GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham is warning fellow Republicans that they will either get behind Trump's ludicrous wall, or be crushed by it in 2020.
Senator Lindsey Graham, one of Donald Trump’s closest allies on Capitol Hill, warned his fellow Republicans to back the president if he declares an emergency to build a wall on the southern border.
"To every Republican, if you don’t stand behind this president, we’re not going to stand behind you, when it comes to the wall," Graham said in a speech in Greenville, South Carolina, of the political fight with Democrats over a border barrier. "This is the defining moment of his presidency. It’s not just about a wall, it’s about him being treated different than every other president."
Graham said he doesn’t expect Congress to come up with a deal that would provide money for a wall in spending negotiations to avert another government shutdown after Feb. 15. He said he fears a "war within the Republican Party over the wall."
"This is about more than a barrier. This is about us as a party," he said.
At this point, I firmly believe Graham's warning is coming out ahead of a Trump move to declare a national emergency and assume powers over Congress, and Graham is expecting full backing when Nancy Pelosi moves to put the GOP on record to vote for Trump's autocracy. Greg Sargent:
Senate Republicans appear to be in a panic about President Trump’s threat to declare a national emergency to realize his unquenchable fantasy of a big, beautiful wall on the southern border. Republicans are reportedly worried that such a move could divide them, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has delivered that warning to Trump in private conversations.
Republicans have good reason to be deeply nervous. Here’s why: According to one of the country’s leading experts on national emergencies, it appears that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) can trigger a process that could require the GOP-controlled Senate to hold a vote on such a declaration by Trump — which would put Senate Republicans in a horrible political position.
Trump reiterated his threat to declare a national emergency in an interview with CBS News that aired over the weekend. “I don’t take anything off the table,” Trump said, adding in a typically mangled construction that he still retains the “alternative” of “national emergency.”
But Pelosi has recourse against such a declaration — and if she exercises it, Senate Republicans may have to vote on where they stand on it.
Trump does have the power to declare such an emergency under the post-Watergate National Emergencies Act, which also requires him to identify which other specific statutedelegating emergency powers he’s invoking. Trump is expected to rely on one of several statutes that authorize military officials, in a presidentially declared emergency, to redirect funds for purposes that are either “essential to the national defense” or support “use of the armed forces.”
The Post reports that acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney has privately told Trump that a national emergency is “viable,” and officials at the Army Corps of Engineers are searching for ways to build the wall. This would be challenged in the courts, which would have to decide whether the statute Trump invoked actually does authorize this type of spending.
But Pelosi has a much more immediate way to challenge Trump’s declaration. Under the National Emergencies Act, or NEA, both chambers of Congress can pass a resolution terminating any presidentially declared national emergency.
And there's a very good chance that Pelosi wins both votes and cancels Trump's emergency declaration.
Now, that could be exactly what Trump wants. He can blame somebody else for the wall mess. But that risks alienating the GOP Senate support Trump will need to survive the Mueller report later this year.
Having said that, Lindsey Graham is absolutely behind Trump. It makes me wonder what Trump's leverage is...or Russia's.