We’ve learned that on January 10, CREW (Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington) submitted an FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) request after Trump began threatening that he’d declare a national emergency as an attempt to collect additional border wall funds if Congress failed to meet his demands of $5.6 billion. Now they’re suing the Department of Justice.
In a statement made by CREW’s Executive Director, Noel Bookbinder, he said, in part:
‘Americans deserve to know the true basis for President Trump’s unprecedented decision to enact emergency powers to pay for a border wall.
‘We’re suing because the government has so far failed to produce the requested documents or provide an explanation for their delay.’
The watchdog group is now suing the Department of Justice for failing to respond and supply the watchdog group with documents regarding the Trump administration’s declaration of a national emergency. You can view the full filing here. You can read the press release statement here.
‘The Justice Department’s inadequate response raises major questions about whether even the president’s own administration believes there is a legal basis for him to bypass the constitutional authority granted to Congress to appropriate funds.’
In the original request, which has since been ignored with no action taken by the DOJ, CREW stated that it was interested in the documentation because of “significant media interest in the matter, and the urgency that the public be assured of the government’s integrity in addressing the situation.”
The Office of Legal Counsel denied the request for expedition on Tuesday, February 12.
This comes just after Trump officially declaring a national emergency today. Later in the day, the White House stated that will appropriate up to $8.1 billion, which includes over $6 billion from the Pentagon. However, per reports from Foreign Policy, Trump may be able to tap into upwards of $22 billion now that he’s signing the national emergency. Furthermore, the White House stated that now that money could be used, thanks to the emergency being declared.
In a statement, prominent Democrats Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer said:
‘This is plainly a power grab by a disappointed President, who has gone outside the bounds of the law to try to get what he failed to achieve in the constitutional legislative process.’
Featured image via YouTube screenshot.