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Trump not expected to declare border national emergency in speech

Donald Trump is not expected to declare a national emergency during his...

Posted: Jan 9, 2019 4:01 AM
Updated: Jan 9, 2019 4:01 AM

Donald Trump is not expected to declare a national emergency during his prime-time address on Tuesday, three sources familiar with the matter told CNN, a possibility the President has floated in recent days.

Instead, Trump is expected to focus on making his case to the public that the situation on the southern border is a crisis and argue that the wall is a necessary remedy. Two sources said Trump is still focused on winning the public relations battle, believing he can turn up the heat on Democrats by convincing more of the country that a wall is necessary.

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Trump was still working closely with top aides, including his chief speechwriter and policy adviser Stephen Miller, into the afternoon to fine tune his speech, one person familiar with Trump's thinking said, and he has been known to make last-minute changes.

Advisers have warned Trump about the legal battle the administration will surely face if he does declare a national emergency to fulfill his signature campaign promise amid a clash with Democrats over funding the wall.

But even as Trump is not expected to declare a national emergency on Tuesday night, he has not shut the door on invoking that authority if the stalemate with Democrats persists, officials said, and could still do so in the coming days. There has been no progress in shutdown negotiations between the White House and Democrats, who have so far refused Trump's demand for $5.7 billion in wall funding.

Trump's Tuesday evening address comes on the heels of an all-out blitz among top Trump officials to get their immigration message out. In the lead-up to the speech, aides repeatedly sought to make the case that there is a "crisis" on the southern border -- frequently drawing on misleading statistics -- ramping up speculation that Trump was preparing to declare a national emergency. But the rhetoric was also aimed at turning up the heat on Democrats, who have refused to agree to Trump's border wall demands.

According to several people, Trump has been frustrated that his allies haven't made an effective enough argument for his wall, so he wanted to make an address to the nation himself.

Officials have flooded the airwaves ahead of Trump's address Tuesday and the White House invited anchors from the television networks to an off-the-record lunch with Trump. These lunches typically happen before the President's annual address to Congress.

Vice President Mike Pence said Monday that the White House counsel is looking at the President's ability to declare a national emergency to fund border security. Asked to explain how thoroughly the White House counsel's office has reviewed the possibility of an emergency declaration, Pence said it is something they have examined, but the administration would prefer to solve the problem of border security funding through Congress.

"What I'm aware of is they're looking at it, and the President is considering it," Pence told reporters during an hour-long briefing alongside Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and Office of Management and Budget acting director Russell Vought.

By declaring a national emergency, Trump could unlock certain funds provided under statutes previously passed by Congress, such as those earmarked for natural disasters. If the President makes the declaration, he would have access to a pool of money inside the Defense Department. Under US Code, Trump could use funds "that have not been obligated" within the department's budget.

The law states that in the event of a declaration of war or national emergency, "the Secretary of Defense, without regard to any other provision of law, may undertake military construction projects, and may authorize the Secretaries of the military departments to undertake military construction projects, not otherwise authorized by law that are necessary to support such use of the armed forces."

A US official previously told CNN that Trump could use other funds but would have to cancel existing military construction projects, which might come with costly termination fees.

If Trump decides to pull from Defense Department funds, troops could be tasked with building parts of the wall.

As the partial government shutdown has stretched on, the White House has tried to frame the debate as a matter of national security.

Last week, Trump met twice with congressional leaders in the Situation Room regarding the issue. The President is planning a visit to the border amid the government shutdown later this week. And on Tuesday evening, Trump will deliver an address from the Oval Office to the American public about the US-Mexico border.

Following Trump's immigration address, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer are slated to offer their rebuttal.

CNN's Boris Sanchez, Jim Acosta, Betsy Klein, Priscilla Alvarez and Maegan Vazquez contributed to this report.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 297321

Reported Deaths: 6805
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto19814231
Hinds18949395
Harrison16886282
Rankin12842265
Jackson12750234
Lee9720163
Madison9516204
Jones8035148
Forrest7289138
Lauderdale6872228
Lowndes6061140
Lamar593381
Lafayette5767114
Washington5232130
Bolivar4630124
Oktibbeha443095
Panola433698
Pearl River4212132
Warren4144115
Pontotoc411071
Marshall405995
Monroe3996129
Union397174
Neshoba3848171
Lincoln3624104
Hancock352978
Leflore3400121
Sunflower320986
Tate303974
Pike302697
Scott296171
Alcorn292763
Yazoo292066
Itawamba290675
Coahoma283069
Tippah280065
Copiah279959
Simpson277581
Prentiss271258
Marion258878
Wayne255641
Leake254172
Covington250280
Grenada248878
Adams235778
George232745
Newton232753
Winston222179
Jasper214145
Tishomingo213266
Attala206971
Chickasaw201954
Holmes182870
Clay179452
Stone173429
Tallahatchie171739
Clarke170773
Calhoun158628
Smith153833
Yalobusha145736
Greene128133
Walthall125441
Montgomery123540
Noxubee123431
Perry123235
Lawrence121421
Carroll119425
Amite112435
Webster111132
Jefferson Davis102731
Tunica99824
Claiborne99030
Benton94024
Humphreys93128
Kemper91423
Quitman77514
Franklin76420
Choctaw70117
Jefferson62827
Wilkinson62727
Sharkey49217
Issaquena1676
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 499411

Reported Deaths: 10149
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson719951403
Mobile36396741
Madison32674469
Tuscaloosa24391423
Montgomery22789523
Shelby22250219
Baldwin19915289
Lee15070161
Calhoun13961296
Morgan13785255
Etowah13413327
Marshall11458215
Houston10121264
Elmore9509190
Limestone9435139
St. Clair9050228
Cullman8993183
Lauderdale8628214
DeKalb8507175
Talladega7643165
Walker6600260
Jackson6551104
Autauga634492
Blount6252128
Colbert6007121
Coffee5261104
Dale4680107
Russell407534
Franklin400779
Covington3996107
Chilton3911104
Escambia379473
Tallapoosa3637143
Clarke344553
Chambers3432111
Dallas3428142
Pike292973
Marion288796
Lawrence285787
Winston258568
Bibb246058
Marengo244657
Geneva240270
Pickens225757
Barbour213851
Hale212569
Fayette202657
Butler201466
Henry183541
Cherokee178140
Monroe166739
Randolph165141
Washington157036
Macon147845
Crenshaw146755
Clay146254
Cleburne140141
Lamar133933
Lowndes133151
Wilcox123225
Bullock117736
Conecuh107224
Perry106427
Sumter100832
Coosa90324
Greene88732
Choctaw55723
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