President Trump declares national emergency and claims $8 billion to secure border

Lawmakers respond to declaration, some call the move "unnecessary."
23:33 | 02/15/19

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Transcript for President Trump declares national emergency and claims $8 billion to secure border
And welcome to the prisoner on ABC's Devin Dwyer Washington great to have you with us on this Friday lot of breaking news to get into. Let's start with a sigh of relief guys we are not having. Have a government shut down the president has signed the bill. It takes a government shut down off the table until at least the end of the fiscal year so we're out of the woods after pretty turbulent couple it is great to have Catherine fathers are White House reporter with this. Bishop garrison making his briefing room debut nationally you're the the interim executive director at the Truman national security project in Iraq War veteran also. A member of the Obama administration for some time he served. And three agencies the VA. DHS and that has. Yes I'm greats who we are going to have your perspective in this conversation. As well let's start by taking a look back at the president's news just a few minutes ago and me. Rose Garden announcing he's gonna sign a national emergency declaration tickle us. We're going to be signing. Today. And register it. National emergency. And. It's a great thing to do. What we what really want to do is simple it's not like. It's complicated very simple. Parts of the president Catherine you broke this reporting many weeks back to the president was considering doing this. Have been contemplating and his teams to look at that for weeks. What is actually do you. Though well that's a good question lawyers for the White House the department of justice and the Pentagon have four weeks as you mentioned in pouring. Over these he tells for executive action and I national emergency numb they say that. I'm with executive action with the one point four million and with a 3.5. Billion from a national emergency net that would ultimately. Get the president to you see that you see the numbers there on the screen two 88 billion but. The bottom line is this is going to be challenged in the courts Howell how was he going to do this how is this money going to be moved from all of these programs at the Pentagon so that's what we'll also be watching out. Ornament envision garrison this is your student of the precedent here the president today talked a lot about that that this has been done many times of four there's no problem nothing to see here. Taking money that congress has appropriated and putting it somewhere else sure this is different. Sure lawyer for a few things for some describe the congress is able to move this bill Ford so we can take care the 800000. Families that were affected election down having been. An appointee that was affected by previous shut down myself haven't been without work for ten days I know distresses. That that puts on you to told that it puts on Pham myself. Very happy to congressman and to Karen that the issue here however is when you look at the national emergency act. You see that 58 times in the past you've had a president utilizing to take care of some type of issues those were done an inflection points those were done at times in which there was some type of true life national emergency you contagion would point to you and say hey we need to take care of this and we need to move so fast that we don't have the tying and to go back to congress in this particular point concert. He had of course in this situation as we were talking before drugs and illegal border crossings they've been happening and ask it's a problem. Maybe not a crisis because I'm going on for some time record low numbers in many cases. Yet it when you talk about border crossings you're talking about historically low numbers right now lower than we we've seen in quite some time the bigger piece of this to visit this was such an issue for this administration widening immediately take it up whenever they began. We did in two two years the first time we really started truly. Hard line speaking about this since the elections were right into the run up to the mid terms I'd when he TV images seems that this is much more politically advantageous for this president. Before his administration verses being an actual national. I'd national crisis that we need to address. This president did talk to me about this being fulfillment of the campaign promise among other things escorted the border now to check on the situation there are some of the things that. Bishop I was talking about our affiliate reporter who Hugo Chavez with key DIA ABC's affiliate in El Paso, Texas. Is right there at the border fence Julio what's the situation there and tell us the reaction you're starting to see in your community to the president's news. Well Donna the president's news didn't equal eyes the idol lot that's expected for the past three weeks. On. People react. And is the presidents' comments. We're not if you're spending to the leaders lately and I mean that isn't in itself. Red. Folder. In what is that even back already. Now I'm. It's important to Poland we every morning on my front four weren't. It will seat and we won't of people aren't hurting the field into Border Patrol. Ample Border Patrol agent apple Meehan. Need to need to be better equipped to deal with the larger groups banned lead instead I'll. Single Mexican men which is what most important the war so. We're now will react and independent thinkers net emergency funding will McCain is not going forward with the advent. The board until he can think they simply want different kinds of funds. And your shot this with her flaky DIA thank you so much for that report and of course guys. The president and Catherine you were tracked here this week was in El Paso got a lot of blowback from community members. I've repeatedly saying this was not a crisis to write including. The mayor there are two Republican Republican not. Pushing back against and I think what we were talking about earlier about those statistics it's imported a to point out that in Rose Garden at the president was asked where you where you getting these statistics and the aid payments in the DHS statistics the CPB statistics and he says. Well I get a range of them and he pushed back a little bit on the fact that morning border