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Trump Declares A ‘National Emergency’ To Spend $8B On Border Wall – Here’s The 411

And now the fight over the wall will begin in earnest.

If anyone was wondering whether this is a hill he’s willing to die on, he has officially planted his flag. Remember when ICE were early endorsers of Trump’s Presidential Run? We’re seeing what it is that made them endorse him.

If he sounds almost casual about the foregone conclusion that he’ll be fighting this in the courts, let’s keep in mind two things.

1) Even the exercising of OBVIOUS Presidential Article II authority has been challenged in the courts, sometimes blocked, but eventually upheld in the Supreme Court.

2) In a long and storied career in high-stakes business dealings, courts are not an unfamiliar battleground for him to fight in.

We’ve finally shifted from the posturing phase to taking action. The President’s speech, for those who’d like to see it for themselves, can be found below:

His plan found support from an unexpected direction:

Trump, in the Rose Garden, declared once again that “walls work” as he confirmed he’ll sign the emergency declaration.

“We’re talking about an invasion of our country,” Trump said.

And in an almost-casual tone, the president predicted a legal fight that will wind up before the Supreme Court.

“We will have a national emergency, and we will then be sued,” Trump said, adding that the federal appeals courts could well rule against his administration. “Then we’ll end up in the Supreme Court, and hopefully we’ll get a fair shake, and we’ll win at the Supreme Court — just like the [travel] ban.”

A senior administration official told Fox News that the White House plans to next move $8 billion in currently appropriated or available funds toward construction of the wall. Of that, $3 billion could be diverted with help from the emergency declaration.

That money includes about $600 million from the Treasury Department’s forfeiture fund. That money has been described as “easy money” that the White House can use however it wants. The White House is also expected to use drug interdiction money from the Department of Defense.

But by declaring an emergency, Trump would also seek to unlock money from the Defense Department’s military construction budget as well, to the tune of $3.5 billion.
Source: FoxNews

The Left is digging in for a fight, using rhetoric like ‘shredding the Constitution’ and ‘Power Grab’, while pledging to oppose this by every means available to them. We’ve already seen them do so in how they fought tooth and nai against funding the wall in the first place.

1) Nancy called the wall ‘an Immorality’

2) They pledged that Trump would not get ONE dollar

3) They gave funding for that same ‘immorality’, meaning either that (a) calling it immoral was just empty rhetoric or (b) they are happy to take immoral actions that they consider expedient

4) They claim that Trump’s executing a “power-grab” which they will fight in the courts — despite them DEMANDING Trump exercise illegitimate power in Unilaterally signing DACA. Which is it?

5) The powers Trump would be exercising are Explicitly Given to him and Spelled Out in legislation used by Presidents since CARTER.

Their determination to put a stick in Trump’s spokes has also been seen in certain ‘poison pill’ clauses of the Border Compromise Bill that Trump supporters have been raising alarms about.

As for his use of National Emergency, what should we expect? It’s complex, but here are a few nuggets to chew on.

Legal experts suggest Trump could be on solid ground with his use of this tactic.

Despite promises from Democratic leaders to sue to stop Trump, the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service has determined that the move may be legal and effective.

In its most recent report on the border wall, CRS said that Congress actually wrote the legal path for Trump to follow to tap into Pentagon construction money to build the wall, and a new analysis of that report confirms that the president appears to have the green light from Capitol Hill.

“Many in Congress are condemning President Donald Trump’s just announced decision to declare a national emergency to help build a wall on the southern border, but such a declaration would apparently be both legal and effective,” said legal scholar and George Washington University Law School Professor John Banzhaf.

He said that the CRS review of legal angles Trump can use to build the wall shows at least two paths to success, one that does not even require the White House to declare a national emergency.

But since Trump plans to make that announcement today, Banzhaf in his analysis focused on the National Emergencies Act and the loopholes Congress provided to the president, such as giving the president alone the right to declare a national emergency.

While the act said that Congress can vote to terminate an emergency, it is unlikely that it will win enough support to succeed, and certainly not enough votes to override a Trump veto, said Banzhaf in his latest blog post.
Source: Washington Examiner

Below is the first of 25 Tweets breaking down the scope of Trump’s lawful authority in this legislation. (Click the date to open up the thread in a new tab.)

Here’s one of the big ideas in that thread:

…When the President acts pursuant to an express or implied authorization of Congress, his authority is at its maximum for it includes all that he possesses in his own right plus all that Congress can delegate.

As for precedent? Trump is hardly the first to invoke these powers.

There are currently 28 concurrent active national emergencies in America — there’s been at least one national emergency for nearly four decades straight. — CNN

And certain uses in particular lend credibility to Trump’s current situation:

Look no further than Barack Obama’s use of Executive Orders.

On March 8, 2015, I issued Executive Order 13692, declaring a national emergency with respect to the situation in Venezuela, including the Government of Venezuela’s erosion of human rights guarantees, persecution of political opponents, curtailment of press freedoms, use of violence and human rights violations and abuses in response to antigovernment protests, and arbitrary arrest and detention of antigovernment protestors, as well as the exacerbating presence of significant government corruption. Therefore, in accordance with section 202(d) of the National Emergencies Act (50 U.S.C. 1622(d)), I am continuing for 1 year the national emergency declared in Executive Order 13692.

This notice shall be published in the Federal Register and transmitted to the Congress.


And a key phrase worth noting from EO 13692 is (emphasis added):

Individuals designated or identified for the imposition of sanctions under this E.O., including the seven individuals that have been listed today in the Annex of this E.O., will have their property and interests in property in the United States blocked or frozen, and U.S. persons are prohibited from doing business with them. The E.O. also suspends the entry into the United States of individuals meeting the criteria for economic sanctions.

Get your popcorn ready, things are just heating up.

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Wes Walker

Wes Walker is the author of "Blueprint For a Government that Doesn't Suck". He has been lighting up since its inception in July of 2012. Follow on twitter: @Republicanuck

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