Trump declares national emergency to build southern border wall

The emergency declaration is facing threats of multiple lawsuits as well as legislative challenges.
5:59 | 02/16/19

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Transcript for Trump declares national emergency to build southern border wall
The other big political headline, this morning, president trump signing legislation to fund the government and avoid a shutdown but also declaring a national emergency in order to fund his border wall. That emergency declaration is now, though, facing threats of multiple lawsuits as well as legislative challenges, and ABC's white house correspondent Tara Palmeri is in west palm beach where the president is spending the weekend. Tara, good morning. Reporter: Good morning, Dan. The white house made this announcement anticipating the legal fights ahead. Now the question is how long will it take for them to win this if they can access the money to actually build the wall? After publicly considering it for weeks, the president declaring a national emergency at the southern border. We're talking about an invasion of our country. Reporter: From the rose garden president trump downplaying what many lawmakers are calling an overreach of executive power. It gave the presidents the power. There's rarely been a problem. They sign it. Nobody cares. Reporter: Just weeks after the longest government shutdown in history and with another one looming, congress passed a spending bill Thursday granting only $1.4 billion for border barriers, far below the president's demand of $5.6 billion for a wall along the Mexican border. I got 1.4 billion, but I'm not happy with it. Reporter: Now trump bypassing congress to tap into up to $8 billion. 3.6 billion will come from the Pentagon, another 2.5 billion from the department of defense and 600 million from the treasury department. All combined with the additional $1.37 billion allotted from the spending bill. Even before his announcement the president facing bipartisan backlash. In court the administration will have to prove this is a real emergency. In the inevitable legal challengesthis declaration, a lot of that conduct and those words may come back to bite the president. Reporter: Something many say is an uphill battle after trump took the urgency out of the emergency. I didn't need to do this but I'd rather do it much faster. Reporter: It's an admission that's already being cited in legal challenges from the aclu and public citizen. The state of California also announcing that it's suing the administration. He may win, he may lose. He may be challenged in a few different venues but the big question is what will happen when it reaches the supreme court as it almost inevitably will. Reporter: Just hours after this was declared, the house judiciary committee announced it plans to investigate how the decision was made. They plan to call the players involved including the white house counsel to capitol hill to testify. Dan. Tara, thank you. Let's go now to the border state of Texas where we find ABC news chief political analyst Matthew dowd. Matthew, good morning. Bottom line, as we sit here this morning, is the wall more or less likely to be built given what the president just did? Well, first the campaign promise that Donald Trump had which was he'll build the wall and Mexico would pay for it has already been broken so that part is never, as we know, is never going to happen. I think the president constantly gets in his own way on these things. Part of the border wall or part of the barriers will get built because he was appropriated money to do just that. See part will get built. There's a real question he could even spend the money that's been appropriated already to build those parts in Texas and other states. But I think his sort of grand dream of a border wall stretching from sea to sea is not possible. People have been worrying on both sides of the aisle, Democrats and Republicans, worrying aloud about the precedent, the sort of knock-on consequences of the president declaring a national emergency in order to build this wall, which some people say it's not actually an emergency. What are your concerns as you look at this? Well, I think sort of the establishment of an imperial ency and the abdication of the authority by the article 1 branch, the legislative branch of the constitution, has been a series of small steps for the past 35 years through Republican presidents and democratic presidents. This is a huge step in the abdication of that responsibility by the house -- by the congress, and so I think this president is going to be under constitutional restraint and maybe we finally have a congress, at least the house of representatives will take steps back to retake the article 1 power they've had because this is the ultimate power of congress which is the appropriation power and this case what the president has done seems to be in direct conflict for that appropriation power. Yeah, it was interesting to see senate majority leader Mitch Mcconnell supporting the president on this but let me move on now to a different story. We were just talking before we got into the border wall fight about these new developments in the Russia probe. We're seeing judges cracking down on both Roger stone and Paul manafort. Both close associates of the president. As you watch this news play out, do you think this spells any trouble for the president himself or is it unrelated? I think the whole thing spells trouble for the president. I mean, we're in a situation where if you just look at what we know thus far, there's been a culture of corruption. There's been illegal activities and there's been a culture of dishonesty through the whole thing but through all the convictions thus far of people very close to the president so now the president faces two things. He faces a Mueller report. In the aftermath of what we already know about his close associates that will come up we think this year, and he faces the southern district of new York which is investigating various parts of his empire, various parts of his foundation, his businesses and all that, so I think the president and other people around the president should continue to be very concerned but let me reiterate. We've already established there's been this culture around the president of people that were willing to break the law and lie about it. That's already been established. People very close to the president. Matthew dowd, we appreciate you chiming in from Texas this morning. Have a great rest of your weekend. You too.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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