tv Inside Story 2019 Ep 47 Al Jazeera February 17, 2019 10:32am-11:01am +03
the country since he was appointed to the throne the government has stepped up security ahead of mother been some months arrival the crown prince's two day visit will see him holding talks with pakistani prime minister in one car and signing a number of investment deals. u.s. vice president mike pence has called on the e.u. to pull out of the twenty fifteen iran nuclear deal at a security conference in munich chancellor angela merkel defended germany's decision to stand by the deal and called for dialogue president donald trump's pick for u.s. ambassador to the united nations has withdrawn her nomination for the new us says in the best interests of her family state department spokeswoman and former fox news anchor described the past two months since she was nominated as grueling those are your headlines and back with more news on al-jazeera after inside story.
i'm ashleigh merchant c. for the wall donald trump's unprecedented step to stop migrants of mexican border will the u.s. president's campaign promise push america towards a constitutional crisis this is inside story. a welcome to the program i'm adrian finnegan after making threats for months donald trump has finally declared the us mexico border a national emergency this will allow the u.s. president to bypass congress and divert government funds towards his much vaunted border wall the decision is drawing widespread criticism with senior democrats and
republicans accusing him of gross abuse of power. reports now from washington. to fulfilling a twenty sixty presidential campaign promise in a most unconventional way i'm going to be signing a national emergency. after the u.s. congress refused this week to approve president trump's request for five point seven billion to build a wall along the u.s. southern border trub circumvented the legislative body by declaring a national emergency truck now has access to eight billion dollars already approved by congress to build three hundred seventy six kilometers of wall to stop illegal immigration even though the white house won't say exactly where we want to stop drugs from coming into our country we want to stop criminals and gangs from coming into our country his democratic opponents in congress say the crisis is
manufactured and motivated by racism there's concern about this february tenth tribe tweet yarg use a wall is needed to stop the influx of forty two million latin americans into the united states something trump says would be a disaster. opponents are vowing to overturn what they say is the president's power grab and defend congress's constitutional authority to decide how taxpayer money is spent through legislation and in the courts but trump is pushing back arguing other presidents have also made emergency declarations to achieve political goals like president george w. bush made similar declarations after the september eleventh attacks those continue to this day trumps already anticipating legal challenges but he expects to prevail in the courts as he points out he did when his ban on travelers entering the united states from some muslim majority countries was also challenged we will then be sued
and they will sue us in the ninth circuit even though it shouldn't be there and we will possibly get a bad ruling and then we'll get another bad ruling and that will end up in the supreme court and hopefully we'll get a fair shake and we'll win in the supreme court. but the legal and legislative challenges will be long and lengthy with presidential campaigning already underway trance attempt to keep a twenty six dean campaign promise has become a twenty twenty presidential campaign issue as well kimberly healthy at al-jazeera the white house will bring in our guests in just a moment but first let's have a look at whether an emergency situation really does exist at the us mexico border the number of undocumented migrants crossing the border is a twenty year low but a war won't stop them crossing at official points of entry to request asylum trumps promising that the war will stop the flow of drugs but government data shows that
eighty to ninety percent of heroin cocaine and methamphetamine is trafficked through official entry points with marijuana the only exception the president also made bold claims about the murder rate in america saying that thousands of lives would be lost if he didn't act but there's little evidence linking crime and immigration. let's bring in our guests then all of whom join us from washington d.c. is a republican political strategist and former delegate for president trump in twenty sixteen jeff has a an executive director of the revolving door project at the center for economic and policy research and bruce fein political analyst and former u.s. associate deputy attorney general gentlemen welcome to you or charles more on border crossing apprehensions fell to a forty six year low in twenty seventeen according to u.s. customs and border protection figures estimated undetected illegal border crossings
dropped by more than ninety percent in the ten years to twenty sixteen that's according to the department of homeland security so where is the national emergency . thanks for having me on this morning adrian i think part of what president trump is trying to enunciate is the fact that we have an ongoing threat that can spark up at any time at our southern border while those facts are correct and president trump has done a very good job trying to discourage people from coming into this country illegally we've seen movements especially from central america those migrate caravans and groups of people who have been amassing at the southern border these are situations that can develop very quickly and very rapidly where our existing protocols for dealing with you know people who are seeking asylum or people who are trying to use that movement to try to unlawfully gain entry into our country and i'm going to end it shows isn't it isn't it isn't it the case that many of the migrants who are on the move from central america swards the u.s. border choosing to stay in mexico having been offered asylum and it's by the
mexican government and as you heard a few moments ago most illegal drugs come through official ports of entry well again while people are being processed and asked to stay in mexico this was not necessarily the policy that existed before president trump and our immigration system you know asked people to stay in mexico mind you people can apply for asylum in their home countries all of the countries where these people from the migrant caravans are coming from do have embassies and consulates from america and those countries where they can apply for asylum in exactly the same way mind you they're also not taking the most direct route to america they're going all the way to california versus going to the closest port of entry or the closest border crossings which would be in texas so there's clearly some calculation going on behind this to go into some areas versus others right jeff what do you make of that there's an ongoing threat of the southern border that could spark up at any time.
