Ahead of Speech, Focus Is on a Potential Trump Move

President has said he might declare emergency to build border wall
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 8, 2019 11:00 AM CST
President Trump will address the nation in a prime-time speech on Tuesday.   (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)

(Newser) – President Trump has floated the possibility of declaring a national emergency in order to bypass Congress and get a border wall built. The idea has set off all kinds of speculation ahead of the president's prime-time address Tuesday night, though the White House has given no indication he intends to make such a declaration in the speech. One thing that is certain: An emergency declaration to build a wall would be an extremely controversial move—one that "would test the limits of presidential power" and draw immediate legal challenges, per Bloomberg. A look at coverage:

  • The law: White House lawyers are currently reviewing the president's legal options, reports the AP. The idea is that Trump would divert funds currently allotted for military construction projects for the wall and order the military to do the work. The New York Times cites this federal law and this one in a detailed look at the issue, and Bloomberg cites another.
  • Risk to troops? In the New York Times, Yale law professor Bruce Ackerman runs through the legal questions and concludes that Trump doesn't have the authority to do this. "Not only would such an action be illegal, but if members of the armed forces obeyed his command, they would be committing a federal crime."

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