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Trump gets the green light to use $2.5 billion from the military's budget for the border wall
We've come a long way from "Mexico will pay for the wall!"
The Supreme Court gave the Trump administration the go-ahead on Friday in a 5-4 ruling to use $2.5 billion from the military's budget to help build the wall at the southern border.
The legal case that had tied the money up in court — which raises environmental concerns, among others — will continue, but the administration will be allowed to use the money in the meantime, per the New York Times. Trump filed an emergency request for the freeze to be lifted earlier this month.
The $2.5 billion will build "more than 100 miles (160 kilometers) of fencing," per the Associated Press, replacing barriers in New Mexico and Arizona. Around $600 million that will be used for the wall is coming out of a fund that is meant for Afghan security forces.
The Pentagon approved a transfer of $1 billion for the wall in March, and the other $1.5 billion in May, after Congress approved a fraction of the money the president had asked for, leading him to declare a national emergency in February.
Trump said in February that he spoke with "a couple" of generals who thought that using the money for the border wall "is far more important" than the projects it was originally meant for.
"I said, 'What are you going to use it for?' And I won't go into details, but it didn't sound too important to me," he said. The Pentagon gave Congress a lengthy-as-hell list in March of all of the construction projects that may or may not be defunded to pay for the wall.
The president's messaging on how the wall will be paid for has evolved over time:
- Trump said in September 2016 that Mexico "will pay for the wall — 100%!"
- In January 2017, Trump said "any money spent on building the Great Wall (for sake of speed), will be paid back by Mexico later!"
- In April: "Eventually, but at a later date so we can get started early, Mexico will be paying, in some form, for the badly needed border wall."
- He said in August that Mexico will pay for the wall "through reimbursement/other."
- In December 2018, Trump tweeted that Mexico was paying for the wall "through the many billions of dollars a year that the U.S.A. is saving through the new Trade Deal."
SEE NEXT: US troops are going to make Trump's wall look pretty with fresh paint on a month-long working party
WATCH ALSO: Border In A Nutshell
'What happens after that is out of their control' — Former military leaders and lawyers react to Trump's war crimes pardons
On Friday, President Donald Trump intervened in the cases of three U.S. service members accused of war crimes, granting pardons to two Army soldiers accused of murder in Afghanistan and restoring the rank of a Navy SEAL found guilty of wrongdoing in Iraq.
While the statements coming out of the Pentagon regarding Trump's actions have been understandably measured, comments from former military leaders and other knowledgable veterans help paint a picture as to why the president's Friday actions are so controversial.
Raccoon infestations and extreme rust didn’t stop an anonymous buyer from nabbing this Soviet-era submarine
A former Soviet submarine that became a tourist attraction docked adjacent to the Queen Mary in Long Beach is expected to be sold soon to an anonymous buyer, with plans to remove the rusting sub by mid-May.
The 48-year-old Russian Foxtrot-class submarine, known as the Scorpion, had hosted paying visitors for 17 years before it fell into such disrepair that it became infested with raccoons and was closed to the public in 2015.
Former Army 1st Lt. Clint Lorance, whom President Donald Trump recently pardoned of his 2013 murder conviction, claims he was nothing more than a pawn whom generals sacrificed for political expediency.
The infantry officer had been sentenced to 19 years in prison for ordering his soldiers to open fire on three unarmed Afghan men in 2012. Two of the men were killed.
During a Monday interview on Fox & Friends, Lorance accused his superiors of betraying him.
"A service member who knows that their commanders love them will go to the gates of hell for their country and knock them down," Lorance said. "I think that's extremely important. Anybody who is not part of the senior Pentagon brass will tell you the same thing."
"I think folks that start putting stars on their collar — anybody that has got to be confirmed by the Senate for a promotion — they are no longer a soldier, they are a politician," he continued. "And so I think they lose some of their values — and they certainly lose a lot of their respect from their subordinates — when they do what they did to me, which was throw me under the bus."
Fifteen years after the U.S. military toppled the regime of Saddam Hussein, the Army's massive two-volume study of the Iraq War closed with a sobering assessment of the campaign's outcome: With nearly 3,500 U.S. service members killed in action and trillions of dollars spent, "an emboldened and expansionist Iran appears to be the only victor.
Thanks to roughly 700 pages of newly-publicized secret Iranian intelligence cables, we now have a good idea as to why.
A U.S. Air Force combat controller will receive the nation's third highest award for valor this week for playing an essential role in two intense firefight missions against the Taliban in Afghanistan last year.
Tech. Sgt. Cody Smith, an airman with the 26th Special Tactics Squadron, 24th Special Operations Wing at Air Force Special Operations Command, will receive the Silver Star at Cannon Air Force Base, New Mexico on Nov. 22, the service announced Monday.