DONALD Trump’s efforts to bypass Congress to fund his Mexico border wall have run into a major legal block.
Some 16 US states are suing the president after he declared a “national emergency”. Here’s the story.
AP:Associated Press President Donald Trump in the White House Rose Garden as he declared a national emergency
Which US states are suing Donald Trump?
A coalition of US states led by California filed a lawsuit against the President and top members of his administration.
It follows Mr Trump’s decision on February 15 to invoke emergency powers to help build his promised border wall.
Democrats say they are seeking to “block his misuse of presidential power”.
A lawsuit was filed in the US District Court for Northern District of California on February 18, 2019.
Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Virginia and Michigan joined California in the legal challenge.
California’s Attorney General Xavier Becerra said: “We’re suing President Trump to stop him from unilaterally robbing taxpayer funds lawfully set aside by Congress for the people of our states.”
California Governor Gavin Newsom accused the president of “political theatre” while New York state’s Attorney General Letitia James promised to “fight back with every legal tool at our disposal”.
All the states expect Maryland are governed by Democrats. The party has vowed to block Mr Trump’s Mexico border wall, a key campaign promise in 2016.
The lawsuit claims Mr Trump is acting unlawfully by using emergency powers to divert money that Congress has set aside for other spending,
The 16 states say Mr Trump’s order would cost them millions in federal funding for national guard units dealing with counter-drug activities, and that redirecting funds from military construction projects would damage their economies.
The White House has not commented on the court filing, but Mr Trump has previously acknowledged his decision would face a legal challenge.
It could end in the Supreme Court, which has a conservative leaning after Mr Trump controversially appointed Brett Kavanaugh.
REUTERS Protesters against the border wall blocked the street outside the Trump Tower in Manhattan
Why did Donald Trump declare a national emergency?
Donald Trump is furious that Congress blocked his demand for $5.7billion to start building a wall on the Mexico frontier.
The stand-off led to a record 35-day government shutdown during which some 800,000 federal workers had no pay.
In February 2019 Democrats and Republicans agreed a compromise to avoid a second shutdown.
The deal released only a fraction of the funds Mr Trump wanted.
He signed a Senate funding bill, but then went through with his earlier threat to invoke a national emergency by presidential order.
That gives him an extra $6.7billion – diverted from military spending – for a wall he says is needed to stop drugs and migrants from entering the US.
Critics have accused him of manufacturing a crisis for political reasons.
Democrats say the order is unconstitutional as Congress must agree spending.
And the 16 states plan to use the president’s own words against him in their legal challenge.
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Mr Trump said on Friday he did not need to declare an emergency but wanted to speed the process of building the wall.
The lawsuit says: “By the president’s own admission, an emergency declaration is not necessary.
“The federal government’s own data prove there is no national emergency at the southern border that warrants construction of a wall.”
US President Donald Trump says ‘Walls work 100%’ as he reiterates urgency for border security