Trump Retains Explosive Wildcard in Battle Over Border Security

President Donald Trump’s planned trip Monday to the border city of El Paso, Texas comes days before U.S. government funding is due to lapse once again and as suspense builds over Trump’s vague but persistent threat to declare a national emergency if Congress declines to pay for wall construction along the U.S.-Mexico border.

“The president really does believe that there is a national security crisis and a humanitarian crisis at the border, and he will do something about it,” White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney said Sunday on NBC’s Meet the Press program. “He’s going to do whatever he legally can to secure that border.”

“I do expect the president to take some kind of executive action, a national emergency is certainly part of that … if we [lawmakers] don’t reach a [border security] compromise,” North Carolina Republican Rep. Mark Meadows said on CBS’ Face the Nation program. “This president is going to build a wall one way or another.”

Democrats insist there is still time for a politically divided Congress to forge and pass a spending bill that strengthens America’s southern border.

“Nobody wants a shutdown, nobody wants the president to use some kind of emergency powers,” Montana Democratic Sen. Jon Tester said on Fox News Sunday. “We just need to do our job, and we can do it.”

‘I’ll get it built’

Trump was resolute at last week’s State of the Union address to Congress.

“Where walls go up, illegal crossings go way down,” the president said. “I’ll get it built.”

So far, no deal has been reached by a bipartisan bicameral conference committee tasked with finding a compromise on border security before U.S. government funding expires on Friday. But Trump holds a wildcard – his authority as commander-in-chief to declare a national emergency and bypass Congress altogether.

“I don’t think anybody questions his legal authority to declare a national emergency,” Republican House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California said late last week.

“That would be a gross abuse of power, in my view,” Maryland Democratic Sen. Chris Van Hollen told VOA. “It’s pretty clear you can’t declare an emergency just because you can’t get your way 100 percent in the Congress. So let’s try and work this out through the normal process.”

In the abstract, the president’s authority to declare a national emergency is not in question.

“It turns out that the federal statute books are actually littered with hundreds of places where a president can declare national emergencies in various contexts,” George Washington University law professor Paul Schiff Berman said, who added that some statutes do allow a president “to move around money within the federal budget to address the emergency.”

The catch

But there is a catch: the very concept of an emergency as a sudden and dire situation.

“All of these statutes were written it appears with the idea that every once in a long while, there would be a true crisis—could be a natural disaster, could be a foreign invasion, something like that—where the need to act quickly was so important that the president would need these national emergency powers because there just wouldn’t be enough time for Congress to convene,” Berman said. “None of those [envisioned situations] would apply in a case like building a wall which is going to take many, many years, if it ever happens at all.”

A national emergency declaration from Trump would almost certainly trigger swift lawsuits as well as congressional action to overturn it.

“There is, within the law, the ability of Congress to stop a national emergency,” political analyst John Hudak of the Washington-based Brookings Institution said. “It requires both houses of Congress to vote to say that the national emergency is over. Now Democrats can certainly do that alone in the House. They cannot, however, do it alone in the Senate; it would require several Republican votes.”

‘Serious constitutional question’

Already, some Republicans have expressed unease about Trump suggesting he might act on his own.

“The whole idea that presidents — whether it’s President Trump, [hypothetically] President [Elizabeth] Warren or [hypothetically] President [Bernie] Sanders – can declare an emergency and somehow usurp the separation of powers and get into the business of appropriating money for specific projects without Congress being involved, is a serious constitutional question,” Texas Republican Sen. John Cornyn told reporters last week.

By contrast, Florida Republican Senator Rick Scott warmed to the prospect.

“[House Speaker] Nancy Pelosi said there is not going to be funding for a wall. I think the president ought to use his emergency power to try to secure the border and, if he’s going to do that, I think he ought to look at trying to get a permanent fix to DACA [protections for undocumented immigrants brought to America as children] and TPS [protected status for refugees and others fleeing hardship].”

Democrats, meanwhile, are united in opposition.

“Declaring a national emergency, particularly when there is no national emergency, would be a significant mistake. It is clear that a growing number of Republicans share that view, and I hope the president doesn’t go that route,” Oregon Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden told VOA.

Trump appeared undeterred, tweeting on Saturday, “The Wall will get built one way or the other!”

Urgency questioned

The president has argued that America’s safety is imperiled as a result of illegal narcotics and migrants entering the United States. Some observers note that America’s border security deficiencies are hardly new or sudden.

