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Key Democrat To Trump: No, The Military Isn't Going To Build Your Border Wall
A top Democrat in Congress has vowed that lawmakers will block any attempt by the Trump administration to use U.S. service members to build a wall along the southwestern border with Mexico.
“We can certainly put legislation in that says no Department of Defense money should go towards the wall – that would include using our soldiers as part of the effort to build the wall,” said Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.), who is likely to be the next chairman of the House Armed Services Committee.
Both Democrats and Republicans in Congress would oppose using U.S. troops or money from the Defense Department’s budget to build such a border wall, Smith told reporters at a Defense Writers Group breakfast on Wednesday.
Smith said he does not think the Pentagon’s proposed budget for fiscal 2020 includes border wall funding, but he is not sure because the budget has not been submitted to Congress yet.
“It’s a question that isn’t really worth asking because the president will send up his budget and we’ll see – and if there is wall funding in it, we’ll all flip out and say, ‘You can’t do that,’” Smith said.
President Trump tweeted on Tuesday that he may use the military to build a wall along the U.S./Mexico border of Democrats in Congress do not appropriate the estimated $5 billion needed to build the barrier.
So far, the president has not asked the Defense Department to build sections of the wall, but the military is allowed to build border barriers under certain circumstances, Army Lt. Col. Jamie Davis, a Pentagon spokesman, said on Tuesday.
Smith took aim at the president’s campaign promise that Mexico would build the border wall, noting that Trump now is threatening to shut down the government if taxpayers don’t foot the bill.
“Why in the name God are we shutting down the U.S. government because we won’t pay for it?” Smith said at Wednesday’s breakfast. “The president promised us that we wouldn’t have to. I want someone to ask him – preferable every second of every day from now until we get this resolved – why is he breaking his promise?”
More than 10 years ago, the U.S. government built a barrier along part of the southwestern border, but a lot of the property where the president wants to extend the wall either private property or it belongs to Native American tribes or the elevation is too high to build a wall there, Smith said.
While Smith agreed that border security is important, he argued that the main challenge facing civil authorities is from asylum seekers, not illegal immigrants.
“You don’t need to build more security because folks are not trying to sneak in,” he said. “They’re turning themselves in. I don’t deny there is a problem. There has been a significant increase in people seeking asylum, but the solution to that is not to harden the border. The solution to that is to hire more judges and expedite the process for how you get through it.”
NAVAL BASE SAN DIEGO — Three members of the defense team for Navy SEAL Chief Edward "Eddie" Gallagher were revealed on Wednesday to have close ties to the Trump administration amid reports the president is considering the veteran Navy SEAL for a pardon on Memorial Day.
President Donald Trump's personal attorney, Marc Mukasey, 51, and longtime Trump associate Bernard Kerik, 63, a former New York City police commissioner, have joined Gallagher's defense team in recent months, both men told Task & Purpose on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, in response to a question from a reporter after a motions hearing, lead defense attorney Tim Parlatore confirmed that he had previously represented Pete Hegseth, the conservative Fox News personality who has been privately lobbying Trump since January to pardon Gallagher, according to The Daily Beast.
(Reuters) - John Walker Lindh, the American captured in Afghanistan in 2001 fighting for the Taliban, was released early from federal prison on Thursday, the Washington Post reported, citing Lindh's lawyer.
Lindh, who was 20 years old when he was captured, left prison in Terre Haute, Indiana, on probation after serving 17 years of a 20-year sentence, the newspaper said.
Now 38, Lindh is among dozens of prisoners to be released over the next few years after being captured in Iraq and Afghanistan and convicted of terrorism-related crimes following the attacks on the United States by al Qaeda on Sept. 11, 2001.
Defense officials will brief President Donald Trump's national security team on a plan that involves sending 5,000 more troops to the Middle East to deter Iran, Task & Purpose has learned.
So far, no decisions have been made about whether to send the reinforcements to the region, unnamed U.S. officials told CNN's Barbara Starr.
"The military capabilities being discussed include sending additional ballistic missile defense systems, Tomahawk cruise missiles on submarines, and surface ships with land attack capabilities for striking at a long range," CNN reports. "Specific weapons systems and units have not been identified."
Dashcam video captures the moment a pilot ejected before his F-16 fighter jet slammed into a California warehouse
Dashcam footage from a freeway commuter shows the moment a pilot ejected from an F-16 military jet last week, releasing a parachute before the aircraft slammed into a Riverside County, California warehouse.
Several members of the Marine Corps' famous Silent Drill Platoon were kicked out of the service or punished by their command after someone reported witnessing them using a training rifle to strike someone.
Three Marines have been discharged in the last 60 days and two others lost a rank after the Naval Criminal Investigative Service began looking into hazing allegations inside the revered unit that performs at public events around the world.