Despite the focus on the Ukraine quid pro quo scandal that is driving the impeachment proceedings against President Donald Trump, he and his team are still continuing with their other volatile projects, including the wall along the southern border. Now, federal Judge David Briones has delivered another ruling against the segment of Trump’s wall construction plans that includes taking $3.6 billion from military construction projects, which supplements $2.5 billion in additional military money that’s been allocated to wall construction under the excuse of counterdrug activity. Topping off the chaos Trump and the GOP are raining down — Briones has repeatedly cited none other than legislation that the GOP itself developed to limit presidential funding apportionment powers, which was specifically meant to target Barack Obama.
Most recently, the restrictions were again included in new legislation last February, when Republicans were in control of both houses of Congress. As an author for POLITICO quipped:
‘What goes around, in other words, comes around.’
The legislation was enacted in 2014, and in its first form, prohibited the president (meaning, at the time, Obama) from working “eliminate or reduce funding for any program, project, or activity as proposed in the President’s budget request” without Congressional approval. Eventually, Republicans added a prohibition against presidents increasing funding without Congressional approval as well. In other words, presidents were not to be allowed to request money, get that money approved, and then send the money elsewhere for a different project. But that is exactly what Trump is doing with the orders to use military construction funds for the wall.
Thus, this past week, Briones ordered an injunction against the government using any of that military construction money for the wall, although the Trump administration is expected to appeal. Still, he wrote:
‘Far from enjoining a unique or sole source of funding… this injunction merely stops the unlawful augment of the funds that were already appropriated for border wall funding. Granting a preliminary injunction would not ‘disservice the public interest.’.. To the contrary, because Defendants’ actions are unlawful and the people’s representatives –Congress — declined to augment the border wall budget as Defendants attempt, the public interest would be served by halting them.’
Plantiffs who brought the case against the military construction funds reallocation (including the city of El Paso itself, which has figured in the president’s lie-ridden arguments about border insecurity before) pointed to other arguments besides the GOP-enacted funding prohibition, but Briones largely stuck to the more straightforward explanation for his rulings against Trump.
As he explained it:
‘To resolve this case, the Court turns to one of the three golden rules of statutory construction ‘established from time immemorial’ that ‘a more specific statute will be given precedence over a more general one.’
And in this case, that more specific statute is the work of the people trying to get the southern border wall constructed.
It’s similar to what’s unfolding in Congress surrounding impeachment. Trump and his Republican allies committed demonstrable acts of abuse of power in trying to get dirt on Dems from Ukraine, and now they’re facing the consequences while trying to wish away the reality of their own actions.