“I think a lot of Americans look at this skeptically and say, ‘What has changed between the beginning of the president’s term and now that makes this such a dire emergency?’” Hudak said.

Some see grave potential risks if Trump goes forward with an emergency declaration.

“[I]f it is misused, it essentially becomes like a president declaring martial law and taking over the powers of Congress. It’s the sort of thing that we would look at another country doing and say that’s a big problem,” Berman said.

Nevertheless, the president faces intense pressure to deliver on his border wall promise, according to Brookings Institution political analyst William Galston, who says, politically, Trump is “in a box.”

“The president has used the issue of the wall to cement the bond between himself and his core supporters and he would probably incur significant political damage if he were seen by them to be standing down, surrendering, or accepting a compromise that they don’t think he should,” Galston said.

 

Trump Retains Explosive Wildcard in Battle Over Border Security

President Donald Trump’s planned trip Monday to the border city of El Paso, Texas comes days before U.S. government funding is due to lapse once again and as suspense builds over Trump’s vague but persistent threat to declare a national emergency if Congress declines to pay for wall construction along the U.S.-Mexico border.

“The president really does believe that there is a national security crisis and a humanitarian crisis at the border, and he will do something about it,” White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney said Sunday on NBC’s Meet the Press program. “He’s going to do whatever he legally can to secure that border.”

“I do expect the president to take some kind of executive action, a national emergency is certainly part of that … if we [lawmakers] don’t reach a [border security] compromise,” North Carolina Republican Rep. Mark Meadows said on CBS’ Face the Nation program. “This president is going to build a wall one way or another.”

Democrats insist there is still time for a politically divided Congress to forge and pass a spending bill that strengthens America’s southern border.

“Nobody wants a shutdown, nobody wants the president to use some kind of emergency powers,” Montana Democratic Sen. Jon Tester said on Fox News Sunday. “We just need to do our job, and we can do it.”

‘I’ll get it built’

Trump was resolute at last week’s State of the Union address to Congress.

“Where walls go up, illegal crossings go way down,” the president said. “I’ll get it built.”

So far, no deal has been reached by a bipartisan bicameral conference committee tasked with finding a compromise on border security before U.S. government funding expires on Friday. But Trump holds a wildcard – his authority as commander-in-chief to declare a national emergency and bypass Congress altogether.

“I don’t think anybody questions his legal authority to declare a national emergency,” Republican House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California said late last week.

“That would be a gross abuse of power, in my view,” Maryland Democratic Sen. Chris Van Hollen told VOA. “It’s pretty clear you can’t declare an emergency just because you can’t get your way 100 percent in the Congress. So let’s try and work this out through the normal process.”

In the abstract, the president’s authority to declare a national emergency is not in question.

“It turns out that the federal statute books are actually littered with hundreds of places where a president can declare national emergencies in various contexts,” George Washington University law professor Paul Schiff Berman said, who added that some statutes do allow a president “to move around money within the federal budget to address the emergency.”

The catch

But there is a catch: the very concept of an emergency as a sudden and dire situation.

“All of these statutes were written it appears with the idea that every once in a long while, there would be a true crisis—could be a natural disaster, could be a foreign invasion, something like that—where the need to act quickly was so important that the president would need these national emergency powers because there just wouldn’t be enough time for Congress to convene,” Berman said. “None of those [envisioned situations] would apply in a case like building a wall which is going to take many, many years, if it ever happens at all.”

A national emergency declaration from Trump would almost certainly trigger swift lawsuits as well as congressional action to overturn it.

“There is, within the law, the ability of Congress to stop a national emergency,” political analyst John Hudak of the Washington-based Brookings Institution said. “It requires both houses of Congress to vote to say that the national emergency is over. Now Democrats can certainly do that alone in the House. They cannot, however, do it alone in the Senate; it would require several Republican votes.”

‘Serious constitutional question’

Already, some Republicans have expressed unease about Trump suggesting he might act on his own.

“The whole idea that presidents — whether it’s President Trump, [hypothetically] President [Elizabeth] Warren or [hypothetically] President [Bernie] Sanders – can declare an emergency and somehow usurp the separation of powers and get into the business of appropriating money for specific projects without Congress being involved, is a serious constitutional question,” Texas Republican Sen. John Cornyn told reporters last week.

