House Democrat: Trump can use emergency powers to build wall

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He doesn’t like the idea, but a powerful House Democrat conceded that President Trump has the authority to declare a national emergency as a way to construct a wall on the southern border.

“Unfortunately, the short answer is yes,” Rep. Adam Smith of Washington told host George Stephanopoulos during an interview on ABC’s “This Week,” noting that national emergency declarations have been used previously to build facilities in Afghanistan and Iraq.

“I think the president would be wide open to a court challenge saying, ‘Where is the emergency?’ You have to establish that in order to do this,” Smith continued. “But beyond that, this would be a terrible use of Department of Defense dollars.”

Trump said in a Friday news conference that he would consider using his emergency powers to fulfill his signature 2016 campaign promise.

“Absolutely, we could call a national emergency because of the security of our county,” the president told reporters assembled in the Rose Garden at the White House.

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