Fifty-eight former senior national security officials, both Democrat and Republican, will issue a statement Monday saying “there is no factual basis” to President Donald Trump’s declaration of a national emergency on the US southern border, The Washington Post reported Sunday.
“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 statement reads, according to the Post.
The Post reports other signers of the 11-page statement include: Madeleine Albright, secretary of state under President Bill Clinton; John Kerry, secretary of state under President Barack Obama; Chuck Hagel, Obama’s defense secretary; Susan Rice, Obama’s national security adviser; Thomas Pickering, President George H.W. Bush’s ambassador to the United Nations; and Eliot Cohen, State Department counselor under President George W. Bush.
The statement, according to the Post, is intended to support the legal actions challenging the President’s national emergency declaration and to compel the Trump administration to outline the factual and legal basis of it.
On February 15, the President declared a national emergency to unlock billions of dollars in federal funding to build a wall on part of the US southern border. The move bypassed Congress after lawmakers refused to allocate the $5.7 billion dollars Trump demanded in funding for the wall, and came after the longest government shutdown in US history.
Sixteen states filed a lawsuit challenging Trump’s national emergency declaration. Several groups, including the American Civil Liberties Union, are also suing the administration over the issue.
The statement from the former national security officials comes as the House of Representatives prepares to vote on a resolution blocking Trump’s declaration. House Democrats introduced a resolution last week to block his effort to build a wall through his emergency powers, even though Trump has promised to veto the measure.
The statement reads, “a wall is unnecessary to support the use of the armed forces,” and argues that redirecting money for the wall through the emergency declaration “will undermine U.S. national security and foreign policy interests,” the Post reports.
It argues illegal border crossings are at a nearly 40-year low, and that there is no documented terrorism or violent crime emergency at the border, according to the Post.
By Kate Sullivan, CNN