President Donald Trump has the authority to use national emergency powers to build his border wall, the new chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, Rep. Adam Smith, D-Wash., was reluctant to admit.
"Unfortunately, the short answer is 'yes,'" Rep. Smith told ABC "This Week." "There is a provision in 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, and in this case, I think the president would be wide open to a court challenge, saying 'where's the emergency?'
"You have to establish that in order to do this. But beyond that, this would be a terrible use of Department of Defense dollars."
President Trump said Friday the national security of the country is enough to declare the emergency to build the wall he promised in the 2016 election and Democrats have resisted giving him, leading to the current government shutdown.
"The president spends most of his time talking about how we're not spending enough on national security," Smith told host George Stephanopoulos. "Now, he wants to take $20 billion out of the defense budget to build a wall?"
This would set up another path for Democrats to resist the authority and will of the president, Smith concluded.
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