President Donald Trump claimed that he could declare a state of emergency and build his wall without congressional approval as the partial government shutdown tied for the third longest on record on Sunday.
“I can do it if I want,” Trump told reporters at the White House on Friday. “We can call a national emergency because of the security of our country. We can do it. I haven’t done it, I may do it.”
“I may declare a national emergency dependent on what’s going to happen over the next few days,” Trump told reporters as he left the White House for Camp David Sunday morning.
NEW: Pres. Trump speaks to possibility of declaring a national emergency ahead of meetings with senior White House staff at Camp David: "I may declare a national emergency dependent on what's going to happen on the next few days." https://t.co/n7cpFSlMwt pic.twitter.com/0hRQco62jA
— ABC News (@ABC) January 6, 2019
Upon his return from Camp David, he told reporters: “We’re looking at a national emergency because we have a national emergency. Just read the papers.
Such a move would likely face legal action.
Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff, the chair of the House Intelligence Committee, said Sunday he did not think the president had the authority to use emergency powers to build his wall.
“Look, if Harry Truman couldn’t nationalize the steel industry during wartime, this President doesn’t have the power to declare an emergency and build a multibillion dollar wall on the border,” Schiff said on CNN’s ‘State of the Union.’ “So that’s a non-starter.”
Experts in executive authority told NBC News that while Trump “can declare an emergency, his powers — and the funds he has access to once he’s done so — are unclear.”
“He can declare some kind of national emergency, but what it would allow him to do legally is a totally different question,”said Matt Dallek, professor at Washington University’s Graduate School of Political Management and an expert in presidential power.
White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said Sunday that Trump “absolutely” stands by his comments that he is willing to continue the shutdown for months, or even years, to get the $5 billion he wants to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.