i don't think that the threat that donald trump was responding to had anything to do with migrants fleeing disastrous situations in central america i think the threat to donald trump was that far right commentators like sean hannity and culture and others on the nationalist friends of american politics have been calling president trump's bluff he had failed to produce the wall that he had promised so widely in two thousand and sixteen they had forgiven him for the outlandish claim that he was going to make mexico pay for the wall everyone's kind of just acknowledge that was not true and move past that but in late december president trump was about to sign a reasonable continuing resolution that did not include funding for the wall he got some anger from the far right and all of a sudden the last six weeks he's been in panic mode that he has to produce a wall and that he feels a political emergency that is not borne out by any realities facing the american people at the u.s.
border with mexico bruce fi and the sioux city the smoking as you as you are listening is the declaration of a national emergency going to enable president trying to build his wall. no i mean that perhaps the best witness is the president himself yesterday he said i didn't need to do it that's his words and that's the opposite of the definition of a national emergency he didn't need to do it the fact is there will be lawsuits filed immediately by owners of land that will be tried to be taken by eminent domain they'll be state attorney general lawsuits i believe the house democrats will bring a lawsuit as well claiming that their power over appropriations has been usurped by the president is the same tactic that republicans used when they are in the control of the house to challenge president obama's spending under the affordable care act monies that had been appropriated by congress in addition under the national emergencies act both the house and the senate have x.
but i. did precede years for disapproving the emergency declarations by majority vote present trump could veto that but the likelihood of an override is substantial surely in the house possibly in the senate and the fact is it will lose in the courts for certain now why did he do that knowing that the chances of success for a very diminished and that is because he'll be able to tell his supporters hey if the court stopped me or congress did i still attempted to fulfill my campaign pledge and i think for those supporters they don't really care whether there was a wall they just care that mr trump attempted and a thumb his nose at our constitutional dispensation to build a wall without convincing congress it was necessary charles moran the president will lose in the courts when we prevail in the courts. want to clear up something here the money has already been appropriated by congress these are pots of money that exist and fair in various areas of the government mostly come out of the
department of defense for discretionary projects like this the money exists congress can't go back and retroactively disagree with the money that they've already appropriated to these different departments for their own projects the president has the authority to go ahead and readjust the direction of that money but it already has been appropriated this is completely legal while people can be unhappy whether or not this is conservative enough whether or not it's constitutionally balance between you know the exact of branch and in the congress that's fine but congress passed this resolution in the seventy's that gave the president of the united states this executive power and it can't necessarily just disagree i mean president obama president bush beforehand you know this this is been used fifty eight times since one nine hundred seventy nine units it's the reason the law doesn't say what constitutes a national emergency i mean how are you going to persuade the courts to rule the president trump. ceded or not exceeded his authority in this case
well it is his authority he is the commander in chief he is at a place where we've got you know again these pools of money that are in departments that he controls he has the authority under this this law that lets him direct this and declare an emergency this is totally constitutionally valid not only the fact that i don't know what t.v. shows you were watching over the last several months but i remember thousands and thousands and thousands of people amassing on our borders a pure humanitarian crisis that was going on and a national security crisis and national security is something that i think kind of trumps a lot of some of these these concerns that people are having in the special in the run in the democratic congress at this point president trump is making the argument that this is a national security issue and that justifies the use of this national emergency crisis clause you want to come in if you don't if george w.
