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Tipsheet

Top Dem: Trump Can Use National Emergency Declaration, Military to Build the Wall

On Sunday, Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.), the chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, told George Stephanopoulos on ABC’s “This Week” President Donald Trump does have the authority to declare a national emergency and use the U.S. military to build a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border.

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“Does President Trump have the ability, have the authority, to national emergency, have the military build his wall,” Stephanopoulos asked.

“Well, unfortunately, the short answer is yes. There is a provision in the law that says the president can declare an emergency. It’s been done a number of times,” Smith replied.

He noted, however, that course of action has been primarily used to build facilities overseas. 

“And in this case, I think the President would be wide open to a court challenge saying, ‘Where’s the emergency, you have to establish that in order to do this,’ but beyond that it would be a terrible use of defense dollars,” he continued.

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Smith added building a wall in other places along the border would not be helpful in combating illegal immigration.

Trump floated the idea of declaring a national emergency during a press conference with reporters on Friday.

“We can do it. I haven’t done it. I may do it. I may do it,” he said. 

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