Congress lopsidedly approved a border security compromise Thursday that would avert a second painful government shutdown, but a new confrontation was ignited — this time over President Donald Trump's plan to bypass lawmakers and declare a national emergency to siphon billions from other federal coffers for his wall on the Mexican boundary.
Money in the bill for border barriers, about $1.4 billion, is far below the $5.7 billion Trump insisted he needed to build a wall along the Mexican boundary and would finance just a quarter of the 200-plus miles he wanted. The White House said he'd sign the legislation but act on his own to get the rest, a move that prompted immediate condemnation from Democrats and threats of lawsuits from states and others who might lose federal money or said Trump was abusing his authority.
Late Thursday, Bloomberg reported that Trump plans to unilaterally shift nearly $7 billion in additional federal funds to construct physical barriers along the U.S.-Mexico border, a maneuver that risks provoking a lengthy legal battle over presidential powers.
PRESIDENT DECLARES BORDER EMERGENCY...
$8B FOR WALLS...
WILL SIGN BUDGET...
UPROAR FROM ALL SIDES...
Ocasio-Cortez, Castro Plan Bill to Block...
LEGAL WAR LOOMS...
'Catch and Release' expansion...
Pelosi warns Democratic president could declare national emergency on guns
Trump move would set precedent
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Thursday that if President Trump can declare a national emergency to construct his border wall, a Democratic president can use the same powers to take all sorts of steps the GOP won’t like.
She specifically suggested guns as an area where a Democratic president might try an end-run around Congress.
“Because if the president can declare an emergency on something that he has created as an emergency, an illusion that he wants to convey, just think of what a president with different values can present to the American people,” she said.
Dershowitz: McCabe's Reported 25th Amendment Talks Would Be 'Coup D'état'
If former acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe is telling the truth with his claims that officials in the Department of Justice discussed using the 25th Amendment to remove President Donald Trump from office, that could be considered be an attempted "coup d'état," Harvard Law professor emeritus Alan Dershowitz said Thursday.
McCabe confirmed for the first time in a CBS interview that there were high-level discussions at the Justice Department about recruiting Cabinet members to invoke the 25th Amendment to remove Trump from office in the aftermath of former FBI Director James Comey's firing.
He added that if any Justice Department official mentioned the amendment in connection with Trump, that person has "committed a grievous offense against the Constitution."
Trump can find billions to use for emergency wall declaration
President Trump has a pool of roughly $21 billion in military construction funds he can use to build the border wall by emergency declaration, congressional aides said Thursday — though much of that is already destined for other projects that would have to be put on hold.
The White House said Thursday that the president will follow through on his threat to declare an emergency, using the Pentagon to build fencing and circumventing a Congress that just denied him most of the money he had sought.
Fox News reported Mr. Trump will end up with about $8 billion in wall money, with $600 million coming from a Treasury Department forfeiture fund, $2.5 billion from Pentagon drug interdiction money and $3.5 billion from the military construction budget. He will get $1.375 billion from the bill Congress approved.
Ocasio-Cortez Blamed for Amazon's NYC Exit
Amazon is blaming local politicians for its shock decision to abandon plans to open a new headquarters in New York City – and Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez’s vehement opposition appears to have been the main catalyst.
In a statement released late Wednesday morning, Amazon said “a number of state and local politicians have made it clear that they oppose our presence and will not work with us to build the type of relationships that are required to go forward with the project we and many others envisioned in Long Island City.”
The self-described Democratic socialist’s sentiments are entirely opposite of those of fellow New York Democrats, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and Gov. Andrew Cuomo, both of whom approved of Amazon’s move and helped broker the deal.
Police Probe Whether Jussie Smollett Made up 'MAGA' Attack
Actor Jussie Smollett is suspected of having made up the entire story about being attacked by two men who yelled "this is MAGA country," according to multiple reports.
ABC Chicago reported that Chicago police are now investigating whether Smollett lied about the attack — and whether he had help from two people.
Networks: 2,202 Minutes on Russia Scandal, Zero for No Collusion Report
It’s been two days since NBC’s exclusive reporting that the Senate Intelligence Committee has found no material evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, and as of yet none of the three major broadcast networks (ABC, CBS, and NBC) have given it even a single second of coverage in their evening newscasts. Considering these networks have given the Russia probe a massive 2,202 minutes of airtime, their silence on this major development is deafening.
MRC analysts examining all coverage on ABC’s World News Tonight, the CBS Evening News, and the NBC Nightly News found that those 2,202 minutes spent on the Russia investigation accounted for nearly 19 percent of all Trump-related reporting between January 21, 2017 and February 10, 2019. However none of those three shows have even mentioned the investigation since NBC’s report came out on February 12.
Ginsburg back at Supreme Court
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was back at the Supreme Court on Friday for the justices’ private conference.
The Supreme Court’s public information office told The Hill Ginsburg was attending the meeting in which the justices consider requests to review cases. Ginsburg has been absent from the court since undergoing surgery in late December to remove two cancerous nodules from her lower left lung.
The 85-year-old missed oral arguments last month while recovering at home from the procedure. Her absence marked the first time in more than 25 years on the bench she was forced to miss arguments due her health.
NASA heading back to Moon soon, and this time to stay
NASA is accelerating plans to return Americans to the Moon, and this time, the US space agency says it will be there to stay.
Jim Bridenstine, NASA's administrator, told reporters Thursday that the agency plans to speed up plans backed by President Donald Trump to return to the moon, using private companies.
"It's important that we get back to the moon as fast as possible," said Bridenstine in a meeting at NASA's Washington headquarters, adding he hoped to have astronauts back there by 2028.
No time for Trump to step on his necktie
Presidents have ways to get things done that speakers of the House don’t, a lesson that Nancy Pelosi is just now learning.
Donald Trump put her in her place Thursday with his announcement that he will sign the spending bill he doesn’t like to avoid another government shutdown, but at the price of declaring a national emergency to raid other sources of income for building his barrier on the border.
It’s no good getting mad, a famous Irish aphorism goes, when the better idea is getting even. Mr. Trump’s scheme to get $5.7 billion to build his wall with a declaration of national emergency, understandable after dealing with Mrs. Pelosi and Chuck Schumer, two official and certified pains in the arse, is nevertheless a bad idea. Worse, it’s an unnecessary bad idea, and it has all the markings not of a national emergency, but of a national fit. Sometimes a president has to throw a fit, but this is not one of those times.
A second U.S.-North Korea summit
There are reasons for concern about a second U.S.-North Korea summit. If there is no tangible movement on denuclearization, public support for dialogue with North Korea will erode quickly, with the potential for a return to a policy of “maximum pressure.” If this were to happen, it would be a major diplomatic failure with far reaching consequences.
In 2017, when North Korea had 18 ballistic missile launches, to include two intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM) launches capable of reaching the United States, and a test of a thermonuclear warhead, the prospect of military conflict with North Korea was real.
Fortunately, Kim Jong-un quickly pivoted, in his January 2018 New Year’s address, to an appeal for better relations with South Korea and the United States, stating that a nuclear North Korea could now focus exclusively on economic development. What followed was an unprecedented diplomatic outreach, by a heretofore reclusive leader, that included three summits with South Korean President Moon Jae-in, four meetings in China with President Xi Jinping and a summit with President Donald Trump, the first time a sitting U.S. president met with a leader of North Korea.