By contrast, Florida Republican Senator Rick Scott warmed to the prospect.

“[House Speaker] Nancy Pelosi said there is not going to be funding for a wall. I think the president ought to use his emergency power to try to secure the border and, if he’s going to do that, I think he ought to look at trying to get a permanent fix to DACA [protections for undocumented immigrants brought to America as children] and TPS [protected status for refugees and others fleeing hardship].”

Democrats, meanwhile, are united in opposition.

“Declaring a national emergency, particularly when there is no national emergency, would be a significant mistake. It is clear that a growing number of Republicans share that view, and I hope the president doesn’t go that route,” Oregon Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden told VOA.

Trump appeared undeterred, tweeting on Saturday, “The Wall will get built one way or the other!”

Urgency questioned

The president has argued that America’s safety is imperiled as a result of illegal narcotics and migrants entering the United States. Some observers note that America’s border security deficiencies are hardly new or sudden.

“I think a lot of Americans look at this skeptically and say, ‘What has changed between the beginning of the president’s term and now that makes this such a dire emergency?’” Hudak said.

Some see grave potential risks if Trump goes forward with an emergency declaration.

“[I]f it is misused, it essentially becomes like a president declaring martial law and taking over the powers of Congress. It’s the sort of thing that we would look at another country doing and say that’s a big problem,” Berman said.

Nevertheless, the president faces intense pressure to deliver on his border wall promise, according to Brookings Institution political analyst William Galston, who says, politically, Trump is “in a box.”

“The president has used the issue of the wall to cement the bond between himself and his core supporters and he would probably incur significant political damage if he were seen by them to be standing down, surrendering, or accepting a compromise that they don’t think he should,” Galston said.

 

Trump Boasts He May Be Hardest-Working US President Ever

U.S. President  Donald Trump boasted Sunday he may be the hardest-working president the country has ever had.

Details of his daily work schedule leaked recently, showing in the past three months he spent about 60 percent of his day in “executive time,” periods when he had no official visitors or meetings scheduled.

Often those hours have coincided with his bursts of Twitter comments on subjects of the day, complaints about opposition Democrats and retweets of praise-worthy comments about him from shows on his favorite television network, Fox News.

“The media was able to get my work schedule, something very easy to do, but it should have been reported as a positive, not negative,” Trump tweeted.

“When the term Executive Time is used, I am generally working, not relaxing.  In fact, I probably work more hours than almost any past President,” he said.

“The fact is, when I took over as President, our Country was a mess,” Trump contended.  “Depleted Military, Endless Wars, a potential War with North Korea, V.A. (Veterans Administration), High Taxes & too many Regulations, Border, Immigration & HealthCare problems, & much more.  I had no choice but to work very long hours!”

The White House is investigating who leaked Trump’s schedule, a much more detailed version of the one released to the public.

 

Trump Boasts He May Be Hardest-Working US President Ever

U.S. President  Donald Trump boasted Sunday he may be the hardest-working president the country has ever had.

Details of his daily work schedule leaked recently, showing in the past three months he spent about 60 percent of his day in “executive time,” periods when he had no official visitors or meetings scheduled.

Often those hours have coincided with his bursts of Twitter comments on subjects of the day, complaints about opposition Democrats and retweets of praise-worthy comments about him from shows on his favorite television network, Fox News.

“The media was able to get my work schedule, something very easy to do, but it should have been reported as a positive, not negative,” Trump tweeted.

“When the term Executive Time is used, I am generally working, not relaxing.  In fact, I probably work more hours than almost any past President,” he said.

“The fact is, when I took over as President, our Country was a mess,” Trump contended.  “Depleted Military, Endless Wars, a potential War with North Korea, V.A. (Veterans Administration), High Taxes & too many Regulations, Border, Immigration & HealthCare problems, & much more.  I had no choice but to work very long hours!”

The White House is investigating who leaked Trump’s schedule, a much more detailed version of the one released to the public.

 

Trump Retains Explosive Wildcard in Battle Over Border Security

A months-old battle over U.S. border security comes to a climax this week, as Washington faces a Friday deadline to avoid another partial government shutdown. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports overshadowing congressional negotiations is President Donald Trump’s vague, but persistent, threat to declare a national emergency if Congress fails to fund wall construction along the U.S.-Mexico border.