crossings have dropped but. Even the example that we fact checked him on his in 2001 there are a little over one point six apprehensions at the mortar one point six million. And now it's 396000. And that's when he's here to sewage that does 75%. Drop and. Bishop as Julio was talking about their one of the things its interest and we talk about this being an emergency and sure and there are and there are. Floods have migrants caravans of migrants coming north. And many cases these are. Children their families through there are young people who are not. The dangerous gangs. Hundreds of thousands of gains of people that the president has portrayed. Absolutely which he actually has humanity that humanitarian crisis at the border which you have women and children under fleeing. Countries that have better rates in cry and that have violence and extremism with to end them and they're just trying to find entity here in our borders are just trying to be safe. More to the point whenever you look at the statistics is well a particular we talk about drug trafficking. The majority of deal legal illicit drugs or come into ports of entry. The main issue we have with immigration is people overstayed visas it's not people that are trying to our climb walls and the people we've described these women and children are desperate desperation is not going to be stopped by while they're going to find ways to make it here. The president don't nonetheless determined to build that wall I wanna go to the Pentagon now weren't really Martinez has been talkative and military officials about. What that trade offs could be by the president tapping into some of the Pentagon's budget to in his words build the wall to stop an invasion Louis you've been looking at some of the construction projects that are on the docket. If the president would have to pull money from give us a sense of what those projects are what the tradeoffs may be there. Wild animal when he when we ask questions specifically about what could be eliminated or shifted from the military construction budget. Towards the border while projects we get the answer we're gonna refer you to the White House now that would obviously no specifics here very early in the game here from the Pentagon. But what we did hear from senior administration official in advance of the president's announcement was that they are looking at what they call. Moved lower priority military projects projects it could be finished soon. Oh in the next couple months or over the next year or so. And that could then be refunded by an additional request from the fiscal year. Proposal budget proposal is gonna come out in a couple of months. So I think the idea here is that they want to backfill some of this money has gonna be taken away from them they'll wonder what kind of prodded to re talking about we're talking about. Now the necessary construction projects and military bases in United States and overseas we're talking about daycare facilities are talking about improvements to hospitals are talking about military housing. I'm there's a whole spectrum some of them. It could be at the lower end of these construction projects in other words they may be millions of dollars others I'm higher profile on big ticket items for example. There is a very large project underway that will get under way in launch still in Germany this is. The military facility. The hospital where most of America's wounded in the in the conflicts overseas in Iraq and in Afghanistan have gone for initial medical treatment. There is a huge significant upgrade is being done to that facility whole brand new facility is going to be put there. It now. What I'm talking about this facility because that potentially is on the table but we don't really know which of these projects whether they be short. Small Terkel a small scale projects to the large scale projects. Could be impacted but what's really significant here is the amounts of money are being shifted away we're talking about 3.5 billion dollars in military construction. Which falls under the president's emergency powers under this national emergency. There's an additional 2.5 billion that's coming from counter narcotics funding now what's interesting about that. Is that really the amount of money that's in those funds as we speak is about 500 million can be tapped by the president. But when you can do is you can shift funds from other projects and the Pentagon is essentially going to have to shift. As much as two billion dollars extra into that fund. And they're gonna do it in increments between ten and thirty million so. It's so that otherwise could trigger congressional action so to get under that regulatory. Authority. They're gonna shift. Probably from eighty accounts. Amounts that'll total up to an additional two billing just to get into that. Kind of a little shell game into administration is going through in order to get that money for are into that. Counter narcotics fund. Moving Martinez forcing the Pentagon thanks for breaking down we will see which projects I get hit in this effort I want you wanna turn ninety bishop what I ask you about some of Louise reported. Reaction going to be in the military community mulls his some of these projects getting their budgets have. Well absolutely what was the first thing he actually talked about was on military housing and something that mentioned T briefly before began. But a big kid here in you're seeing this from this past week. A part of the guests ask the the Senate Armed Services Committee a sudden I committee hearing that they had was it. Directly on the state of military housing right now Andy Aden some areas is absolutely horrific. You're talking about black mold you talking about as fast as surprisingly enough to some of these houses. This. Makes Sally senator makes Sally herself I'd just said it's disgusting a Republican from Arizona dad mentioned how disgusting. And how I just absolutely horrific these conditions are to have military families living and so for you did turn around and say that is a national emergency. That you need to take funding that could be re allocated memory appropriated to use to help them hide clear these conditions is just ridiculous. The second part we talk about drug interdiction why are re not using these funds to actually do that vs pulling finds a way to build a draconian policy of wall that we don't need an isn't going to work they're