The Jan. 6 Select Committee has reportedly discussed recommending potential legislative changes to the Insurrection Act as it continues to learn the extent former President Trump and his allies were willing to go to subvert the 2020 election results.
A New York Times report published Monday offered some insight into the committee’s private discussions about ways to reform the Insurrection Act, which gives presidents the authority to deploy the military on American soil to suppress “any insurrection, domestic violence, unlawful combination or conspiracy.”
The discussions are reportedly preliminary.
“There are many of us who are of the view that the Insurrection Act, which the former president threatened to invoke multiple times throughout 2020, bears a review,” Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), a member of the Jan. 6 Select Committee, told the Times.
In recent weeks, the panel has reportedly discussed whether to demand that their colleagues consider revisions to the Insurrection Act. According to the Times, changes to the act that are under discussion within the committee include implementing a higher and more detailed threshold that a president must meet before troops could be deployed domestically. One option would be a requirement that a president consult with Congress on the matter.
“Essentially, the former president threatened by tweet to send in the armed services to take over civilian governments, because he saw things that he didn’t like on TV,” Lofgren told the Times, referring to the then-President’s threats to invoke the Insurrection Act amid protests and unrest in the wake of George Floyd’s death in 2020 — a threat that his then-Defense Secretary Mark Esper rejected.
“That’s not really the history of the use of the act, and maybe more definition of terms might be in order,” Lofgren continued.
In addition to the panel considering recommending legislative reforms to the Insurrection Act, the Times noted that the panel is also expected to recommend an overhaul of the Electoral Count Act, which Trump and his allies unsuccessfully tried to weaponize to pressure then-Vice President Pence to throw out the 2020 election results.
A recommendation from the panel would just add to the bipartisan effort in Congress to reform the ECA, which would solidify a vice president’s lack of authority to overturn election results and would make it more difficult for members of Congress to object to certifying results.
That bipartisan endeavor continues to be a work in progress.
In late 2020, top military brass reportedly held private discussions about what actions official should take should Trump order them into the streets, as the then-President pushed election fraud falsehoods months before the election.
Although no evidence has surfaced on plans by Trump to invoke the Insurrection Act while in office, allies such as Michael Flynn and Roger Stone pushed for the then-President to do so amid his refusal to concede the election.