Acting US Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan has announced that starting today he will study which projects military funds may come from to shift money to a border wall after Donald Trump‘s national emergency declaration.
“Acting US Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan said, beginning Sunday, he will start studying which projects military money may come from to shift funds toward a border wall”
Acting US Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan said, beginning Sunday, he will start studying which projects military money may come from to shift funds toward a border wall Via @CNN @NoahGrayCNN https://t.co/nLz0d9dxsL
— David Thomas Sutton (@DTSutton) February 17, 2019
Trump declared a national emergency on Friday before jetting off to Florida to play golf. He did this because he could not legally secure federal funds to build a wall on the Mexican border. He has chosen to attempt to bypass Congress after both the House and the Senate refused to meet his demands for billions of dollars of border wall funds.
Democrats have vowed to fight Trump’s emergency declaration, saying that ‘Congress cannot let the President shred the Constitution.’
— CNN Politics (@CNNPolitics) February 17, 2019
Members of Trump’s administration have indicated that $2.5 billion of military narcotics funding and $3.6 billion in military construction money will be diverted to start building the unneeded and unwanted border wall.
Shanahan, however, has the final say on how much will be taken from which programs, since he is in charge of the U.S. military.
By all accounts, it appears that Shanahan is going to approve the $3.6 billion transfer of construction money which had previously been appropriated by Congress.
“I think I have a lot of discretion,” Shanahan told reporters on a flight from Munich yesterday. Then he added:
“You can trust the numbers in terms of the potential. Then you gotta marry it up with where the money would be spent.”
Shanahan said that he will not divert funds for the wall that have previously been earmarked for military housing.
Under Trump‘s emergency declaration, Shanahan must make a determination whether border barriers are needed to support the use of the armed forces. Otherwise, the use of military funds would be illegal.
“There’ve been no determinations by me, so that’s what I’ll be doing tomorrow,” Shanahan said. “But I just want to make a point of this: we are following the law, using the rules, and we’re not bending the rules.”
Shanahan will receive a full briefing from the secretaries of each branch of the military in the next few days. They will discuss with him the potential programs from which the money may be taken.
A defense official told reporters:
“The joint staff is determining which barriers should be prioritized along the southwest border from a military perspective analysis.”
“I’ll go in and review that analysis now that the emergency has been declared,” Shanahan added. “Based on that, we can do an assessment of what would be appropriate.”
The truth is that nothing is appropriate. The emergency declaration is a sham. Trump‘s — and Shanahan’s — actions may be illegal. If he’s not careful the acting defense secretary may soon find out (as Michael Cohen did) that following Donald Trump‘s orders may put him on the wrong side of the law.