Trump declares national emergency over border wall funding

The president announced he's going to sign a budget deal preventing another government shutdown while declaring a national emergency to secure border wall funding.
11:48 | 02/15/19

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Transcript for Trump declares national emergency over border wall funding
Stephanie Ramos in New York we are picking up coverage of the president's remarks from the Rose Garden. The president declaring a national emergencies and he can fulfill his campaign promise. A building a border wall ABC's Devin Dwyer is in Washington breaking it all downforce and Devin. You were the president already predicting all of the legal challenges he'll face once he signs off on this declaration. Yes Stephanie response to a question from our chief White House correspondent Jon Karl he said this is not precedent setting he said he will win in court. But he does expect to go to battle with Democrats. Now and we're also expecting a number of state attorneys general to sue the president over this. A the president said he's on good forty because he is he claims there's an invasion of in his words drugs people gangs coming across the southern border. I said that's his basis for declaring a national emergency and of course the reason for doing that Stephanie is because he. I would then have access to reprogram funds billions of dollars. A federal funds. Com and out of the Pentagon budget he says to build a wall 234. Miles. Wall of cornea the White House or George here with the drug corner national security contributor John you were struck out here by the president's. Invoking of a drug crisis at the border you spent thirty years and drug enforcement. And there was a lot of dissonance there because most of the drugs that fluent in this country come through legal channels. Yeah that's counselor right I mean the underlying premise. It seems that that the president is using to justify this national emergency. Is actually based on inaccurate information or misunderstanding what's going on the border a significant amount of illegal drugs do come into the United States from from the south. However the vast majority of those drugs in this information comes from Customs and Border Protection the Drug Enforcement Administration. Actually either come through ports of entry. War through the Pacific or the Caribbean transit sounds that come on big boats that are off loaded onto small boats. So in the idea of building a Wallace gonna stop the flow of drugs in the country just as is inconsistent with what our intelligence and on data from law enforcement tells. And let's take a look at I believe we have it under good package of money the president claimed today that he's assembled he talked about. Scaling eight billion dollars now to build border wall along the southern border he. Is preparing later today to sign he's spending package sent him from congress that's one point roughly one point four billion dollars but he. Also said he's going to take a executive action to tap 600 million from the Treasury Department. 2.5 billion from the Pentagon's drug interdiction program and then declare that emergency intake some money from the military construction budget that we'll get into some of that. A little bit deeper in the second but John you were commenting as the president was speaking. But there's a little bit irony. In the president drawing funds from drug existing drug programs to build a wall at the border you think that that actually could harm our effort to stop the flow through. Yeah asset forfeiture funds are used by federal state and local law enforcement to conduct investigations into. I drug traffickers violent gangs and other people who are not only selling drugs and shipping drugs fight involving violent activity. He DOD the Department of Defense in her diction monies are used to pay for intelligence gathering are used to. Fly airplanes and on to support ships that are in the ocean they're actually interdicting. Loads or drugs enroute to the United States. Hundreds of tons of drugs come into the United States through the ports of entry and through the oceans and in a sense we're taking money from effective operational programs. And putting them to support a wild what you have had passed a marginal impact on drugs flowing into the country. And our senior national correspondent Terry Moran joins us now as well also a student of the constitution and the law Terry. Help us understand what the legal challenges will be here the president says there's ample precedent to do this. Well he's right in the in the sense that there are dozens of national emergencies that have been declared. Since the law empowering president's formally to declare a national emergency was passed in 1976. Every president since then has declared some kind of National League surrounding the Iranian hostages or 9/11 or. Natural disasters around the country none of them have ever been challenged in an hour's drive Kramer turn overturned by any courts. And so he's right that he stands in a long line of presidents who have done this. That quite the problem is that that there's an old saying in the law hard cases make bad law meaning when judges have to take a look at something. Which is which is unprecedented. And and where there are there are competing issues and it's really hard for them. Often they they say go and in a direction that. Then we're stuck with that law for a long time while president trump. Obviously tests the limits of power of the presidency again and again today is one of those days in the courts will be faced. With that choice do they second guess a federal court. Second guess the judgment of the president of the United States on what is or is not a national emergency. Or do they allow this one to go through without challenge. While it is clearly really. Some hot somewhat political president couldn't get what he wanted to from congress or just declares a national words in doesn't anyway. Based carrier chief White House correspondent John Carl was in the Rose Garden ask the president some questions John. The president socket and just face legal challenges here results gonna get some political blow back from Republicans. You asked him some questions about that both about the precedent this would set and also what some in the trade offs would be for the military. Yeah actually he is going to he is facing blowback already from from conservatives. Who think that this sets. Exactly the wrong precedent what they're worried about. DeVon is they had a future democratic president. Could use the same tactic the same means to declare a national measurement emergency which as Terry points out there's nothing new about that. But what is different here is