February 14, 2019

Chairman Schiff Statement on Trump Reportedly Declaring a National Emergency

Washington, DC – Today, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), the Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, released the following statement: 

“It’s been reported that President Trump will sign bipartisan legislation passed by Congress to deal with border security, but take the extra-constitutional step of declaring a national emergency, in order to build the wall that, he repeatedly promised, Mexico would pay for. If he takes this unlawful step, the President will be claiming sweeping authority that does not exist, for the sake of addressing a crisis that doesn’t exist. If that sounds like nonsense, it’s because it is.  But it’s also a direct assault on our system of checks and balances and will not survive legal scrutiny.

“It would be hard to imagine a weaker case for a national emergency than this one, which the Administration’s lawyers will be called upon to defend. Trump himself ignored the so-called emergency for two years; Congress already considered and rejected the additional funding that he seeks; illegal border crossings are way down; and our Intelligence chiefs do not include the southern border as one of the most important threats facing our nation.

“Last month, when Trump earlier contemplated declaring a national emergency, I requested complete copies of intelligence assessments, intelligence, and data justifying the President’s statements that terrorists were streaming through the Southern border and there was a national emergency.  The Department of Homeland Security has refused to respond . Now we know why – there is no such intelligence.

“Democrats support border security, but not through a wall that will not work, or repurposing desperately needed funds meant for other important federal programs. We will not stand idly by while the President abuses his power and usurps the authority of a co-equal branch of government.  This naked power grab should be opposed by members of both parties, who have sworn an oath to defend the Constitution, but the resolve of my Republican colleagues has been consistently found wanting.  Nevertheless, I am confident the courts will sternly rebuke this declaration, by swiftly upholding the lawsuits which are sure to challenge today’s action.”