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Trump: $6.1 billion in DoD money going to border wall wasn’t for anything that seemed ‘too important to me’
President Donald Trump claims the $6.1 billion from the Defense Department's budget that he will now spend on his border wall was not going to be used for anything "important."
Trump announced on Friday that he was declaring a national emergency, allowing him to tap into military funding to help pay for barriers along the U.S.-Mexico border.
"We had certain funds that are being used at the discretion of generals, at the discretion of the military," Trump said during a White House press conference. "Some of them haven't been allocated yet, and some of the generals think that this is more important.
"I was speaking to a couple of them. They think this is far more important than what they were going to use it 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."
Of the money being reprogrammed from the Defense Department, $3.6 billion was meant to fund military construction projects and the remaining $2.5 billion comes from counter-narcotics funding, Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney told reporters.
None of the money comes from the Army Corps of Engineers' funding for hurricane reconstruction projects in Puerto Rico or Texas, Mulvaney said during a conference call before the president's speech.
It was not immediately clear which military construction projects would be affected by the president's move.
"We will be looking at lower priority military construction projects," a senior administration official said during the conference call. "We will be looking at ones that are to fix or repair particular facilities that might be to wait a couple of months into next year. We're going through a filter to ensure that nothing impacts lethality, readiness on the part of our military construction budget – which is a budget that is substantially larger than $3.6 billion."
The Defense Department will be reimbursed for the $6.1 billion in the fiscal 2020 budget, a senior administration official said. The money will go toward building 284 miles of barriers on the southwestern border.
Trump argued that the money being reprogrammed for the border wall represents a small fraction of the $700 billion and $716 billion that Congress appropriated for the Defense Department in fiscals 2018 and 2019 respectively.
The president added that his proposed fiscal 2020 National Defense Authorization Act, which should be presented to Congress in March, will be "pretty big too."
"When you think about the kind of numbers you're talking about – so you have $700 billion, $716 billion – when I need $2 billion, $3 billion out of that for a wall, which is a very important instrument – very important for the military, because of the drugs that pour in … when you have that kind of money going into the military, this is a very, very small amount that we're asking for."
WATCH NEXT: US-Mexico Border Wall Time-Lapse
‘Take what’s inside and get it outside’ — Air Force psychologist reminds airmen of mental health resources
Kirtland Air Force Base isn't much different from the world beyond its gates when it comes to dealing with mental illnesses, a base clinical psychologist says.
Maj. Benjamin Carter told the Journal the most frequent diagnosis on the base is an anxiety disorder.
"It's not a surprise, but I anticipate about anytime in the population in America, about 20% of the population has some form of diagnosable anxiety disorder, and it's no different in the military," he said.
Leading the way among the anxiety disorders, he said, were post-traumatic stress disorder "or something like panic disorder or generalized anxiety disorder."
The DNA of a niece and nephew, who never met their uncle, has helped identify the remains of the Kansas Marine who died in WWII.
The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency announced that 21-year-old U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Pfc. Raymond Warren was identified using DNA and circumstantial evidence. Warren had been buried in a cemetery in the Gilbert Islands, where he was killed when U.S. forces tried to take secure one of the islands from the Japanese.
The Battle of Tarawa lasted from Nov. 20 to Nov. 23, 1943, and claimed the lives of 1,021 U.S. marines and sailors, more than 3,000 Japanese soldiers and an estimated 1,000 Korean laborers before the U.S. troops seized control, the agency said.
Arizona lawmakers are vowing to fight a plan by the Air Force to start retiring some of the nation's fleet of A-10 Thunderbolt II ground-attack jets — a major operation at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base — as part of a plan to drop some older, legacy weapon systems to help pay for new programs.
U.S. Sen. Martha McSally, R-Ariz., a former A-10 pilot, and U.S. Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick, D-Ariz., both vowed to fight the move to retire 44 of the oldest A-10s starting this year.
During a press briefing last week, Air Force officials unveiled plans to start mothballing several older platforms, including retiring some A-10s even as it refits others with new wings.
MOSCOW/SEOUL (Reuters) - North Korea, whose leader Kim Jong Un was filmed riding through the snow on a white stallion last year, has spent tens of thousands of dollars on 12 purebred horses from Russia, according to Russian customs data.
Accompanied by senior North Korean figures, Kim took two well-publicized rides on the snowy slopes of the sacred Paektu Mountain in October and December.
State media heralded the jaunts as important displays of strength in the face of international pressure and the photos of Kim astride a galloping white steed were seen around the world.
North Korea has a long history of buying pricey horses from Russia and customs data first reported by Seoul-based NK News suggests that North Korea may have bolstered its herd in October.
ISLAMABAD (Reuters) - A high-profile local Taliban figure who announced and justified the 2012 attack on teenage Nobel laureate Malala Yousafzai has escaped detention, Pakistan's interior minister confirmed a few days after the militant announced his breakout on social media.
Former Pakistani Taliban spokesman Ehsanullah Ehsan, who claimed responsibility on behalf of his group for scores of Taliban attacks, proclaimed his escape on Twitter and then in an audio message sent to Pakistani media earlier this month.
The Pakistani military, which had kept Ehsan in detention for three years, has declined to comment but, asked by reporters about the report, Interior Minister Ijaz Shah, said: "That is correct, that is correct."
Shah, a retired brigadier general, added that "you will hear good news" in response to questions about whether there had been progress in hunting down Ehsan.