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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
BANGKOK (Reuters) - The United States and South Korea said on Sunday they will postpone upcoming military drills in an effort to bolster a stalled peace push with North Korea, even as Washington denied the move amounted to another concession to Pyongyang.
The drills, known as the Combined Flying Training Event, would have simulated air combat scenarios and involved an undisclosed number of warplanes from both the United States and South Korea.
An opening ceremony will be held Monday on Hawaii island for a military exercise with China that will involve about 100 People's Liberation Army soldiers training alongside U.S. Army counterparts.
This comes after Adm. