Fact Check: Did Donald Trump Sign the Insurrection Act?

Claims that President Donald Trump signed the Insurrection Act and invoked its powers went viral on social media on Sunday night, with thousands of Twitter users sharing the allegation less than a week after the Capitol was stormed.

At the time of writing, a few posts making the claim have been shared thousands of times on the platform, which banned President Trump permanently last week over a perceived risk of "further incitement of violence."

A number of commentators have labeled Wednesday's events an "insurrection," and blamed the commander-in-chief for allegedly inciting protests at a rally earlier in the day.

NBC News also reported on Monday that House Democrats plan to charge Trump with "incitement of insurrection" in an article of impeachment. An impeachment vote could take place later this week.

Insurrection Act was signed last night by Pres Trump according to multiple sources. Reliable source is Michael Jaco, a former Navy Seal, who announced it just now on his YouTube channel. Vatican, Italy, Germany, Pakistan all linked to foreign interference: https://t.co/WEorGuIz1k

— Michael Salla (@MichaelSalla) January 10, 2021

The Claim

Several social media users have claimed that Trump signed the Insurrection Act over the weekend, either on Saturday or Sunday night.

"I'm hearing the INSURRECTION ACT has been signed... MILITARY IS THE ONLY WAY," one unverified account tweeted on Sunday evening. At the time of writing, the post has been liked and shared more than 15,000 times.

Another user claimed that the Insurrection Act had been signed, "according to multiple sources". The account then cited a former Navy Seal with a YouTube channel as their "reliable source" on the matter.

"The insurrection act was signed last night," another account tweeted. "Fence installed around the [White House], no-fly zone enabled, and 7,000 soldiers in DC."

TRUMP signed the insurrection act last night according to Simon Parkes. I know Simon and he is in direct touch with the Trump team.

— KERRY CASSIDY (@projectcamelot) January 10, 2021

The Facts

Before the president could use any of the powers provided to him under the Insurrection Act, he would first have to issue a formal proclamation ordering insurgents to disperse.

According to a Congressional Research Service research paper from 2006, the president must command insurgents to disperse within a set time frame. If that order is not complied with, the president then has the power to deploy troops to resolve the issue through an executive order.

The act was last invoked during the Rodney King riots in Los Angeles in 1992, following a request from the former California Governor Pete Wilson. George H.W. Bush issued a proclamation on May 1, 1992, commanding all rioters to disperse, "retire peaceably," and cease all acts of violence and disorder.

Newsweek has contacted the White House for comment.

The Ruling

False.

The viral claims that Trump signed the Insurrection Act over the weekend are not supported by evidence. It is legal convention for a proclamation to be issued before the powers invested in the president under the act are invoked. There is no evidence that Trump signed the Insurrection Act over the weekend.

President Donald Trump in Georgia
President Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally for the Republican candidates for U.S. Senate at Dalton Regional Airport January 4, 2021 in Dalton, Georgia. Alex Wong/Getty Images