The White House has directed the Army Corps of Engineers to examine a February 2018 emergency spending bill, which included disaster relief for Puerto Rico and other areas, to see what funds could be diverted to a border wall, according to a congressional aide who asked for anonymity to discuss private briefings by the administration.
Trump reiterated his argument that crime, illegal drugs, and human trafficking are creating a national security and humanitarian crisis at the border, and that a wall is needed.
The president faces sizable opposition from the public were he to do so. "But you obviously don't have the same leeway to misrepresent facts to a federal judge and in the litigation than you have if you're just the President speaking from your soapbox".
While a national emergency would provide some legal framework for his administration to freely move funds toward construction of a barrier, it would nearly certainly face court challenges.
"Probably I will do it".
"I do have a plan on the Shutdown", he said.
After having talked for days about invoking the national emergency power to unleash the funds, the president hit pause Friday.
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If Trump went through with it, there'd be little Congress could do to stop him.
Only minutes earlier, powerful Republican ally Sen.
A predictable partisan divide shapes the blame game, with 85 per cent of Democrats citing Mr Trump and Republicans as the cause and 68 per cent of Republicans pointing the finger at congressional Democrats.
The standoff has turned into a test of political ego, particularly for Trump, who came into office boasting of his deal-making powers and making an aggressive border policy the keystone of his nationalist agenda.
"I hope it works", he said in a statement.
But those numbers are misleading.
"Your families will get your paychecks", he told U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers at the agency's Washington headquarters.
Illegal border crossings were actually lower past year than in 2014 and 2016.
Trump himself has bragged that the border is more secure than in the past.
Democrats, meanwhile, seem determined at all costs to prevent the president from getting the wall he has often promised in his campaign-style rallies. Declaring a national emergency over it with little information to suggest the security situation has dramatically changed could prove hard to defend in court.
But the Democrats, who control the House of Representatives, are equally determined not to provide the money. "So the idea that this is something that arose rapidly in the last few months and all of a sudden requires executive action without going through Congress doesn't really pass the sniff test". That's not exactly true. "Elections have consequences!" he wrote - reprising former President Barack Obama's lecture to Republican opponents in 2010.
"He was elected by the American people as president to carry out border security and build a wall", Scalise said.
"While the President has broad military authorities, as the Commander in Chief, when it comes to declaring a national emergency, I can not and will not support reallocating funding we approved in a bipartisan effort in Congress for the recovery and reconstruction of Puerto Rico", Gonzalez said.
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