According to a report in The New York Times, Congressional Democrats are looking in to ways to update the Insurrection Act of 1807 to prevent future abuse if Donald Trump or a similar personality should become the American President.

via Twitter / @ NYTimes

According to the Times:

“The discussions are preliminary, and debate over the act has been fraught in the aftermath of Mr. Trump’s presidency. Proponents envision a doomsday scenario in which a rogue future president might try to use the military to stoke — rather than put down — an insurrection, or to abuse protesters. But skeptics worry about depriving a president of the power to quickly deploy armed troops in the event of an uprising, as presidents did during the Civil War and the civil rights era.”

Former President Trump threatened in June of 2020 to deploy federal troops against Black Lives Matter protesters marching after the death George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis Police, some of the largest protests in American history.

January 6 Capitol Riots via Flickr / Tyler Merbler

The paper continues:

“While no evidence has emerged that Mr. Trump planned to invoke the act to stay in office, people close to him were pushing for him to do so. Michael T. Flynn, Mr. Trump’s first national security adviser, attended a meeting in the Oval Office on Dec. 18, 2020, in which participants discussed seizing voting machines, declaring a national emergency and invoking certain national security emergency powers. The idea was also floated by Roger J. Stone Jr., the political operative and longtime confidant of Mr. Trump, who told the conspiracy theorist Alex Jones in an interview that Mr. Trump should consider invoking the Insurrection Act.”

A lawyer for right-wing extremist group Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes, said his client(s) thought Trump was planning to invoke the Insurrection Act on Jan. 6, 2021, because he stated that day that “if a city or state refuses to take the actions necessary to defend the life and property of their residents, then I will deploy the United States military and quickly solve the problem for them.

“Donald Trump” by Gage Skidmore is licensed with CC BY-SA 2.0. To view a copy of this license, visit

The law was most recently invoked by President George H.W. Bush back in 1992 in Los Angeles, after four LAPD officers were acquitted despite being seen in the on-camera beating of Rodney King.

The Times explains the history of the act:

“The law dates to the early 19th century, when President Thomas Jefferson signed it amid concerns that Aaron Burr, his former vice president, was plotting to raise an army. President Andrew Jackson used the act in 1831 to crush Nat Turner’s rebellion of enslaved people. President Abraham Lincoln invoked it during the Civil War. President John F. Kennedy used the law to send troops to enforce the desegregation of Alabama public schools, and President Lyndon B. Johnson invoked it to protect civil rights marchers in Selma, Ala.”

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Christopher Powell