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.

Confirmed Cases: 36287

Reported Deaths: 1249
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds299254
DeSoto195920
Madison148439
Jones122449
Harrison117716
Rankin112619
Neshoba104677
Forrest103843
Lauderdale96681
Scott82415
Jackson79819
Washington73713
Copiah67016
Leake63420
Lee62822
Oktibbeha61928
Grenada6049
Warren60021
Holmes59541
Lamar5837
Wayne56519
Yazoo5607
Lowndes54817
Leflore53456
Lincoln53335
Lafayette5064
Pike50520
Sunflower5048
Monroe46135
Panola4546
Covington4465
Simpson4433
Bolivar41218
Tate39213
Attala38624
Newton37610
Adams35820
Pontotoc3556
Marion34512
Claiborne30811
Pearl River30332
Winston30111
Chickasaw30019
Marshall2923
Jasper2816
Noxubee2799
Walthall2708
Clay26111
Union25412
Smith25212
Coahoma2306
Clarke22325
Lawrence2132
Yalobusha2089
Tallahatchie1954
Kemper18414
Carroll18211
Montgomery1793
Calhoun1705
Humphreys16910
Hancock14813
Itawamba1478
Tippah14611
Webster13411
Jefferson1283
Prentiss1274
Jefferson Davis1254
Tunica1253
George1233
Greene11610
Amite1123
Alcorn1072
Tishomingo1061
Quitman1011
Wilkinson989
Perry914
Stone772
Choctaw764
Franklin542
Sharkey480
Benton470
Issaquena101
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 52908

Reported Deaths: 1093
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson6746170
Mobile4904140
Montgomery4547112
Tuscaloosa269053
Madison22689
Marshall198011
Shelby169125
Lee159637
Morgan13385
Baldwin127711
Walker107532
Elmore106721
Etowah101114
Dallas10029
DeKalb9677
Franklin93816
Autauga69815
Russell6860
Unassigned67928
Chambers67730
Butler65229
Limestone6393
Tallapoosa63069
Cullman6156
Houston6077
Lauderdale5776
St. Clair5443
Calhoun5155
Colbert5096
Escambia4888
Lowndes48422
Pike4795
Jackson4352
Coffee4284
Covington41612
Talladega4017
Barbour3992
Dale3951
Bullock37810
Hale35423
Marengo35411
Chilton3312
Blount3201
Clarke3176
Wilcox3038
Winston2995
Sumter29213
Marion29014
Pickens2746
Randolph2639
Monroe2603
Perry2502
Conecuh2318
Bibb2241
Macon2199
Choctaw21712
Greene1989
Henry1553
Washington1488
Lawrence1360
Crenshaw1323
Cherokee1247
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