that a “new administration will be inaugurated on January 20.” (RELATED: Did NPR Publish A Headline About The Capitol Riot Before It Occurred?)

When asked about the image’s claim, the Pentagon’s Office of Public Affairs directed Check Your Fact to the White House. A defense official told Lead Stories that “no assistance has been provided under the Insurgency Act over the past week.”

The White House did not respond to requests for comment.

This fact check is available at IFCN’s 2020 US Elections FactChat #Chatbot on WhatsApp. Click here, for more.

Elias Atienza

Fact Check Reporter
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