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.

Cases: 245847

Reported Deaths: 5356
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto16717168
Hinds15748310
Harrison12806188
Rankin10334204
Jackson9996172
Lee8666135
Madison7994158
Jones6112108
Forrest5826117
Lauderdale5672174
Lowndes5186106
Lafayette482792
Lamar471162
Washington4700122
Bolivar3915105
Oktibbeha384279
Panola357274
Pontotoc356552
Monroe3463101
Union334755
Warren334692
Marshall333264
Neshoba3310149
Pearl River313891
Leflore2969104
Lincoln290185
Sunflower275868
Tate264759
Alcorn257850
Itawamba257058
Pike254876
Hancock246957
Prentiss240047
Scott238743
Copiah235649
Yazoo235054
Tippah233845
Simpson230166
Leake226764
Coahoma219054
Grenada213970
Covington207171
Marion203371
Adams200065
Winston196260
George195937
Wayne193029
Attala190958
Newton185142
Chickasaw179943
Tishomingo179059
Holmes167467
Jasper163533
Clay155632
Stone138818
Tallahatchie137033
Clarke135160
Calhoun132021
Smith117322
Yalobusha112534
Walthall110536
Noxubee108922
Greene108229
Montgomery107134
Carroll102320
Lawrence99817
Perry98631
Amite95725
Webster90024
Claiborne84125
Tunica84021
Jefferson Davis82925
Humphreys80324
Benton79722
Kemper75620
Quitman6678
Franklin64613
Choctaw59412
Wilkinson57424
Jefferson52019
Sharkey42317
Issaquena1576
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Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 414583

Reported Deaths: 5945
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson60842887
Mobile29590538
Madison26466183
Tuscaloosa20537267
Montgomery18562304
Shelby18181112
Baldwin15841177
Lee1212097
Morgan12002112
Etowah11488142
Calhoun10863197
Marshall10048106
Houston8405123
Cullman792294
Limestone785073
Elmore7670101
DeKalb757282
St. Clair7417120
Lauderdale740282
Talladega6036108
Walker5834176
Jackson571937
Colbert522270
Blount521980
Autauga507555
Coffee431456
Dale388278
Franklin362145
Chilton332965
Covington325567
Russell318910
Escambia309842
Dallas297988
Chambers275769
Clarke272933
Tallapoosa2591107
Pike245829
Lawrence239345
Marion238649
Winston222535
Bibb211347
Geneva196331
Marengo196329
Pickens195331
Hale172542
Barbour169636
Butler166958
Fayette164026
Cherokee158330
Henry149219
Monroe143617
Randolph137635
Washington135426
Clay124446
Crenshaw117444
Lamar116819
Cleburne115123
Macon111935
Lowndes107935
Wilcox99921
Bullock97128
Perry95019
Conecuh92820
Sumter89126
Greene75123
Coosa59814
Choctaw50824
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