Fact check: Donald Trump has not invoked the Insurrection Act to hold on to power
A screenshot of a social media post from an account with the handle @TeamTrumpNews has falsely alleged that the U.S. president has invoked a 200-year-old act to deploy the military and remain in power.
The @TeamTrumpNews account, posted on the Parler social network, is written as though coming from the president himself. It said: “I have 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. These entities pose a direct threat to national security. I will remain president indefinitely until all domestic enemies are arrested.”
The Parler platform has since been suspended, But a screenshot of the @TeamTrumpNews post has subsequently been shared on other social networks.
The @TeamTrumpNews account on Parler, however, does not appear to be an authentic account from the U.S. president, nor are the claims about the invoking of the Insurrection Act accurate. They show a misunderstanding of the law.
A previous fact check from Reuters on Jan. 7 confirmed Trump had not created a personal Parler account. There has been speculation about one being set up after Trump was banned from Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and others.
The official Trump campaign has had a Parler account since December 2018. This posts under the handle @TeamTrump, not @TeamTrumpNews.
The claim about employing the Insurrection Act is also false. It is being shared on accounts like @TeamTrumpNews and others citing unnamed “multiple sources” as confirmation. At the time of this article’s publication, there has been no confirmation from any official sources, including the relevant state departments, lawmakers, the military or the White House itself.
The Insurrection Act of 1807 allows the U.S. president to deploy the military to suppress domestic insurrection. As an exception to the Posse Comitatus Act 1878, which prohibits military forces being used for domestic law enforcement, the 1807 act has been used in the past to quell civil unrest. The last time was in 1992 when the acquittal of four Los Angeles police officers in the beating of Black motorist Rodney King led to deadly riots.
In late December, the president’s former security adviser Michael Flynn suggested the act could also be employed to help overturn the election – but this was swiftly knocked back.
Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy and Chief of Staff Gen. James McConville said in a joint statement: “There is no role for the U.S. military in determining the outcome of an American election.”
Trump senior legal adviser Jenna Ellis also rejected the proposal, suggesting it would be unconstitutional. She wrote on Twitter: “I haven’t seen calls for martial law or the Insurrection Act with understanding and coherent, constitutional arguments. No one is considering how they’d react if a Democrat incumbent decided to use the military to force an outcome they believed to be justified. Precedent matters.”
Just Security, an outlet based out of the Reiss Center on Law and Security at New York University School of Law, said the invoking of the act to interfere with the election would be in violation of numerous federal laws.
False. The Parler account making the claim was not an official profile used by Donald Trump, and its claim is not accurate. The Insurrection Act has not been invoked.