Ex-Security Officials Blast Trump Emergency Edict

In this Jan. 9, 2019 photo, a woman walks on the beach next to the border wall topped with razor wire in Tijuana, Mexico. A group of former U.S. national security officials released a statement Monday arguing there is no justification for President Donald Trump to use a national emergency declaration to fund a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull, File)

WASHINGTON (CN) – A group of 58 former national security officials issued a statement Monday saying there is no factual basis for President Donald Trump’s invocation of emergency powers to build a wall along the southern border, a day before the House of Representatives is expected to vote to terminate the declaration.

“We are aware of no emergency that remotely justifies such a step,” the document states. “The president’s actions are at odds with the overwhelming evidence in the public record, including the administration’s own data and estimates.”

The group of officials who issued the statement includes high-profile names like former Secretaries of State Madeleine Albright and John Kerry, former Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper.

Also signing onto the letter were former Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, former Obama administration National Security Adviser Susan Rice and former Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano.

Most of the 13 pages in the document are taken up listing the officials’ names and resumes, but it also includes several paragraphs reciting the reasons they oppose Trump’s declaration. The officials note illegal border crossings have reached their lowest level in decades and argue Trump has overstated the national security, public safety and humanitarian concerns the administration used to justify the declaration.

“We do not deny that our nation faces real immigration and national security challenges. But as the foregoing demonstrates, these challenges demand a thoughtful, evidence-based strategy, not a manufactured crisis that rests of falsehoods and fearmongering,” the document states.

The officials also say the emergency declaration will “undermine U.S. national security and foreign policy interests.”

The statement comes a day before the House is expected to vote to terminate Trump’s national emergency declaration, which the president made to shift money from military construction accounts to the construction of his long-promised border wall.

The vote to terminate the declaration is expected to pass the Democrat-controlled House, but faces a tougher test in the Senate. Because the resolution would need Trump’s signature, it would essentially need to pass by a veto-proof, two-thirds majority in order to terminate the declaration.

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