Former National Security Officials Oppose Emergency Declaration

A bipartisan group of foreign policy luminaries says there is no factual basis for President Trump's claim.


WaPo (“Former senior national security officials to issue declaration on national emergency”):

A bipartisan group of 58 former senior national security officials will issue a statement Monday saying that “there is no factual basis” for President Trump’s proclamation of a national emergency to build a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border.

The joint statement, whose signatories include former secretary of state Madeleine Albright and former defense secretary Chuck Hagel, will come a day before the House is expected to vote on a resolution to block Trump’s Feb. 15 declaration.

The former officials’ statement, which will be entered into the Congressional Record, is intended to support lawsuits and other actions challenging the national emergency proclamation and to force the administration to set forth the legal and factual basis for it.

“Under no plausible assessment of the evidence is there a national emergency today that entitles the president to tap into funds appropriated for other purposes to build a wall at the southern border,” the group said.

Albright served under President Bill Clinton, and Hagel, a former Republican senator from Nebraska, served under President Barack Obama.

Also signing were Eliot A. Cohen, State Department counselor under President George W. Bush; Thomas R. Pickering, President George H.W. Bush’s ambassador to the United Nations; John F. Kerry, Obama’s second secretary of state; Susan E. Rice, Obama’s national security adviser; Leon E. Panetta, Obama’s CIA director and defense secretary; as well as former intelligence and security officials who served under Republican and Democratic administrations.

I haven’t yet seen the full statement or list of signatures. But the conclusions are unassailable; indeed, no serious analyst believes we have a “crisis” at the southern border in the sense laid out in the applicable law.

Of course, Trump enthusiasts simply don’t care: they either want the wall, Congress and the US Constitution be damned, or simply blindly support the President. And no statement by 58 former officials, bipartisan or otherwise, as to “factual basis” will have any effect on them. Most of the names listed thus far are either Democrats or, worse, Republicans who served in Democratic administrations. Even those who served Reagan or the Bushes will be deemed uncredible as “Never Trump” Establishment Swamp-Dwellers who are Part of the Problem.

And, of course, House Democrats are going to vote for the resolution overturning the declaration regardless. The question is whether Senate Republicans will stand up for the Constitution, the rule of law, and their own institutional prerogatives. The answer, of course, is that very few will do so. Which means that, ultimately, this will be resolved in the courts.

FILED UNDER: Borders and Immigration, Law and the Courts, National Security, U.S. Constitution, US Politics
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is a Security Studies professor at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Of course, Trump enthusiasts simply don’t care: they either want the wall, Congress and the US Constitution be damned, or simply blindly support the President.

    Or C) Both. Having had a “conversation” with one such ardent adherent I can state unequivocally that facts and logic have no bearing whatsoever on their support for a “wall”. What’s important for them is that

    #1 they be blameless for all the things “wrong” in America right now,
    #2 to have a bogeyman they can blame for all of America’s ills right now,
    #3 to make Demoncrats complicit in all these crimes against America .

    trump fills the blanks for them rather neatly on all 3 scores and is their savior because of it.

  2. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    “factual basis”

    Factual basis is funny when used in relation to Dennison and his supporters.
    I think the case being made by the 58 is both true, and a misguided effort. The courts are likely to give wide latitude to the executive in being able to declare a national emergency.
    The real Constitutional issue is the move to re-direct appropriated moneys. Will the SCOTUS look at Dennison asking for money, being denied, and then taking the money anyway, as Constitutional? I mean…he signed the bill. Why didn’t he just veto it? That said, with Justice Boof drunkenly wandering the hallways, anything is possible.

    The question is whether Senate Republicans will stand up for the Constitution, the rule of law, and their own institutional prerogatives.

    This episode should, by all rights, destroy the Republican party…but unfortunately the members of the party aren’t smart enough to see the problem. What is more likely is that this will be just another landing in our political systems spiral staircase into the abyss. Then, one day after it’s too late, Republicans will realize what has happened…and blame the Democrats.

  3. Teve says:

    I know a socialist who lives in Alaska and is very concerned about guns and climate change and health care, and he’s been very vocal in the past week about hoping that Trump gets as much emergency power as he wants. Cuz precedent.