Democratic Rep. Adam Smith (D-WA), chair of the House Armed Services Committee, admitted that President Trump has the authority to declare a national emergency and have the military build a wall along the US-Mexico border.
ABC's "This Week" host George Stephanopoulos asked Smith "Does President Trump have the ability, have the authority to declare a national emergency and have the military build his wall?"
"Well, unfortunately, the short answer is yes," replied Smith. "There is a provision in the law that says the president can declare an emergency. It’s been done a number of times, but primarily it’s been done to build facilities in Afghanistan and Iraq. In this case, I think the president would be wide open to a court challenge saying, where is the emergency? You have to establish that in order to do this. Beyond that, this would be a terrible use of Department of Defense dollars."
"The president spends most of his time talking about how we’re not spending enough on national security, now he wants to take $20 billion out of defense budget to build a wall. Which by the way, is not going to improve our border security. The president seems unaware of this, but we have actually already built a wall across much of the border, and all border security experts that I talk to say, where a wall makes sense, it’s already been built. We should have a conversation about border security, but first, we should we open the government and pay our border patrol agents and the federal agents that are furloughed," Smith added.
I joined @ThisweekABC to discuss the government shutdown and the President’s plan to declare a nat'l emergency to pay for his proposed border wall. He is shutting down the gov't to break his signature campaign promise - that taxpayers weren’t going to have to pay for the wall. pic.twitter.com/oglk7azYKA— Rep. Adam Smith (@RepAdamSmith) January 6, 2019