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Which funding sources does Trump plan to use for wall money?

President Trump declared a national emergency Friday over immigration at the U.S.-Mexico border, so he can redirect billions of dollars to build additional sections of wall there. Trump plans to take roughly $6 billion from the Defense Department and millions from other sources. Judy Woodruff talks to Yamiche Alcindor about expected legal challenges and why the president's data is problematic.

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  • Judy Woodruff:

    The battle over security at the U.S. southern border is heading to the courts. It began today when President Trump proclaimed a national emergency. He said that clears the way for spending $8 billion on a southern border wall, much of it taken from military accounts.

    Mr. Trump said the government funding measure that he signed today came up short.

  • President Donald Trump:

    I went through Congress. I made a deal. I got almost $1.4 billion, when I wasn't supposed to get $1, not $1. He's not going to get $1. Well, I got $1.4 billion. But I'm not happy with it.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    Top Democrats in Washington denounced the president's move. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer called it — quote — "an unlawful declaration over a crisis that doesn't exist."

    The American Civil Liberties Union said that it will file suit, and several states said that they are likely to do the same.

    Our White House correspondent, Yamiche Alcindor, was in the Rose Garden for the announcement, and she joins me now.

    So, Yamiche, let's listen first to a little bit more of the president's explanation today.

  • President Donald Trump:

    I could do the wall over a longer period of time. I didn't need to do this, but I would rather do it much faster.

    We had certain funds that are being used at the discretion of generals, at the discretion of the military. Some of them haven't been allocated yet. And some of the generals think that this is more important.

    I was speaking to a couple of them. They think this is far more important than what they were going to use it for. I said, "What were you going to use it for?" And I won't go into details, but it didn't sound too important to me.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    So, Yamiche, hearing that, where exactly is the president pulling this from?

  • Yamiche Alcindor:

    Well, the president is saying that I know best how to use the military funds to keep Americans safe.

    So I want to walk you through where he's getting the $8 billion that he's going to initially be using to fund a wall on the southern border. He's going to be getting $1.375 billion from the congressional deal that Congress passed this week to avert a government shutdown. He's going to be getting $600 million from the Department of Treasury forfeiture fund.

    That's money that is gotten from seized and forfeited assets. It's also — he's also going to be getting $2.5 billion from the Department of Defense counterdrug activities. That's drug seizure money.

    He's also going to be using $3.6 billion from military construction money. And that's defense fund money. That's also from the Department of Defense. And all of this is to fund an initial 234 miles of wall on the southern border. The White House stressed today that this is just the beginning. They could ask for more money. They also wanted to make it very clear that none of this money is coming from disaster relief funds. There was some worry that there was going to be hurricane funds taken from Puerto Rico or Texas.

    That's not happening.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    This is 234, up from the 55 that was in the language.

    So, how does he justify this? What is his rationale for doing this?

  • Yamiche Alcindor:

    Well, the president is saying that this is really something that needs to happen and there is a crisis on the southern border, and that he understands it more than anyone else.

    So I want to play some sound of what he says he's using as his sourcing for this.

  • President Donald Trump:

    It's all a big lie. It's a big con game.

    I get my numbers from a lot of sources, like Homeland Security primarily, and the numbers that I have from Homeland Security are a disaster.

    And you know what else is a disaster? The numbers that come out of Homeland Security, Kirstjen, for the cost that we spend and the money that we lose because of illegal immigration, billions and billions of dollars a month.

  • Yamiche Alcindor:

    Now, the president's own data, the president's own administration collects statistics on these things, and they contradict the president's claims.

    I want to walk you through two things that the president said which we found to be false. The first is that the president said: "Take a look at our federal prison population. See how many of them percentage-wise are illegal aliens. Just see."

    According to the Bureau of Prisons, as of January 26, 2019, 80 percent of federal inmates were U.S. citizens, 19 percent were other nationalities. About 12 percent were Mexican — were Mexicans. But that doesn't mean that they're undocumented.

    I want to walk you through another fact. The president said: "We're declaring this," of course, being the national emergency, "to virtual — because of virtual invasion purposes, drugs, traffickers and gangs."

    The facts are no data shows undocumented immigrants commit more crimes. A study by the Cato Institute, which is an organization based in Washington, D.C., found that U.S. citizens are convicted at almost double the rate of undocumented immigrants in Texas. That was a study done in 2015.

    And, last, government data shows that the majority of drugs come through legal ports of entry. So the president here is making claims that just simply aren't true.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    And, finally, one of the things, Yamiche, the president was asked about how much he pays attention to, is influenced by conservative news media.

    What did he say about that?

  • Yamiche Alcindor:

    The president said that he doesn't — that conservative news media doesn't dictate White House policy.

    But he also very much praised a lot of people that are in the conservative media. Listen to what he had to say.

  • President Donald Trump:

    Sean Hannity has been a terrific, terrific supporter of what I do. Not of me. If I changed my views, he wouldn't be with me.

    Rush Limbaugh, I think he's a great guy. And he's got an audience that's fantastic.


  • Reporter (off-mike):

    decided policy, sir?

  • President Donald Trump:

    They don't decide policy. In fact, if I went opposite — I mean, they have somebody, Ann Coulter. I don't know her. I hardly know her. I haven't spoken to her in way over a year.

    Laura's been great, Laura Ingraham. Tucker Carlson's been great.

  • Yamiche Alcindor:

    Now, Ann Coulter said that the president shouldn't sign this deal, this congressional deal to avert a government shutdown.

    He did do that, so it's true that he didn't listen completely to what conservative media said. It's also important to note that the president said he's up for a legal challenge. Now, the House Judiciary Committee has already said it's launching an investigation into this.

    And Congress can either pass a resolution disapproving this or trying to stop a national emergency, or they can file a lawsuit, which is what you said the ACLU does. But the president said that he's ready to fight this all the way up to the Supreme Court and thinks he will win, Judy.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    And it looks like he is getting a fight.

  • Yamiche Alcindor:


  • Judy Woodruff:

    Yamiche Alcindor, thank you.

  • Yamiche Alcindor:


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