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Trump Inches Closer to Declaring Emergency for Wall as Negotiations Stall
Written by <a href="index.php?option=com_comprofiler&task=userProfile&user=739"><span class="small">David Smith, Guardian UK</span></a>   
Friday, 01 February 2019 09:11

Smith writes: "Donald Trump is moving closer to using emergency powers to get $5.7bn to help build a wall on the US-Mexico border."

Man sells cotton candy near U.S./Mexico border wall. (photo: Rebecca Blackwell/AP)
Man sells cotton candy near U.S./Mexico border wall. (photo: Rebecca Blackwell/AP)

Trump Inches Closer to Declaring Emergency for Wall as Negotiations Stall

By David Smith, Guardian UK

01 February 19

President is making plans in the event he carries out his threat as Democrats refuse to fund his long-promised border wall

onald Trump is moving closer to using emergency powers to get $5.7bn to help build a wall on the US-Mexico border.

The president is still smarting from arguably the biggest defeat of his presidency, a partial government shutdown over wall funding that dragged on for a record 35 days, laid off hundreds of thousands of workers or forced others to work without pay. And left him empty-handed.

Trump finally signed a three-week deal to reopen the government but threatened to declare a national emergency and bypass Congress if it fails to reach a compromise, and is now making plans in the event he carries out that threat.

Negotiations have so far gone nowhere as Democrats, with increased power in the House of Representatives after last November’s midterm elections, refuse to fund Trump’s long-promised wall.

“I think Nancy Pelosi is hurting our country very badly by doing what’s she doing and, ultimately, I think I’ve set the table very nicely,” Trump told the New York Times on Thursday in a wide-ranging interview that touched upon the budget negotiations and the Mueller investigation.

“I’ve actually always gotten along with her, but now I don’t think I will any more,” Trump also said, referring to speaker Pelosi. “If she doesn’t approve the wall, the rest of it’s just a waste of money and time and energy because it’s desperately needed,” he added, though he fell short of saying explicitly he was preparing to declare a national emergency.

“I’ll continue to build the wall, and we’ll get the wall finished,” he said.

Earlier in the day, Trump had claimed Pelosi would reverse her position because of the threat posed by caravans of immigrants heading to the US from Central America. “If you go to Tijuana [in Mexico] and take down that wall, you will have so many people coming into our country that Nancy Pelosi will be begging for a wall,” he told reporters at the White House. “She’ll be begging for a wall. She will say: ‘Mr President, please, please give us a wall.’”

He insisted that wall construction is already under way and ongoing. “I’m not waiting for this committee. I’ve told a lot of people I don’t expect much out of this committee … If they don’t have a wall, I don’t want to even waste my time reading what they have.”

The president acknowledged: “I was elected partially on this issue, not as much as people say, but partially on this issue … If we don’t put up a physical barrier, you can forget it. Our country’s going to be an unsafe place.”

Trump’s comments come after a day of intense speculation about the president’s plans. “Trump met with his budget chief, acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney, Jared Kushner and other top officials, including White House lawyers, on Tuesday to walk through the logistics of such a move,” Politico reported. “And White House aides have been quietly meeting with outside conservative political groups to build support for the president to take such an action. Those talking points, which emphasize Trump’s legal authority, have begun to show up in such conservative media outlets as Breitbart News.”

A national emergency would enable Trump to take existing funds appropriated by Congress for other purposes, for example military budget from the Pentagon and disaster relief money. There is bipartisan opposition to such a radical measure, typically reserved for wartime, terrorist attacks such as 9/11, or health emergencies.

Such a move would almost certainly trigger a legal challenge. Even Trump’s own Republican party has warned that it would set a dangerous precedent, emboldening any future Democratic president to use emergency powers for their own priorities – such as climate change or healthcare.

But Lindsey Graham, a Republican senator who has become a close confidant of Trump, tweeted on Monday: “If White House and Congress fail to reach a deal then President @realDonaldTrump must act through emergency powers to build wall/barrier.”

And on Wednesday night, appearing on conservative-leaning cable network Fox News, Graham told host Sean Hannity: “To everybody who’s wondering how this movie ends, it ends this way: we’re going to build a wall one way or the other. I just talked to the president 10 minutes before I came on your show.”

Graham added: “He has all the power in the world to do this. To my Republican colleagues: stand behind him and, if you don’t, you’re going to pay a price.”

