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Trump threatens emergency powers to build wall if no wall funding by Feb. 15

President Donald Trump speaks during a signing ceremony for H.R. 2, the "Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018" on Thursday, Dec. 20, 2018 in the EEOB building in Washington, D.C. (Olivier Douliery/Abaca Press/TNS)
January 25, 2019

President Trump has announced a bipartisan deal to temporarily end the 36-day partial government shutdown — the longest in history.

The continuing resolution will fund the government for three weeks until Feb. 15 without border wall funding. However, Trump has warned that if a bill is not passed that includes border wall funding, he could use his executive power to construct the wall.

“As everyone knows, I have a very powerful alternative, but I didn’t want to use it at this time. Hopefully it will be unnecessary,” he said while announcing the temporary government funding proposal.

“Let me be very clear. We really have no choice but to build a powerful wall or steel barrier,” Trump said. “If we don’t get a fair deal from Congress, the government will either shut down on February 15 again, or I will use the powers afforded to me under the laws and the Constitution of the United States to address this emergency. We will have great security.”

Watch his announcement below:

Trump said he has asked Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell “to put this proposal on the floor immediately” and swiftly sign the resolution.

He said he is confident that Democrats and Republicans can “put partisanship aside and put the security of the American people first.”

He also discussed the efficacy of border walls, citing the security afforded by Israel’s wall, and the ability of walls to keep out crime and drugs. “It’s just common sense. Walls work,” he said.

“The walls we are building are not medieval walls. They are smart walls designed to meet the needs of front line border agents, and are operationally effective.”

Administration sources said late Thursday that Trump was drafting a proclamation, which declares a national emergency and allocates more $7 billion in funding to construct the border wall.

CNN obtained the draft, which reportedly reads, “The massive amount of aliens who unlawfully enter the United States each day is a direct threat to the safety and security of our nation and constitutes a national emergency.”

“Now, therefore, I, Donald J. Trump, by the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, including the National Emergencies Act (50 U.S.C 1601, et seq.), hereby declare that a national emergency exists at the southern border of the United States,” it adds.

The proclamation would pull funds from various sources, including “$681 million from Treasury forfeiture funds, $3.6 billion in military construction, $3 billion in Pentagon civil works funds, and $200 million in Department of Homeland Security funds,” an administration official told CNN.

On Jan. 4, Trump first announced he was considering using an emergency declaration to build the wall after talks with Democrats on border wall funding remained at a stalemate.

Previously, he has threatened to have the military construct the border wall. The proclamation, however, would deploy the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to build the wall, including seizing some private land on which the wall would be built.