No, Trump did not declassify JFK's autopsy | Fact check

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The claim: Trump released JFK’s autopsy report, which proved more than one person shot him

A July 30 Instagram video (direct link, archived link) shows Jan. 6 rioter Jacob Chansley, also known as the "QAnon shaman," donning the same headdress and face paint he wore to the U.S. Capitol insurrection.

Chansley explains that there were many reasons he was at the Capitol, including a claim about the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.

“It wasn't just about Trump and the election. It was about being lied to about JFK for decades by the government and the media," Chansley said. "Trump released the autopsy. We now know he was shot by more than one bullet from more than one angle. It’s in the autopsy. If I'm not mistaken, Trump declassified JFK’s autopsy.”

The Instagram video was liked more than 30,000 times in five days.

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Our rating: False

Trump did not declassify Kennedy’s autopsy. The document, which has been public since at least 1964, states that while Kennedy was hit by two bullets, they did not come from more than one angle.

Autopsy report dates back decades and is part of thousands of public documents

The video originates from a July 19 interview on the conservative "The Michael Knowles Show." Chansley, who pleaded guilty to obstruction of an official proceeding, was sentenced to 41 months in prison in November 2021 and was released early.

John Valceanu, a spokesperson for the National Archives and Records Administration, told USA TODAY the autopsy was a part of published records in the Warren Commission report in 1964.

The Warren Commission was appointed on Nov. 29, 1963, by President Lyndon B. Johnson to investigate Kennedy’s assassination a week earlier in Dallas, Texas. The Commission presented its report to Johnson on Sept. 24, 1964, and a portion of it was published in the National Archives soon after. The autopsy was a part of that published report.

“It seems likely that the autopsy was first published in the Warren Commission report in 1964, but we have found nothing yet which confirms that was the first public release,” Valceanu told USA TODAY.

The autopsy details what happened: As Kennedy rode in a motorcade in Dallas, Texas, three shots were heard. One bullet hit him in the back of his neck; another struck the back of his head, killing him. Texas Gov. John B. Connolly, who was riding with Kennedy, was also shot and seriously wounded.

The autopsy did not find that Kennedy was shot from multiple angles. The autopsy found that Kennedy was shot "by a person or persons unknown" who fired from a "point behind and somewhat above the level of the deceased."

The Warren Commission concluded that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone.

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The Warren Commission report was far from the last word on the subject. In 1992, Congress enacted the President John F. Kennedy Assassination Records Collection Act in order to disclose all government documents to the public so they could become fully informed. Since then, thousands of documents have been released.

Trump had a hand in releasing some of those documents in 2017 and gave a promise that he would release them all. But after government agencies voiced concerns, he pulled back. Trump released over 19,000 records and pushed back the rest until 2021. Those documents did not unveil evidence that there were multiple shooters.

Albert Watkins, former defense attorney for Chansley, said neither he nor Chansley would have knowledge about the number of bullets Kennedy was hit with.

“I suggest Mr. Chansley is a very bright and gentle man whose vulnerabilities may, at times, give rise to pause for thought. I personally have no insight into the number of rounds which met their target in Dallas. I can assure you neither Mr. Chansley nor I were on the Grassy Knoll in Dallas in November 1963.”

USA TODAY reached out to the user who shared the claim for comment but did not immediately receive a response.

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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Trump did not release JFK's autopsy to the public | Fact check