bush couldn't do it why can't donald trump. it depends upon the facts and circumstances i was there at the pentagon papers case the nixon administration said it's national security that we prevent the washington post and new york times from publishing the pentagon papers the court said no it's not a national emergency harry truman during the korean war said it's a national emergency national security that i prevent steel strikes to build tanks that can go fight in korea supreme court said no in this youngstown state sorry that is not a national emergency a national emergency is not whatever the president says it is you know like humpty dumpty saying a word means whatever i want it to mean and again this is president trump's own words i didn't have to do it it can't be an emergency if you don't need to do it emergency by definition means it's got to be reacted to immediately and lastly with regard to the powers of congress congress appropriates money for particular purposes it doesn't just appropriate money throw it in a pot and says present you spend do with it how you see ever appropriate money you know to build levees on the mississippi river the president can use it to build
a wall because they comply with the law you have to use it for the purpose specified by congress and in so far as congress would be foolish enough to just give a pot of money to the president say you spend it however you want it would probably be an unconstitutional delegation the power of the person spending the framers said is the most important power congress is in doubt with it enables it to check presidential abuses and trump is basically saying it means nothing i want to appropriate money for any purpose i can go build a wall anytime i want without any congressional authority the last thing i apologize here congress can change its mind at any time what it gives away you can repeal the next day it's not bound once it decides to stick with it forever just how is it if this business of congress having already appropriated to the funds if the diverted away from the development of defense of the u.s. army corps of engineers in order to build president trumps will will look at the effect. i mean there are
a couple knock on facts there's the short run the fact that there is money that is allocated to defense department to build things because obviously the military is a large builder of. facilities for military bases and the like and there is power in the case of an actual merge and see that can be addressed by the military construction to use money but because there is no emergency generally and there is certainly no military emergency i mean these are these caravans that charles is referring to are slow moving groups of people from central america with which fox news analysts and bed themselves to provide hourly reports to fox news's audience about the slow march of women and children from central america through mexico for a month at a time these are hardly dangerous people and certainly not a military emergency so that's the short run that there is absolutely no money
appropriated for this purpose and courts will find that but the bigger picture emergency concern is that if you were to have trump appointee judges to in any way validate this action by the president you are unsettling as bruce was suggesting the constitutional order of the united states the supremacy of congress with respect to the power of the purse and the effects of that would be enormous and i would suspect that the effects would be considerable even if a democrat were president and that's why ultimately i think chief justice john roberts is unlikely to validate this action by donald trump because he could foresee that if the emergency powers that were allocated to the president for very narrow and specific purposes could be abused so broadly as they would be here that the ripple effects on issues like gun control and climate change would be tremendous and very much to the dissatisfaction of republicans. what's to stop chose a good future. sorry bruce let me just put
a question to charles we'll come back to you and second what's to stop a future democratic president using emergency powers or a state of emergency to take action on climate change on gun control doesn't this set a dangerous precedent for donald trump. well i think this legislation is is dangerous and apparently i mean i think that there's a lot of conservatives who are making the case you know clearly that they don't agree with the president's use of this law to take this type of action and clearly you know just as mentioned before congress can change its mind if they want to repeal this law they absolutely have the right to and i would invite a full review of again the executive branch versus the constitutional branch of our government the legislative you know i think that this law has been used entirely too many times in the past it probably does need to be reviewed and that there is a constitutional responsibility over the power of the purse but at the end of the
day this law this this this law exists it is in force now it has been used it is going to be continued it is being used by president trump to address what he considers a national security crisis democrats refuse to deal with this in good faith president trump reopen the government sign the legislation to get people back to work democrats don't care about the issues they just care about donald trump and at the end of the day this has nothing to do with national security this is democrats grandstanding because they know that they have a bit of power now and in this situation i think a review going forward of this law is probably quite justified and i would invite democrats and republicans to limit the overreach by the executive branch going forward but that's legislation that would have to be taken up in congress debated and passed and that doesn't solve the crisis that we're dealing with now bruce what you make of that the democrats don't care about about the issues they care about total trust well they do and i am not denying that all washington is is politics
here there are all tier motives even if they may coincide with the public good from time to time but remember here we have a situation where mitch mcconnell the majority leader republican in the senate advised the president not to go forward so there are conservative republicans who are very worried about this exercise of a presidential limit. authority secondly there is a law the national emergencies act itself one thousand nine hundred seventy six provides expedited parliamentary treatment of resolutions and the house and the senate to disapprove a declaration of national emergency and i expect we will get votes out of the house and senate doing that the president may veto that and then we'll have an override issue but the last thing with regard to the claim of national emergency powers here president george w. bush confronted a similar kind of issue and in two thousand and six a congress passed the fence at the appropriated money to build some physical
