President Trump Declares National Emergency Over Border Wall

Trump signs funding bill to avoid government shutdown, declares emergency to build border wall

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White House officials confirmed Friday afternoon that Trump also signed the spending compromise into law to avoid a partial government shutdown.

Update 3:25 p.m. EST Feb. 15:A lawsuit filed Friday by an ethics watchdog group aims to make public documents that could determine whether the president has the legal authority to invoke emergency powers to fund his promised border wall.

In a statement, officials with the nonpartisan Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington said the group requested documentation, including legal opinions from the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel, to determine whether the president wrongfully used his emergency powers.

“President Trump’s threatened declaration of a national emergency for these purposes raised some serious questions among the public and Congress that the president was considering actions of doubtful legality based on misstated facts and outright falsehoods to make an end-run round Congress’ constitutional authority to make laws and appropriate funds,” attorneys for CREW said in the lawsuit.

>> Read the lawsuit filled by the Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington 

The group said it submitted a Freedom of Information Act request to the Office of Legal Counsel last month and that it got a response on Feb. 12 that indicated authorities would not be able to expedite the request or respond to it within the 20-day statutory deadline.

“Americans deserve to know the true basis for President Trump’s unprecedented decision to enact emergency powers to pay for a border wall,” CREW Executive Director Noah Bookbinder said in a statement.

Officials with the American Civil Liberties Union said the group also plans to file suit.

Update 2:30 p.m. EST Feb. 15: Trump has signed a bill passed by Congress to fund several federal departments until September 30, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders confirmed Friday afternoon to The Associated Press.

Update 12:35 p.m. EST Feb. 15: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, accused Democrats of playing partisan politics in refusing to fund Trump’s border wall.

“President Trump’s decision to announce emergency action is the predictable and understandable consequence of Democrats’ decision to put partisan obstruction ahead of the national interest,” McConnell said.

Democrats have repeatedly voice opposition to the border wall, which critics say would not effectively address issues like drug trafficking and illegal immigration, which Trump purports such a wall would solve.

Update 11:25 a.m. EST Feb. 15: In a joint statement, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-California, and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-New York, condemned what they called “the president’s unlawful declaration over a crisis that does not exist.”

“This issue transcends partisan politics and goes to the core of the founders’ conception for America, which commands Congress to limit an overreaching executive. The president’s emergency declaration, if unchecked, would fundamentally alter the balance of powers, inconsistent with our founders’ vision,” the statement said. “We call upon our Republican colleagues to join us to defend the Constitution.”

Update 11:10 a.m. EST Feb. 15: Trump said he’s expecting the administration to be sued after he signs a national emergency declaration to fund the building of wall on the southern border.

“The order is signed and I'll sign the final papers as soon as I get into the Oval Office,” Trump said Friday while addressing reporters in the Rose Garden. 

“I expect to be sued -- I shouldn’t be sued,” Trump said Friday while addressing reporters in the Rose Garden. “I think we’ll be very successful in court. I think it’s clear.”

He said he expects the case will likely make it to the Supreme Court, the nation’s highest court.

“It’ll go through a process and happily we’ll win, I think,” he said.

Update 10:50 a.m. EST Feb. 15: “I’m going to sign a national emergency,” Trump said. “We’re talking about an invasion of our country with drugs, with human traffickers, with all types of criminals and gangs.” 

>> National emergency likely to be blocked by courts, DOJ tells White House: reports

Update 10:25 a.m. EST Feb. 15: Trump will declare a national emergency and use executive actions to funnel over $6 billion in funds from the Treasury Department and the Pentagon for his border wall, Cox Media Group’s Jamie Dupree reported.

“With the declaration of a national emergency, the President will have access to roughly $8 billion worth of money that can be used to secure the southern border,” Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney told reporters in a call before the president’s announcement.

>> From Cox Media Group's Jamie Dupree: White House: Trump using national emergency and executive actions for border wall

Update 10 a.m. EST Feb. 15: Trump is expected on Friday morning to deliver remarks from the Rose Garden on the southern border after White House officials said he plans to declare a national emergency to fund his border wall.

Update 10 p.m. EST Feb. 14: At 10 a.m. on Friday, President Donald Trump is expected to deliver remarks from the Rose Garden about the southern border.

