Trump just declared a national emergency at the border

After battling for weeks over funding for a border wall, overseeing the longest government shutdown in US history, and finally signing on to a deal to fund the government, President Donald Trump has declared a national emergency over a contrived crisis at the US-Mexico border.

On Friday, Trump invoked his power to declare a national emergency in a unilateral effort to make progress on the border wall Congress has thus far denied him. He initially demanded $5 billion for the construction of about 200 miles of barrier at the border, and Democrats in Congress have repeatedly refused to go anywhere near that figure. He got about $1.3 billion for border fencing in the deal he finally agreed to, a far cry from the desired amount. So he’s going with a national emergency to get more.

“We’re going to confront the national security crisis on our southern border, and we’re going to do it, one way or another, we have to do it,” he said in a speech at the White House Rose Garden on Friday.

Trump will try to cobble together funds from a number of areas and redirect them toward border wall construction. White House officials ahead of the announcement on Friday said he would redirect about $600 million from the Treasury Forfeiture Fund, an account funded by money seized by the US government; $2.5 billion from the Department of Defense’s counter-drug activities; and $3.6 billion from other military construction accounts. Trump won’t try to take anything from disaster relief.

“I didn’t need to do this,” Trump said on Friday. “But I’d rather do it much faster.”

That the president has finally decided to declare an emergency isn’t entirely surprising — he has been wavering on the idea for weeks.

So why declare a national emergency in addition to the spending deal? The short answer is that Trump doesn’t want to admit he lost. He’s already getting less for border fencing than was in the original spending bill he refused to sign in December — and caused a 35-day government shutdown over — so he’s looking to executive action instead.

There has been some debate about whether Trump can indeed declare an emergency at the border considering there isn’t really one, and the answer, at least initially, seems to be that he can.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said on the Senate floor on Thursday that he would support the emergency declaration.

[Vox]

Trump Touts Fox News Poll … That Found 50 Percent Oppose Border Wall

President Donald Trump tonight tweeted out a screengrab from Fox News on the results of the network’s latest poll regarding border security, days ahead of the deadline to pass the compromise bill and avert a shutdown.

Fox News’ Special Report tonight covered part of the poll––finding that 66 percent of people support a border deal that “includes money for some form of a border barrier and other border security measures as well as money for humanitarian relief.”

And the president’s Twitter account posted the graphic tonight:

The full poll from Fox News finds that 46 percent support a border wall but 50 percent oppose it. 38 percent would favor Trump declaring a national emergency to get the wall built and 56 percent would oppose it.

When asked whether Trump or Nancy Pelosi ended the shutdown stronger politically, 35 percent said Trump and 43 percent said Pelosi.

[Mediaite]

Trump Falsely Claims Violent Crime Plummeted After Border Wall Went Up In El Paso

President Donald Trump on Monday presented the border wall as a work in progress, hailing the start of a “big, big portion” with much more coming soon. That’s a hefty exaggeration from a president who has yet to see an extra mile of barrier completed since he took office.

With another possible government shutdown looming, and illegal immigration still at the heart of the budget dispute, Trump is pulling out the stops to portray his proposed wall as essential to public safety, including stemming crime. As he’s done repeatedly, Trump also defied the record in claiming that the wall that Congress has refused to pay for is rapidly coming together anyway.

Trump addressed the subjects at an El Paso, Texas, rally Monday night and an earlier White House meeting with sheriffs. A look at some of his comments:

TRUMP, on the effect of a border wall on crime in El Paso: “When that wall went up, it’s a whole different ball game. … I don’t care whether a mayor is a Republican or a Democrat. They’re full of crap when they say it hasn’t made a big difference. I heard the same thing from the fake news. They said, ‘Oh crime, it actually stayed the same.’ It didn’t stay the same. It went way down. … Thanks to a powerful border wall in El Paso, Texas, it’s one of America’s safest cities now.” — rally remarks.

Reality

Trump falsely suggests a dramatic drop in crime in El Paso due to a border wall. In fact, the city’s murder rate was less than half the national average in 2005, the year before the start of its border fence. It’s true that the FBI’s Uniform Crime Report shows that El Paso’s annual number of reported violent crimes dropped from nearly 5,000 in 1995 to around 2,700 in 2016. But that corresponded with similar declines in violent crime nationwide and included periods when the city’s crime rates increased year over year, despite new fencing and walls.

Before the wall project started, El Paso had been rated one of the three safest major U.S. cities going back to 1997.

Trump Threatens Wall Coming ‘One Way or the Other’ as Lawmakers Talk Read Newsmax: Trump Says Wall Coming ‘One Way or the Other’ as Lawmakers Talk

Congressional negotiators dug in for a weekend of talks on a security plan that includes some sort of barrier on the U.S.-Mexican border, hoping to complete a deal to avert another government shutdown that’s also acceptable to President Donald Trump.

Trump was back in the fray late Saturday afternoon, indicating in a tweet that if Democrats didn’t give him all the wall money he’s demanded, he may use executive action to build it. Democrats have warned such action would face court challenges, and some Republicans have suggested it’s an option best avoided.

Negotiators on Saturday were homing in on a proposal with border barrier funding of between $1.3 billion and $2 billion, said a person familiar with the talks. That’s far lower than the $5.7 billion that Trump had been demanding.

Representative Steven Palazzo, a Republican member of the House-Senate panel holding the talks, said Friday that he expects a deal “before the end of the weekend” that could be finalized on Monday. The Mississippi lawmaker said some key details are still under negotiation, including the amount of money for barriers on the U.S.-Mexico border.

Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney and Senate Appropriations Chairman Richard Shelby are scheduled to appear on political talk shows on Sunday morning, which could provide additional clarity on how talks are progressing.

Another Republican on the negotiating panel, Representative Chuck Fleischmann of Tennessee, said the party wants as much barrier funding as possible, and he hopes that the final amount is above $2 billion. House Appropriations Committee spokesman Evan Hollander said in a statement that Democrats want the figure to be less than $2 billion.

[Newsmax]

Trump just criticized Fox News: ‘Never thought I’d say this…’

Trump’s approval numbers are nearly at all-time lows.

The Mueller investigation continues to pick off members of the president’s inner circle.

The government shutdown still doesn’t have a firm resolution.

Yet here’s how you know Trump’s reign might be truly going someplace unprecedented: The president criticized Fox News on Sunday night.

Trump has long criticized the press as “fake news,” though normally spares Fox News. The cable news outlet also frequently lands exclusive interviews with the president.

In the tweet, Trump is referring to a poll by NPR/PBS/Marist poll that shows his approval rating among Latino voters at 50 percent, up from 31 percent a month ago. But according to a more recent Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research poll, Trump is down to 34 percent approval among Americans overall, nearly the lowest of his two-year presidency, and falling from 42 percent a month earlier.

Last week a deal was struck to “temporarily” end the longest government shutdown in American history. But Trump has warned that if he doesn’t get funding for his U.S.-Mexico border wall by Feb. 15 that the government would close again or that he would invoke emergency powers to build it without Congressional approval.

[Entertainment Weekly]

Trump Claims Again ‘Most of the Workers Not Getting Paid Are Democrats’’ But Says He Doesn’t Care

President Donald Trump this morning went on another tweetstorm about the government shutdown, going off on Democrats and the media.

But he also tweeted again this morning that most federal workers not getting paid are Democrats––yesterday he claimed many federal workers not being paid would consider his fight for border security more important––and added this time that he doesn’t care:

[Mediaite]

Trump Twitter rants at press for exposing lack of support for his wall

President Donald Trump got an early start on Twitter on Saturday morning, saying he has ‘great support” for his border wall and government shutdown, while at the same time lashing out at the press for publishing reports that show otherwise.

On Twitter, Trump wrote: “Great support coming from all sides for Border Security (including Wall) on our very dangerous Southern Border. Teams negotiating this weekend! Washington Post and NBC reporting of events, including Fake sources, has been very inaccurate (to put it mildly)!”

[Raw Story]

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 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.

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.”

“If we can do it through the negotiating process, we’re giving that a shot,” he said.

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.

[CNN]

Trump threatens to extend partial government shutdown for years

President Trump on Friday threatened to keep roughly a quarter of the federal government closed for years amid a dispute over border-wall funding, the latest sign the president and congressional Democrats remain far apart on resolving the two-week-long shutdown.

Trump confirmed after a heated, closed-door meeting that he “absolutely” told Democrats the shutdown could last more than a year, which was first revealed by Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) following the negotiation session inside the White House Situation Room.

“We told the president we needed the government open,” Schumer told reporters on the West Wing driveway after the meeting. “He resisted. In fact, he said he’d keep the government closed for a very long period of time, months or even years.”

Addressing the news media later in the Rose Garden, the president expressed hope that the shutdown would not last that long, citing what he believes is Democrats’ willingness to strike a deal.

Despite the Democrats’ description of the two-hour meeting as “contentious,” Trump called it “productive” and said he appointed a working group of top administration officials to continue talks with lawmakers through the weekend.

“I thought it was really a very, very good meeting. We’re all on the same path in terms of wanting to get government open,” the president said during a news conference that lasted roughly an hour.

But the president refused to back away from what he called his “very firm” demand for $5.6 billion in funding for a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Democrats have repeatedly rejected that demand.

Trump also threatened to use emergency powers to build the wall, a move that would inflame tensions with Congress, where Democrats have taken control of the House, and raise legal questions about his executive authority.

“Yes, I have,” Trump said when asked if he is considering declaring a national emergency to start wall construction if he doesn’t receive funding from Congress. “We can do it. I haven’t done it. I may do it. I may do it.”

The government has been partially shut down since Dec. 22, when Trump backed away from a spending agreement that he was expected to sign into law, one that didn’t include wall funding.

Around 800,000 workers across more than half a dozen agencies are closer to missing their next paycheck because of the funding lapse, and government services and museums have begun to shutter.

In one of their first acts in the majority, Democrats on Thursday passed a spending package that would reopen the vast majority of the closed parts of government while funding the Department of Homeland Security, which enforces immigration laws, through Feb. 8 to buy more time for spending talks.

“We cannot resolve this until we open up government,” Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said after emerging from the White House on Friday.

But Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has refused to bring the House-passed measure to the floor for a vote, citing a veto threat from the White House.

Trump rejected Pelosi’s proposal to reopen most of the closed parts of government while wall talks continue, saying, “We won’t be opening until it’s solved.”

[The Hill]

Trump Tweets Out Intense Doomsday Video Warning of Border Crisis: ‘We Will Build the Wall!’

President Donald Trump is preparing Americans for the world ending.

In an intense video he tweeted out this afternoon, he promises to “build the wall,” as crowds of people are heard chanting,  “Build the wall! Build the wall!” in the background:

The President’s video decries the “crisis on the border,” which is causing an uptick in “crime, drugs, and lawlessness” across the border and includes a clip of Senator Chuck Schumer denouncing illegal immigration.

[Mediaite]

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