declaring a national emergency. To accomplish something that he failed to accomplish could not accomplish. On through congressional action so here you had this long debate I mean really it's a debate that's been going on for more than two years. About about funding for a border wall. And the president was unable to get the money he wanted so he's he's trying to accomplish this through other means. That will be the fundamental question here that we tested by the courts. Is it truly a national emergency. And is it appropriate to use a national emergency to get something you can't get through congress which as you know under the constitution. Controls the purse strings. They do you do have I asked him about conservatives like Marco Rubio. Whoever made the case that this is an abuse of power a violation of the constitution and sets that bad precedent. But I he's obviously prepared for a legal challenge prepared to lose the lower courts and prepare to take this all the way DeVon to the Supreme Court. And John did just big picture before we let you go this. Does for all of our viewers out there this does put off the threat of a shot down right which was supposed to hit a little bit later tonight and also some good news today of wrist sighs of relief across the country the president didn't talk about tapping. That disaster relief money for Puerto Rico California Texas which had been a big concern. Gather got a lot of speculation about that but but frankly DeVon I think they've been. My understanding is they've been working on this approach for sometime. They they realize the tapping the disaster relief money would. What would really be something they would face severe blow back over what's interesting here if you look at what they actually did. They're claiming eight billion dollars. Will be made available to suspend on wall construction. So about one point for a little the last of one point four billion comes from the bill that congress passed. But you also have. All money it is done through executive action that's not a national emergency this is three executive action need to 600 million dollars. From the treasury department's. Forfeiture fund that's money that they have do they've gotten through various you know a drug busts in the like. Bomb and also on money from the that the Pentagon uses two to fight drug interdiction. I succeeded Doug drug interdiction the argument is at the wall is a critical component. Of the effort to keep drugs from coming into the country. And it's the last pot of money about 2.5 billion dollars they would come through the national emergency so. Beat the they've really gone through several different areas here. Let's try to come up with the money the president wants actually. More than the amount that he asked congress to get. Yet Jon Karl thank you so much for that report and we'll see you later. Jon Karl on I've talked to lot of experts. Legal experts ahead of this and they said that. You know be the president is not a slam dunk case in the course they're very well could be in injunction issued here but this is probably the best case he could have assembled legally. The best argument to have to tap these pots of money go around congress. Yeah I mean in order for this to make it through the courts and through the court of public opinion. The president has to present a compelling case that this is a national emergency and that these actions are necessary. And I just think as with times in the past he really didn't make that case today and I was struck. Bout when I was watching the questions. When he was asked a question about where he gets his information. He said I get facts from other cape from other places truck he's not using the information provided by his own law enforcement has our intelligence community and is on the. Harry seemed to stumble over that question to provide the statistics he's using to make these claims could actually put him in some trouble he won't have wide ranging rambling. Nearly hour long address today we are getting some instant response from the Democrats SP statement. I just coming out moments ago from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi democratic leader Chuck Schumer and the senate. Senate they called the president's action today unlawful and declaring this they said it creates violence in the constitution makes America less safe. They claim the president is stealing from urgently needed defense funds they are vowing to fight this in court and I think we will see you. Boston's pop. In the next few days wanna go now to our Josh royalist when are reporters who has spent a lot of time down on both sides and the EU US Mexico border Josh joins us from New York. I Josh you learn today from White House officials the president. Plans to build the several hundred miles of steel Boller fence they say they agree with Democrats on that point that this will be steel Boller defense. You were down there and saw that what were you hearing from our border security officials from families from migrants about that fence how are they gonna feel about an extension of that. You know it's a complex issue when you talk to border agents but they are feeling as. A border fence is great but they need it increased technology and smarter ways of taking a look at how to protect the southern border. Meanwhile migrant families that we talked to in shelters from an apartment found which closed since you wanna. Two migrants who on the American side they say you know offense is not gonna stop then their fleeing some sort of persecution at home they're fleeing. Violence and anything is better than staying at home and so offense to them won't stop. Them. Just for us thanks for that perspective an important point John column before we wrap this up. We heard from border security officials themselves anymore technology this bill does provide the bill that the presence gonna sign does provide more of that. So perhaps a silver lining in some of the controversy here. Now the Dell does provide for more technology at ports of entry it provides more resource has to deal with the humanitarian issues. That are present at the border. Border security is important. Before security needs to be based on an accurate understanding of this of the threat and security conditions and just think unfortunately. The discussion on the law is diverting us from the real discussion we need to be having is what works at the southern border to protect the country turn corn picture perspective thanks for being here Stephanie Ramos back to you and the deeper. All right Devin thank you so much and thanks to the Washington team down there and Josh Kelly is here in New York.

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

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