barriers and it but they utilized the immigration laws it wasn't that it wasn't a a national security issue where the military is brought out and i believe under the anti deficiency act if the president knowingly spends money for a purpose not appropriated by congress that is a crime now because he's a sitting president mr muller probably couldn't prosecute him but it certainly could be an impeachable offense secondly under the posse comitatus act in so far as the military is being used to address in force one of the immigration laws which by a large are civil violations you get deported that also could be a criminal violation of use of the military for an improper purpose so mr trump is skating very close to the edge here and taking what i believe is the reckless decision not because i do believe he thinks it's going to work it simply as was pointed out earlier because he wants to placate the vocal conservatives like john mr hannity and ann coulter for twenty twenty i don't even believe he cares whether
he wins or loses in the court he just wants to rally his troops just how much of the public doesn't appear to be with the president a recent c.n.n. poll found that sixty five percent of americans on average oppose the president's national emergency he says he's fulfilling election promise but if you press ahead with only thirty two percent support for this national emergency that could have been in twenty twenty couldn't it is this just think a sign of weakness on president trumps public. i absolutely think it's a sign of weakness i think that there are two concurrent political dilemmas facing the president one is how does he make sure that republicans who are facing republican primaries want to be seen as supporting the president and that's the base strategy that is the routine dominance within the republican party and this seems to be a move in that front this means that if you thirty two percent probably reflects eighty or ninety percent of people who would vote in
a republican primary which is unfortunate but that means that it's going to be somewhat difficult for principled conservative republicans in the u.s. senate and the house to oppose donald trump i think many of them will do so on this matter but it is definitely going to be difficult for them but it does undermine the other political challenge for president trump which is actually winning reelection in two thousand and twenty so i think why he is prioritizing his base why he wants to make the thirty percent very happy with him is that he is facing challenges between now and fall of two thousand and twenty and he'll deal the fall of two thousand and twenty in the fall of two thousand and twenty he wants to make sure that his dominance of the republican party is secure between now and then and i think that issues including the moller investigation as well as just democratic investigations in the house of representatives must be making him very afraid and so his view is to double down on his control of the republican party so that even if democrats move very aggressively against him even if robert muller moves very
aggressively against him so that he can count on a consolidated republican base behind him so that republicans will not join democrats in opposing to come over issues like mahler shows with an eye on twenty twenty i could do the wall over a longer period of time the president said in the rose go on friday i didn't need to do this but i'd rather do it much so by his own admission this isn't an emergency he's just frustrated that impatient all those old cuff remarks going to come back and hold him both politically in twenty twenty and legally. i just want to go back to what you just said about frustrated and impatient the people who are frustrated or impatient are the american people democrats and republicans have been kicking the can down the road for decades with immigration reform president obama completely left office without dealing with comprehensive immigration reform even the republican congress in the last session did not effectively deal with
comprehensive immigration reform chuck schumer if we don't forget shut down the government over immigration issues what's really coming back to roost here is president trump is is going to address this issue and is taking it head on in a way that has not been seen by any leadership of the democratic or republican party within recent history president trump knows that he's taking a risk just as they took a risk by shutting the government down the first time over this issue his polling numbers were at fifty two percent just a couple of days ago why there are not you agree or disagree with the president the united states on the action he's taken concerning this executive action and declaring an emergency president trump is bringing very closely the issue that we have a broken immigration system in america and democrats are just playing ball with it for a political issue or with their left we're almost out of time bruce if you could wrap it up for us the president is showing leadership here well our system isn't based upon limitless power in the executive one of the virtues of the united states constitution is we have checks and balances and if you can't get
a consensus out of congress the constitutional legal thing to do is nothing until you do get that consensus it isn't well we can't get something to happen so we'll just violate the rules and that is the greatest danger of all here the president says oh we have logjam in the congress i'll just do it on my own no you got to get a better argument and convince congress because otherwise the whole constitutional system collapses i have a phone in johnson obama said the same thing i have a photo of a phone in a pen barack obama said the same thing and no he was all wrong and mr obama was wrong then. mr barlow is wrong then any mr trump is equally wrong ok gentlemen there we must end it many thanks indeed for being with us charles moran jeff house bruce fein and as always thank you for watching the program don't forget you can see it again at any time just by going to the website at al-jazeera dot com for further discussion join us at our facebook page at facebook dot com forward slash a.j. inside story and you can also join the conversation on twitter handle at a.j.
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