It was not yesterday that this guy was telling reporters that it was not certain that an emergency statement was even legal? He is * sure * good a day later? Sure enough to recommend to the president to take such a fatal step?
Pelosi said earlier today that she thought Trump would face opposition from Republicans when he chose the national emergency route. Apparently she has been in a coma since 2015.
President Pelosi's refusal to negotiate the financing of the wall / fence – even if the government were to be reopened – virtually puts an end to the Congress process to fund the wall / barrier.
Time for the President @realDonaldTrump use emergency powers to build a wall / fence.
I hope it works.
– Lindsey Graham (@ LindseyGrahamSC) January 10, 2019
He will never say it that way, but he admits that Trump's stop fight was completely useless. I can grudgingly understand why he wants a declaration of urgency at this stage: this is the only way to end the impasse that saves the face, and the stalemate has only been "face" since the beginning. Trump foolishly thought Pelosi could blink, she would not. He must now reopen the government without admitting his defeat. The declaration allows him to do it. But if we want to go that route, Graham should at least note how bad the strategy was and how the precedent of using emergency powers to resolve legislative / executive blockages in politics is terrible. .
He will not do it, though. Because Graham has never hesitated to create horrible authoritarian precedents in the name of national security.
Whatever the case may be, plans are being developed:
The White House has begun preparing the national emergency declaration for the construction of the border wall of President Trump, including the search for money not used in the budget of the Corps of Army Engineers, Thursday announced two people aware of the preparations.
Trump urged the corps to determine how quickly contracts could be signed and if construction could begin within 45 days, according to one of those people, a knowledgeable executive who described these deliberations under the guise of anonymity.
The administration is considering in particular a bill on disaster spending passed by Congress last year, which provides $ 13.9 billion of funding allocated but not spent for various projects, said the second person, a congressional assistant who also asked to remain anonymous.
This $ 13.9 billion has been set aside for work such as the post-storm reconstruction of Puerto Rico and flood prevention in California, in case you wonder how the Democrats would use it to attack Trump in the future. Some Dems seem rather nice about it, however, like Jon Favreau, the Obama speechwriter:
Pumped up for the next Democratic president to use the "emergency powers" for a Green New Deal, Medicare for All and a new voting law (Democratic Urgency)! https://t.co/cuC19W6nkH
– Jon Favreau (@jonfavs) January 10, 2019
A Democratic president could have used emergency powers to achieve this, whether Trump uses it or not for the wall. But they could not have done so without strong and credible criticism from the right wing of the executive's drift in the struggle for public opinion. It's gone now. The left has the green light.
For CNNer, Juliette Kayyem, Trump's "emergency" construction will be much more modest in practice, if only because court challenges would be too intimidating. ABC reported a few days ago that "the ongoing action under review paves the way for the construction of approximately 115 miles of new border wall strictly on DoD-owned land, which would represent about 5% of the more than 2,000 miles traveled. So he can only build on federal land, at least for a start?
I continue to believe that it is the strongest possibility to see Trump get out of it. Trump declares a fictitious national emergency but does not test the legal waters (authority of the presidency, eminent domain) by moving DoD funds only to build a "wall" on DoD property and declare his victory. https://t.co/vsMI7fnK74
– Juliette Kayyem (@juliettekayyem) January 7, 2019
It will take some time to start building these 115 miles of wall and even longer to finish building them. And it is unlikely that Trump will lose his authority in the courts to order construction on natsec lands on Pentagon-managed land. For years, he could point to those 115 miles and say in all honesty, "The wall is under construction!" It will be 1/20 of what he promised, but as long as he can tweet steel shots of the rising slats, he will be able to say by 2020, vaguely plausible he has kept his great campaign promise. Kayyem may be right in saying that it ends that way. Meanwhile:
The problem is that the national emergency is not a way to win the fight at a standstill; just a way to lose and blame the courts
– Rich Lowry (@RichLowry) January 10, 2019
Right. The evidence of a real national emergency is so thin that it will probably lose in court on this point. But he will not lose face because he did not blink with Pelosi and he did not compromise on his request. This motivated the impasse: to prove your commitment to the cause, but not really, you know, to achieve the goals for which the cause was supposed to be organized. An emergency statement does that, if nothing else.