Lawsuits from 16 states no bar, White House moves to build wall

Updated: Feb 21, 2019, 12:23 IST | Agencies | Washington

Unlike the first two pots of money, the latter can only be accessed through a national emergency declaration, which is now the focus of several lawsuits, reports CNN

The White House is moving forward with plans to shift existing federal funds to pay for construction of a wall on the southern border, said a senior administration official.

In the face of several lawsuits challenging US President Donald Trump's authority to declare a national emergency to reallocate billions of dollars toward a border wall, the White House plans to first draw from the Defence Department's drug interdiction program and the Treasury Department's asset forfeiture funds before moving to divert military construction funds, the official said.

Unlike the first two pots of money, the latter can only be accessed through a national emergency declaration, which is now the focus of several lawsuits, reports CNN.

While the administration has not yet been enjoined from accessing those funds, the White House is bracing for the possibility that a federal court could issue an injunction on accessing the military construction funds as a result of the lawsuits. Trump on Tuesday said he believes he is on solid legal footing as he responded to news of the lawsuits being filed.

"I think we'll do very well. We have an absolute right to do that," Trump said. He added that his administration is already "working with the Army Corps of Engineers" as he moves forward with plans to build additional barriers on the southern border.

'Draft space force legislation'
Trump signed a directive on Tuesday that directs the Pentagon to draft legislation on creating a US Space Force. The Space Policy Directive-4 called on to develop a legislative proposal establishing
the Space Force as the sixth branch of the Armed Forces.

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