Fact Check: President Donald Trump Did NOT Invoke or Sign The Insurrection Act

Fact Check

  • by: Maarten Schenk
Fact Check: President Donald Trump Did NOT Invoke or Sign The Insurrection Act Not Invoked

Did President Trump invoke or sign the Insurrection Act following the events of January 6, 2021 (or before that)? No, that's not true: President Trump has never made use of the Insurrection Act up to the time of writing of this article on January 11, 2021. In the wake of the events at the U.S. Capitol online, rumors started spreading the President invoked the act, but according to the actual text of the Insurrection Act, a public proclamation is required before the President can use any of the powers mentioned in it. No such proclamation has been made public, which would mean the powers granted by the act are not in effect.

One of the many examples of this viral rumor appeared in a Facebook post (archived here) pubished on January 10, 2021 which read (in part):

Well now I can talk about This.......

The raids are planned for this weekend and Monday. The military and the FBI are making them.

Monday or maybe Sunday evening they will likely announce a temporary lockdown while they make arrests. This is going to happen quick.

Trump doesn't have to do this by the 20th. He's already invoked the insurrection act. He can't be impeached now and Joe biden is no longer the president elect.

This is what the post looked like on Facebook at the time of writing:

Facebook screenshot

(Source: Facebook screenshot taken on Mon Jan 11 12:20:08 2021 UTC)

(Side note: no such temporary lockdown has been announced at the time of writing and the only arrests that have been made so far seem to have been of protesters who illegaly entered the Capitol building.)

The Insurrection Act (10 U.S. Code Chapter 13) does not contain any provisions about impeachment or of the status of President-Elect being revoked either. It does however contain a section (§ 254) titled "Proclamation to disperse" that reads:

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 to disperse and retire peaceably to their abodes within a limited time.

At the time of writing no such proclamation has appeared on the site of the White House (archived here), even though that is where such proclamations are announced these days. In fact, the most recent proclamation on the site at the time of writing is one dated January 10, 2021 honoring the fallen police officers who died as a consequence of the violence at the U.S. Capitol.

proclamations.jpg

(Source: screenshot of https://www.whitehouse.gov/presidential-actions taken by Lead Stories on January 11, 2021)

Since no proclamation has been issued, none of the powers granted by the Insurrection Act are active at the time of writing. As of the time of writing President Trump has never made a proclamation invoking the Insurrection Act during his entire tenure as President.

Lead Stories reached out to the Public Affairs office of the Pentagon to inquire if any U.S. Military forces had been given any orders to provide assistance under the power of the Insurrection Act in the last week. A defense official confirmed to us that "no assistance has been provided under the Insurgency Act over the past week".

For reference, here are the proclamations that were issued the last three times the Act was invoked:

By President George H. W. Bush in 1992:

proclamation6428.jpg

(Source: https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/STATUTE-106/pdf/STATUTE-106-Pg5261-2.pdf)

Again by President George H. W. Bush in 1989:

proclamation6024.jpg

(Source: https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/STATUTE-103/pdf/STATUTE-103-Pg3093.pdf)

And finally three proclamations in a row during several days of unrest in 1968 that were made by President Lyndon B. Johnson.

proclamation3840-3841.jpg

proclamation3842.jpg

(Source: https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/STATUTE-82/pdf/STATUTE-82-Pg1622.pdf and https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/STATUTE-82/pdf/STATUTE-82-Pg1623.pdf)

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


  Maarten Schenk

Lead Stories co-founder Maarten Schenk is our resident expert on fake news and hoax websites. He likes to go beyond just debunking trending fake news stories and is endlessly fascinated by the dazzling variety of psychological and technical tricks used by the people and networks who intentionally spread made-up things on the internet.  He can often be found at conferences and events about fake news, disinformation and fact checking when he is not in his office in Belgium monitoring and tracking the latest fake article to go viral.

Read more about or contact Maarten Schenk

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