Trump Retains Explosive Wildcard in Battle Over Border Security

A months-old battle over U.S. border security comes to a climax this week, as Washington faces a Friday deadline to avoid another partial government shutdown. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports overshadowing congressional negotiations is President Donald Trump’s vague, but persistent, threat to declare a national emergency if Congress fails to fund wall construction along the U.S.-Mexico border.

Virginia Governor: Not Quitting in Blackface Scandal

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam said Sunday he has no intention of resigning, despite widespread calls for him to quit because of a racist picture on his personal page in a 1984 medical school yearbook and his use of black face to depict a pop music star.

“I have thought about resigning, but I’ve also thought about what Virginia needs right now,” Northam told CBS News. “And I really think that I’m in a position where I can take Virginia to the next level. Virginia also needs someone who is strong, who has empathy, who has courage and who has a moral compass. And that’s why I’m not going anywhere.”

Northam, a trained physician, added, “I’ve been in some very difficult situations. Life and death situations taking care of sick children. And right now Virginia needs someone that can heal. There’s no better person to do that than a doctor.”

Northam is one of three officials, all Democrats, at the top of the government in Virginia, an Atlantic coastal state, currently engulfed in controversy. Two women have accused the state’s No. 2 official, Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax, of sexually assaulting them more than a decade ago, allegations he rejects, while the third official, state Attorney General Mark Herring, has also acknowledged that in 1980 as a college student he darkened his face to depict himself as a rap singer at a party.

Whites blackening their faces to appear to be African-Americans has a long history dating to the 19th century in the U.S. in song and dance routines known as minstrelsy. But the practice, in which blacks have often been depicted in tattered clothing and demeaned intellectually, has for decades been considered as a racist characterization.

There have been wide calls for Fairfax, an African-American, to quit in the wake of the assault allegations, but he has refused and instead called for an investigation. Until a week ago, when the accusations had not yet been leveled against him, it appeared that he might become governor if Northam, who is white, acceded to wide demands from Republicans and Democrats alike that he resign.

Herring, who also is white, is second in line to the governorship should the top two officials quit, but he too has resisted calls to resign.

The controversy over the three officials was touched off 10 days ago with the disclosure from a conservative web site that the yearbook page of the now 59-year-old Northam showed a picture of two men, one in blackface and the other in a white hooded costume synonymous with the Ku Klux Klan hate group.

Northam at first said he was one of the men in the photo, but a day later said neither of them was him. It has remained unclear exactly how the photo ended up in the yearbook of the Eastern Virginia Medical School and on Northam’s page. The governor acknowledged blackening his face later in 1984 to look like pop singer Michael Jackson for a dance contest he won.

In the days that followed, the two women leveled serious accusations against Fairfax, while Herring acknowledged his use of blackface.

Northam, in the CBS interview, said the accusations against Fairfax “are very, very serious. They need to be taken seriously.”

The governor echoed Fairfax’s call for investigation, but said that “if these accusations are determined to be true, I don’t think he’s going to have any other option but to resign.”

Asked whether Fairfax should resign, Northam said, “That’s going to be a decision that he needs to make.”

Northam said the same thing about Herring, leaving it up to the state’s top legal official whether to quit.

A Washington Post-Schar School poll showed Virginians deadlocked at 47 percent on whether Northam should quit. African-Americans by a wide margin said he should stay in office.

The poll, taken late last week, showed that by a wide margin those surveyed said Herring should remain in office. About two-thirds of those polled said they did not know enough about the first woman’s accusation against Fairfax to make a judgment on his denial that he assaulted her, but were not asked about the second woman’s allegations, which were made while the survey was underway.

 

Virginia Governor: Not Quitting in Blackface Scandal

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam said Sunday he has no intention of resigning, despite widespread calls for him to quit because of a racist picture on his personal page in a 1984 medical school yearbook and his use of black face to depict a pop music star.

“I have thought about resigning, but I’ve also thought about what Virginia needs right now,” Northam told CBS News. “And I really think that I’m in a position where I can take Virginia to the next level. Virginia also needs someone who is strong, who has empathy, who has courage and who has a moral compass. And that’s why I’m not going anywhere.”

Northam, a trained physician, added, “I’ve been in some very difficult situations. Life and death situations taking care of sick children. And right now Virginia needs someone that can heal. There’s no better person to do that than a doctor.”

