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Trump says he is considering using emergency powers to build wall

President Donald Trump said Friday that he is considering using emergency powers which would allow him to us...

Posted: Jan 5, 2019 3:31 PM
Updated: Jan 5, 2019 3:31 PM

President Donald Trump said Friday that he is considering using emergency powers which would allow him to use military funding to build a wall on the US-Mexico border, saying "I can do it if I want."

"We can call a national emergency because of the security ... I haven't done it. I may do it but we can call a national emergency and build it very quickly," he said during remarks in the White House Rose Garden.

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Trump has repeatedly talked about declaring a national emergency in recent months but hasn't followed through yet, allowing the government to shut down over funding the wall rather than declaring one.

On Friday, he seemed to indicate that he would prefer to secure the funding through Congress.

"If we can do it through the negotiating process, we're giving that a shot," he said.

However, Trump also said he believes he doesn't need congressional approval to build the wall.

"Absolutely," Trump replied. "We can call a national emergency. I haven't done it. I may do it. I may do it. We can call a national emergency and build it very quickly. It's another way of doing it."

Asked if that was a threat to Democrats, Trump said: "I never threaten anybody, but I am allowed to do it -- call a national emergency."

In December, defense officials from the Homeland Defense section of the Pentagon visited the White House for a meeting to discuss the possibility, three US officials have told CNN.

The meeting, which included officials from the Department of Homeland Security, focused on options that would allow Trump to build the border wall by tapping into military funding if he was unable to secure the money he wants from Congress.

Two officials said that the Pentagon believes that there is roughly $1-2 billion that could be set aside from the Defense Department budget to fund this effort.

A US official tells CNN that there is other money available that Trump could use for the emergency spending of construction funds but that he would have to cancel existing military construction projects to do so. Most of those projects are intended to improve readiness which the Pentagon has repeatedly stressed is a major priority.

According to this official, there are $13 billion in obligated funds from prior years that have not yet been spent and $10 billion in FY 19 funds already earmarked for various military projects, examples of which include building a fire station at Quantico, improvements at a Navy SEAL training facility and F-35 vertical landing pads in California.

The cancellation of any of those projects could upset Congressional members from those districts.

Trump would also be forced to deal with project termination costs for unspent funds from previous years and lawmakers may resist giving the Pentagon that money again in the future, the source said.

"The idea that President Trump is considering declaring a phony national emergency as a pretext to take billions of dollars away from our troops and defense priorities in order to pay for his wall should alarm all Americans," Sen. Jack Reed, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Armed Services Committee said in a statement.

"Declaring a trumped up national emergency in order to skirt congressional approval is wrong. And our troops and taxpayers should not bear the burden of a broken, preposterous campaign promise," he said.

Using this legal authority to construct border barriers was opposed by Democrats in the House and Senate in letters to then Defense Secretary James Mattis.

The officials said that while no formal direction or orders have been given to tap these funds, defense officials believe that the White House will move to direct the Pentagon to act should Congress prove unable to provide the necessary funding.

In December, several Democratic senators sent a letter to Mattis expressing opposition to the use of military funds for construction of a border barrier.

"We understand that the department is currently examining other authorities for this roughly $450 million project outside of the budget request process, specifically the potential use of 10 U.S.C. 2808 and 10 U.S.C 284," the letter said.

"As you know, outside of a few small locations requiring security measures for weapons of mass destruction shortly after 9/11, 10 U.S.C. 2808 has never been used inside the United States. We urge you in the strongest possible fashion to refrain from considering using this authority or 10 U.S.C. 284 for this potential $450 million border wall project," it added.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 36680

Reported Deaths: 1250
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds304154
DeSoto200920
Madison150839
Jones123149
Harrison118316
Rankin113719
Neshoba104577
Forrest104343
Lauderdale97281
Scott83115
Jackson80419
Washington75313
Copiah67516
Leake63520
Lee63022
Grenada6259
Oktibbeha62328
Warren60021
Holmes59841
Lamar5847
Wayne56819
Yazoo5667
Lowndes54917
Leflore53956
Lincoln53835
Pike51120
Lafayette5094
Sunflower5058
Panola4616
Monroe46036
Simpson4533
Covington4505
Bolivar41618
Tate39513
Attala38624
Newton37710
Adams36720
Pontotoc3636
Marion34912
Claiborne31511
Pearl River30832
Chickasaw30219
Winston30211
Marshall2973
Jasper2826
Noxubee2799
Walthall2748
Clay26211
Smith25612
Union25612
Coahoma2356
Clarke22825
Lawrence2162
Yalobusha2089
Tallahatchie1974
Montgomery1863
Kemper18414
Carroll18311
Humphreys17410
Calhoun1705
Hancock15213
Itawamba1478
Tippah14711
Jefferson1373
Webster13511
Prentiss1274
Tunica1263
George1253
Jefferson Davis1254
Greene11610
Alcorn1112
Amite1113
Tishomingo1091
Quitman1011
Wilkinson1019
Perry914
Stone772
Choctaw764
Franklin572
Sharkey480
Benton470
Issaquena111
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 54768

Reported Deaths: 1096
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson7012170
Mobile5061140
Montgomery4599112
Tuscaloosa274353
Madison25359
Marshall205012
Shelby176425
Lee164737
Morgan13975
Baldwin134111
Walker111332
Elmore107622
Etowah106914
Dallas10189
DeKalb10017
Franklin95016
Unassigned77728
Autauga71515
Russell7130
Chambers68530
Cullman6686
Limestone6653
Butler65529
Houston6417
Tallapoosa63069
Lauderdale6006
St. Clair5983
Calhoun5545
Colbert5286
Escambia5128
Lowndes49222
Pike4805
Jackson4422
Coffee4364
Covington43512
Talladega4177
Dale4061
Barbour4022
Bullock37810
Hale36323
Marengo36111
Chilton3452
Blount3311
Clarke3236
Wilcox3158
Marion30914
Winston3095
Sumter29713
Pickens2786
Randolph2759
Monroe2683
Perry2552
Conecuh2388
Bibb2271
Macon2229
Choctaw22012
Greene2009
Henry1573
Washington1529
Lawrence1460
Crenshaw1343
Cherokee1317
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Lamar891
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