Trump has just said in an oval office interview with the NY Times that he’s given up on Congress and is going to proceed without when the two weeks are over.
Via the New York Times:
In an interview in the Oval Office, Mr. Trump called the talks “a waste of time” and indicated he will most likely take action on his own when they officially end in two weeks. At the same time, he expressed optimism about reaching a trade deal with China and denied being at odds with his intelligence chiefs.
“I think Nancy Pelosi is hurting our country very badly by doing what’s she doing and, ultimately, I think I’ve set the table very nicely,” Mr. Trump said. While he would not directly say that he plans to declare a national emergency to build the wall, he added: “I’ve set the table. I’ve set the stage for doing what I’m going to do.”
He had tough words as well for Ms. Pelosi, who has adamantly refused to approve even a dollar of the $5.7 billion he has sought for his border wall.
“I’ve actually always gotten along with her, but now I don’t think I will any more,” Mr. Trump said. “I think she’s doing a tremendous disservice to the country. If she doesn’t approve the wall, the rest of it’s just a waste of money and time and energy because it’s desperately needed.”
Mr. Trump has been considering an emergency declaration to spend money on a wall even without congressional approval, an action that would most likely draw a court challenge, and he said Ms. Pelosi would not be able to stop him. “I’ll continue to build the wall, and we’ll get the wall finished,” he said. “Now whether or not I declare a national emergency — that you’ll see.”
Hmmm. That makes me wonder if Trump might take another avenue to build the wall without declaring a national emergency. According to Daniel Horowitz he can build the wall via a different section of the US code:
[Trump’s] authority is even stronger in the field of combating drug smuggling, even without the declared health crisis. 10 U.S.C. § Section 284 allows the secretary of defense, upon request from federal or state law enforcement dealing with drug trafficking, and in conjunction with the secretary of state, to “provide support for the counterdrug activities or activities to counter transnational organized crime.” Subsection b(7) allows the DOD to provide help in the form of “construction of roads and fences and installation of lighting to block drug smuggling corridors across international boundaries of the United States.”
This is not some parsimonious loophole for an excuse to build a wall. This is the whole enchilada, folks. The main reason we need a wall is to combat the smugglers and the cartels who use the migration to bring in their contraband and dangerous criminals. Last October, the DOJ designated MS-13, Cartel de Jalisco Nueva Generacion (CJNG), Sinaloa Cartel, and Clan del Golfo as transnational crime organizations (TCOs).
It would be so awesome if Trump went this route. The media won’t even see it coming, as they would be expecting a national emergency proclamation. It would be the greatest presidential troll of all time.
Also, in case you are wondering how this interview with the NY Times came about…
The interview was arranged after Mr. Trump reached out to A.G. Sulzberger, the publisher of The New York Times, and invited him for an off-the-record dinner. Mr. Sulzberger declined, saying he would prefer an on-the-record interview that included two of his reporters. The president agreed.
Mr. Trump sat behind the Resolute Desk, sipping periodically from a glass of Diet Coke with ice cubes floating in it and resting on a gold coaster. His acting chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney; his senior communications adviser, Bill Shine; and his press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, sat in on the session with Mr. Sulzberger and the two Times reporters.
This could get a lot more interesting. Stay tuned!