A border wall has been a centrepiece of Trump’s candidacy and presidency but so far he has been comprehensively outmanoeuvred by Nancy Pelosi, the Democratic speaker of the House of Representatives and a veteran political operator.

On the first day of talks, congressional Democrats offered a border security plan that includes new money for customs agents, scanners, aircraft and boats to police the border, and to provide humanitarian assistance for immigrants. But it did not include money for a wall.

Pelosi told reporters on Thursday: “There’s not going to be any wall money in the legislation. It is not a negotiation for the president to say … ‘It doesn’t matter what Congress says.’ The president wants to have Congress be completely irrelevant in how we meet the needs of the American people? No, c’mon. Let them work their will. I’m an appropriator.”

The negotiating committee will probably have to wrap up its work around 10 February to meet the 15 February deadline set last week. There are slender hopes that a compromise can be achieved, partly over language. Trump has now said he wants “steel slats” along the border rather than the “concrete wall” he promised during his campaign.

But Trump made clear his own lack of faith in congressional talks, tweeting: “Republicans on the Homeland Security Committee are wasting their time. Democrats, despite all of the evidence, proof and Caravans coming, are not going to give money to build the DESPERATELY needed WALL. I’ve got you covered. Wall is already being built, I don’t expect much help!”

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+11 # johnescher 2019-02-01 11:02
Our country already is an unsafe place because of Donald Trump's stupid decisions.
+6 # tsyganka 2019-02-01 15:14
"U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials announced Thursday their biggest fentanyl bust ever ... nearly 254 pounds (114 kilograms) ... The drug was found ... in a compartment under the rear floor of a tractor-trailer after a scan during secondary inspection indicated “some anomalies” in the load..."

Note: The bust was made WITHOUT the needless presence of the expensive, racist, insulting Vanity Wall that orange baby-man, aka Fvcko the Clown, craves. Good.
+8 # Texas Aggie 2019-02-01 15:47
What kind of shickenchit is afraid of a bunch of Central American peasant farmers and their families? If you want to be afraid of something, it is a lot more likely that you will be attacked and killed by one of individual 1's supporters. They are the ones who are responsible for every one of the mass killings by extremists last year.

At least the Pentagon isn't shaking in its boots and peeing its pants about the caravans. They need to take individual 1 aside and explain to him that imaginary bone spurs aren't a good excuse for being a quivering coward, and that they resent him making them look like fools.
+5 # tsyganka 2019-02-01 16:28
More bullying babyish behavior from Fvcko the Clown: “I’ve actually always gotten along with her, but now I don’t think I will any more,” Trump also said, referring to speaker Pelosi. "Nanny nanny boo boo," he did not add aloud, but would have if he'd felt more secure about taking his marbles and going home.

Note: The recent immense fentanyl bust was done Without the assistance of his stupid Vanity Wall.

No national emergency exists concerning asylum seekers or a Vanity Wall. The Big Stupid has even been warned about tit-for-tat - a Democratic president might use such a declaration to fund healthcare or to address climate change, which the orange thing considers less important than his Vanity Wall monument to himself.

Graham, meanwhile, warns GOPers to get on board or "pay a price." 'Nice little ___ you have there. It'd be a shame if something happened to it.'

Pelosi nailed it: "The president wants to have Congress be completely irrelevant..." He doesn't want co-equal branches of government. He wants to be a dictator.

In general, I wish the article had not referred to "conservatives, " but had called them what they are: propagandists, liars, right-wingers, reich-wingers, xenophobes, white supremacists, fascists, etc.

If Fvcko declares a national emergency, we must declare a general strike and stand in the streets, blocking business in every commerce hub in the US.
+7 # margpark 2019-02-01 17:39
It's been said before, but I will say it again.

Donald Trump is a national emergency. If he really believes there is an emergency on the southern border he is crazy.
+4 # DongiC 2019-02-02 08:55
Face it: (1). Donald Trump is demented and spoiled to the core. If he doesn't get what he wants, he takes his toys and damaged ego and goes home. (2). Donald Trump is fascinated with the Russian bonus for de-sanctioning the sale of special oil drilling equipment so the Russians can access the vast amounts of petroleum underneath their part of the arctic circle. (3). Donald Trump fears the publication of the "pee videos" made during his last trip to Moscow. (4) Donald Trump is simply the latest incarnation of pure evil. (5). All of these!

Donald Trump is easily the worst President in American History. He will go down in infamy.