>> From Cox Media Group’s Jamie Dupree: Congress passes border deal as Trump readies emergency for border wall

The White House announced earlier that Trump will declare a national emergency that would enable him to transfer funding from other accounts for additional miles of border fencing.

Update 9 p.m. EST Feb. 14: The House easily approved border funding plan, as President Donald Trump prepared an emergency declaration to fund a border wall.

The bill also closes a chapter by preventing a second government shutdown at midnight Friday and by providing $333 billion to finance several Cabinet agencies through September.

Trump has indicated he’ll sign the measure though he is not happy with it, and for a few hours Thursday he was reportedly having second thoughts.

Update 4:30 p.m. EST Feb. 14: The government funding bill that includes $1.375 billion for 55 miles of border wall, passed the Senate with a 83 - 16 vote.

The bill will go to the House for a final vote Thursday evening.

Update 4 p.m. EST Feb. 14: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says if President Donald Trump declares a national emergency at the border he’s making an “end run around Congress.”

“The President is doing an end run around the Congress and the power of the purse,” said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who reserved the right to lead a legal challenge against any emergency declaration.

Pelosi said that there is no crisis at the border with Mexico that requires a national emergency order.

>> Trump's border wall: What is a national emergency?

She did not say if House Democrats would legally challenge the president. But Pelosi said if Trump invokes an emergency declaration it should be met with “great unease and dismay” as an overreach of executive authority.

White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters Thursday afternoon that the White House is “very prepared” for a legal challenge following the declaration of a National Emergency.

 

Update 3:15 p.m. EST Feb. 14: Senator Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said that President Donald Trump is going to sign a border deal and at the same time issue a national emergency declaration.

The compromise will keep departments running through the fiscal year but without the $5.7 billion Trump wanted for the border wall with Mexico. 

The House is also expected to vote on the bill later Thursday.

 

White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders sent a statement confirming that Trump intends to sign the bill and will issue “other executive action - including a national emergency.”

 

An emergency declaration to shift funding from other federal priorities to the border is expected to face swift legal challenge.

Update 12:40 p.m. EST Feb. 14: Trump said in a tweet Thursday that he and his team were reviewing the funding bill proposed by legislators.

 

Congress is expected to vote Thursday on the bipartisan accord to prevent another partial federal shutdown ahead of Friday's deadline.

Trump has not definitively said whether he’ll sign the bill if it passes the legislature. The bill would fund several departments, including Agriculture, Justice and State, until Sept. 30 but it includes only $1.4 billion to build new barriers on the border. Trump had asked Congress to provide $5.7 billion in funding.

Update 9:55 a.m. EST Feb. 14: The more than 1,600-page compromise, made up of seven different funding bills, was unveiled early Thursday. It includes $1.4 billion to build new barriers on the border and over $1 billion to fund other border security measures.

If passed, the bill would prevent a partial government shutdown like the 35-day closure that started after lawmakers failed to reach a compromise in December.

 >> From Cox Media Group's Jamie Dupree: Five tidbits from the border security funding deal in Congress

President Donald Trump has given mixed signals in recent days over whether he plans to sign the bill or not. He’s told reporters in recent days that a second government shutdown as federal workers continue to dig out from the last closure “would be a terrible thing.” However, Adam Kennedy, the deputy director of White House communications, told NPR that the president “doesn’t want his hands tied on border security.”

"I think the president is going to fully review the bill," Kennedy said. "I think he wants to review it before he signs it."

Original report: President Donald Trump is expected to sign the deal lawmakers have hammered out to avoid a second shutdown, CNN is reporting.

>> From Cox Media Group’s Jamie Dupree: Trump hints at ‘national emergency’ to funnel money to border wall

On Tuesday, Trump said he was “not happy” with the spending plan negotiators came up with Monday night, CNN reported. That deal includes $1.375 billion in funding for border barriers, but not a concrete wall, according to Cox Media Group Washington correspondent Jamie Dupree.

“It’s not doing the trick,” Trump said, adding that he is “considering everything” when asked whether a national emergency declaration was on the table.

He said that if there is another shutdown, it would be “the Democrats’ fault.”

Trump also took to Twitter later Tuesday, claiming that the wall is already being built.

>> See the tweet here

 

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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