gonna build tunnels are gonna. Continue to fight they're going to go through ports of entry they're going to continue to find ways in which they can go around these walls is simply don't work. And in the meantime were taken away from policies that actually need this funding and we know. That that's part of the reason why so many legal challenges have started to crop up today. Is suing the president over this move on let's talk about some of the legalities now with Chris Rihanna he joins us live from New York he is. Constitutional law professor Columbia University board Chris break down a constitutional question here. That a lot of these different groups and states now preparing to sue the president will be bringing to the courts. You know it's incredible because what you really see here is a a you know challenge between the various branches of government this is constitutional law 101. And the president acted under an act of congress so the question now will be in many ways what will congress do looking at this national emergency that's been declared. And as you noted what will the courts do. You up all three branches of government the two pro active in the one reactive that are all going to be kind of looking at this and working together. In order to see if this act of the president really. Fits within the definition of what's you know expected within this congressional act from you know decades and decades ago. I believe if you look at this it if a little bit unique from a constitutional perspective usually. When the president or prior presidents of acted under this congressional act they've done so it when it comes to sanctions there's a lot of economic things that have been gone. But not so much something like this and I think something that you and I were talking about before DeVon you know you look at this congress has the power of the purse. It doesn't necessarily. Look from a conduct constitution perspective like. No maybe the president has the power to move the money that's already been allocated. When it doesn't necessarily fit within this congressional kind of act as I think these are the types of questions are gonna see as you noted it doesn't surprise me. That right from the get go you're going to see lawsuits I wouldn't be surprised if you see some court action very very quickly because I bet there's going to be a lot of groups that looked to. Immediately see what they can do to try to ameliorate this from happening and over for anything from actually happening on summer. Face Christian Democrats on Capitol Hill are already talking about bringing a lawsuit let's go to our senior congressional correspondent Mary Bruce marry give us your sense of reaction from. Hill leaders to the president's announcement and could we expect to see a lot serious Chris was talking about from Nancy Pelosi. And Chuck Schumer. Eight yet DeVon democratic leaders on the heel of made clear they are going to use every tool they have available to try and block the president prevent. This declaration from essentially going into effect and they say they can challenges in the courts and on the hill and we are already seeing Democrats. Preparing to use that the power that they haven't they were just to try and an introduced a resolution to terminate the president's been national emergency declaration and it give any outcry and that frustration and the furious reaction we've seen from Democrats Obama really does seem. That's such a resolution would pass in the house which vending that would go to the Republican controlled senate and that would let Republicans there in a very tricky political position. Because even though right now Republican leadership is now on board with this move. You have a lot of members that I've talked with were not comfortable with this they say it sets a terrible precedent that it is a bad move a mistake and even have Republican and senator Marco Rubio saying the that it violates the constitution. The bigger picture here though is that even if this kind of resolution can pass through the house and the senate the president could veto it. And that should the possibility that they congress can get together a veto proof majority that is a very very high bar and it's hard to see how. Congress will actually be able to prevent the president from doing that the Democrats have made clear they are certainly going to try and politically. It can be to be a difficult issue for Republicans to tackle. Opera and Chris Rihanna we've already heard that the Justice Department has in informed the White House. That they are expecting this to be blocked at least temporarily by the courts do you have any sense of how quickly we could see an injunction here preventing the president from even starting construction. Absolutely I mean all it takes is for somebody to get into a courthouse it in front of a federal judge and get a federal judge to issue an injunction federal judges obviously work. 24 hours a day seven days a week. It could happen as soon as that this evening if if somebody actually filed something and it's in front of a judge who very quickly. And I think that's basically what you be looking at it could happen. Are a very fast. And Mary Bruce any sense of how legislators. Up on Capitol Hill could be trying to protect border communities as well I understand you're tracking some efforts to saved protect Texas landowners for example on the border from having their land ceased. It will they're looking at everything that every tool they have available to try and prevent the fallout is they would see it from the president's move here and also do everything they can't deaths dropped the president's move I think everyone you know we're not only once combing through all of visiting lawmakers are looking taking a very close look at this they are out next week. But I'm told that when they come back you're likely to see a lot of action up on the hill on both fronts to see what they can do to try and mitigate the impacts of this. And also what they can do bigger picture to try and block in port isn't entirely. Primary Bruce forest on Capitol Hill think you fascinating conversation Christopher Rihanna and New York great to have you bishop garrison thank you so much for your voice for common and I'll big story we'll continue to follow love to have you back and continue the conversation. I do want to but not this portion of our coverage over Sherry with you the