US President Donald Trump’s aide, Roger Stone, a convicted criminal, had suggested last year that the Commander-in-Chief should enforce martial law to seize power in case he loses the presidential election prior to certification of the Electoral College and President-elect Joe Biden’s victory, District of Columbia elected officials reportedly analyzed the risk of a similar threat
According to a Buzzfeed report, the DC Attorney General’s Office shared a memo with the 13-member city council during a closed briefing last week The memo focused on the U.S. president’s ability to take control of the city’s Metropolitan Police Department take over by invoking the 214 year old Insurrection Act of 1807
According to the Washington Post, the Insurrection Act was enacted at the time of Thomas Jefferson, a Founding Fathers and third President of the United States, to prevent an alleged riot by his former deputy Aaron Burr. Since then, the law has undergone several changes and empowered the Presidents now to send armed forces to quell unrest and support law enforcement
Under normal circumstances, state governors are responsible for maintaining law and order within state lines. A law called the Posse Comitatus Act limits the use of the military in domestic law enforcement, and the Insurrection Act provides a “legal exception” to these restrictions This means that the Insurrection Act gives the president the power to use US forces and national guards at the request of a state government to suppress an insurrection or “domestic violence”
However, according to a 2006 report by the Congressional Research Service, the president must first issue a proclamation urging insurgents to disperse within a limited amount of time.It says the president can issue an executive order to send troops, if the situation does not resolve itself The Insurrection Act has been used several times in the history of the United States to suppress civil unrest.The law was last enacted during the 1992 Los Angeles Riots and during Hurricane Hugo in 1989 when St Croix, Virgin Islands
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World News – United States – What is the 1807 Insurrection Act that officials feared Trump might invoke?