Northam is one of three officials, all Democrats, at the top of the government in Virginia, an Atlantic coastal state, currently engulfed in controversy. Two women have accused the state’s No. 2 official, Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax, of sexually assaulting them more than a decade ago, allegations he rejects, while the third official, state Attorney General Mark Herring, has also acknowledged that in 1980 as a college student he darkened his face to depict himself as a rap singer at a party.

Whites blackening their faces to appear to be African-Americans has a long history dating to the 19th century in the U.S. in song and dance routines known as minstrelsy. But the practice, in which blacks have often been depicted in tattered clothing and demeaned intellectually, has for decades been considered as a racist characterization.

There have been wide calls for Fairfax, an African-American, to quit in the wake of the assault allegations, but he has refused and instead called for an investigation. Until a week ago, when the accusations had not yet been leveled against him, it appeared that he might become governor if Northam, who is white, acceded to wide demands from Republicans and Democrats alike that he resign.

Herring, who also is white, is second in line to the governorship should the top two officials quit, but he too has resisted calls to resign.

The controversy over the three officials was touched off 10 days ago with the disclosure from a conservative web site that the yearbook page of the now 59-year-old Northam showed a picture of two men, one in blackface and the other in a white hooded costume synonymous with the Ku Klux Klan hate group.

Northam at first said he was one of the men in the photo, but a day later said neither of them was him. It has remained unclear exactly how the photo ended up in the yearbook of the Eastern Virginia Medical School and on Northam’s page. The governor acknowledged blackening his face later in 1984 to look like pop singer Michael Jackson for a dance contest he won.

In the days that followed, the two women leveled serious accusations against Fairfax, while Herring acknowledged his use of blackface.

Northam, in the CBS interview, said the accusations against Fairfax “are very, very serious. They need to be taken seriously.”

The governor echoed Fairfax’s call for investigation, but said that “if these accusations are determined to be true, I don’t think he’s going to have any other option but to resign.”

Asked whether Fairfax should resign, Northam said, “That’s going to be a decision that he needs to make.”

Northam said the same thing about Herring, leaving it up to the state’s top legal official whether to quit.

A Washington Post-Schar School poll showed Virginians deadlocked at 47 percent on whether Northam should quit. African-Americans by a wide margin said he should stay in office.

The poll, taken late last week, showed that by a wide margin those surveyed said Herring should remain in office. About two-thirds of those polled said they did not know enough about the first woman’s accusation against Fairfax to make a judgment on his denial that he assaulted her, but were not asked about the second woman’s allegations, which were made while the survey was underway.

 

У київському метро Тараса Шевченка «перетворили» на Елвіса Преслі та Джека Горобця

У київському метро відкрилася виставка «Квантовий стрибок», присвячена українському поету Тарасу Шевченку.

На постерах він представлений у низці образів – співака Елвіса Преслі, головного героя «Піратів Карибського моря» Джека Горобця, «Людини-павука» та мексиканської художниці Фріди Кало.

«Проект «Квантовий стрибок Шевченка» – це сплав вільнодумства та науки, це спроба осучаснити старе та архівувати популярні культурні образи», – розповіли організатори виставки на своїй сторінці у Facebook.

Експозиція ілюстратора Олександра Грехова відкрита на станції метро «Тараса Шевченка». Вона працюватиме до 10 березня.

Поет та художник Тарас Шевченко народився 9 березня 1814 році. Він є одним із символів України. Найвідомішою його поетичною збіркою став «Кобзар». Помер Шевченко 10 березня 1861 року.

У київському метро Тараса Шевченка «перетворили» на Елвіса Преслі та Джека Горобця

У київському метро відкрилася виставка «Квантовий стрибок», присвячена українському поету Тарасу Шевченку.

На постерах він представлений у низці образів – співака Елвіса Преслі, головного героя «Піратів Карибського моря» Джека Горобця, «Людини-павука» та мексиканської художниці Фріди Кало.

«Проект «Квантовий стрибок Шевченка» – це сплав вільнодумства та науки, це спроба осучаснити старе та архівувати популярні культурні образи», – розповіли організатори виставки на своїй сторінці у Facebook.

Експозиція ілюстратора Олександра Грехова відкрита на станції метро «Тараса Шевченка». Вона працюватиме до 10 березня.

Поет та художник Тарас Шевченко народився 9 березня 1814 році. Він є одним із символів України. Найвідомішою його поетичною збіркою став «Кобзар». Помер Шевченко 10 березня 1861 року.