House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) said this morning that new testimony from top U.S. intelligence officials such as Dan Coats would “undermine” Donald Trump’s ability to get money for building a border wall by declaring a national emergency.
“Schiff suggests will use intel chiefs’ testimony if Trump tries national emergency card.”
Schiff suggests will use intel chiefs' testimony if Trump tries national emergency card pic.twitter.com/XramYDqbk3
— TPM Livewire (@TPMLiveWire) January 30, 2019
Speaking on MSNBC Schiff said:
“The fact that none of the intel chiefs brought up a threat at the southern border as being one of the most pressing threats facing the country, that could be Exhibit A in a challenge to any kind of a declaration of a national emergency.”
Yesterday Director of National Intelligence (DNI) Dan Coats and Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) Director Gina Haspel both testified before the Senate Intelligence Committee about global threats to the United States.
The two top U.S. intelligence officials gave testimony concerning pressing national security matters, including ISIS, China and Russia.
In his televised remarks, Rep. Schiff made the argument that the testimony by Coats and Haspel showed “that none of the intelligence agencies think” there is an “emergency” at the border, adding “both parties don’t think this is an emergency.”
Then he added:
“I think, if anything, it is going to undermine that legal case that the president may try to make, that hearing yesterday could be a central exhibit.”
Since he began his campaign for the presidency in 2015 Trump has promised to build a southern border wall and make Mexico pay for it. In December he caused a partial government shutdown, which lasted a record 35 days, because he demanded funding from Congress to build the wall. Opinion polls have consistently shown that the majority of American voters do not want the government to spend money on a border wall.
Trump a few days ago signed a continuing resolution that temporarily reopened the government, without money for wall construction. But he insists that he will shut down the government again if Congress doesn’t act, or he will declare a national emergency.
And he appears serious about declaring a national emergency if Congress doesn’t provide wall funding. Many legal experts, however, have said that declaring a national emergency to build a wall would be illegal.
Schiff’s comments show that Democrats in Congress will not cave on Trump’s border wall. They will not provide money for the wall, and they will not allow him to illegally declare a national emergency as a way to subvert the Constitutional separation of powers in the U.S. government.