voices but some others that were invited by president trump to the Rose Garden those of Angel moms. These are people that the president has used to showcase some of the impacts. Of illegal immigration in in in this case today he invited to mothers. Our Jonathan Karl chiefs for our White House correspondent caught up with one of them. Whose son was killed by an illegal immigrants here's her reaction to the president's news today. What is the girl the president answered that he is. I fully support him declaring them national emergency I'm fully behind him on securing the border. I do have some reservations about. The bill that is going to be silent night I I support the national emergency don't you think it's tough enough. And it's a provision in the air to twice for a day advocates tasted anything. One that has a relationship with an unaccompanied minors is eligible for an amnesty. I think that's just going to be a magnet to attract. And I'm not a more migrants to bring unaccompanied. With. Miners through the border. And how how do you think the president hears her message immediately he cites the Angel moms all the time what would. I I I do believe he does the person I. Meant then candidate trump is in 2015. Shortly after he announced that he was running. And I told mystery my son. I saw the look at his side you know. This had missed the pain of a father. And he has been very supportive classes since it was the wall important. The goal is important because so many illegal aliens crossing the border every day. Currently 90% of the people that are coming here in claiming amnesty. You're not eligible and ask showing up for their hearing gates so. And they're just letting reporters 500000. Particularly it's coming into our country each year. Our thanks to John call for Matt and Katherine before we end on this topic today. Interest in line from the president's speech he's going viral on on the Internet right now and social media and actually could be. Quite detrimental to the president in court. Eighty I when he was discussing and the national emergency he used the line. I didn't have to do this now that is extremely significant because it's up I can imagine going apologies visited twice going to pop up and in all of these lawsuits that are filed and then why do you do this in the first place in begs the question and as we know the Department of Justice warns the White House so he was very well aware of the legal challenges and that this is gonna face. They're conceding you don't have to do it last seen something's an emergency is certainly a disconnect any value. For that we want to continue today with part of in the latest installment in our series here brought to us by our reporter Alley Roman up on Capitol Hill. I shifting gears now to the looking ahead to the 22 when he race Alley Rogen racially. Recently caught up with democratic senator Sherrod Brown in his office which used to be president Barack Obama's senate office from what his hopes are for the future take a look. I'm Alan Rogan on Capitol Hill one of the coolest parts of covering congress is the fact that there's history everywhere you turn. In fact six former presidents used to work in these very halls before they went on to the Oval Office we're taking you inside those offices to see what it was like where these former presidents work. Today we're checking out the office of then senator Barack Obama. We're in the office of senator Sherrod brown and around thank you so much for it you can letting anything here today this office used to be occupied by then senator Barack Obama. Who asked not to be president who can't remember yeah I'm sit tell you what does it. Mean to you to be occupying. This office here he left this office and at the end of 2008. Obviously. In I was in the Russell building and this office was open this is a bigger office Newton not because he became president but because he represented a big state. Doesn't represent a big state so there's there's a little more space allocated to senators in the biggest state so. This one was perfect and I like that there's a little plaque on the wall from outside the door of every senator who later became president so there's Kennedy's office there's Johnson's office and there's Nixon's office. Take for Obama's office over Nixon's office. This and I did so we moved got to know him and my 06 race for the senate he cannot hope to do it and number movements. And then when he ran away and I spent a lot of time with him in Ohio really more than in the senate because. Presidential candidates kind of give up person who's so I spend a lot of time bosses in Ohio and all over the place campaigning what. So obviously this isn't any office of one former presidents have are you gonna try to make it to. I'm not quite made I really don't know but I do I do predict at this office will produce because our country's gonna last long time in his buildings really well built that. There's a good chance this office will someday produce another president of the United States generally hundred senators sent. Our country will go centuries into the future in this building will last so we will see. Absolutely you're gonna run out of plaques they get it yet but think he simply do appreciate it thanks. And our thanks to Alan Rogan for that we don't get a great Valentine's Day yesterday this thing caught our eye. Former president Jimmy Carter Rosalyn Carter celebrating more than seventy years of marriage took in the hawks' game in Atlanta last night basketball game. And check this out they were on the kiss cam how about that. Former president and his wife still going strong. In their nineties look at that and our salute to the Carter family there. All right very fine. How would be remiss though if we didn't recognize a little more love so little more love today a shout out two special member of our ABC news life family one of our biggest fans. There she is the mother of our senior producer cat MacKenzie Thelma McCain's Lee. Became one of the nation's newest citizens this week there she is celebrating with an American flag in her certificate our hats off to her. In the MacKenzie handling. And a salute to. Senior producer cat MacKenzie hope you guys have a great weekend chaggaris during the briefing room for cattle call their son Devin Dwyer and CX.

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

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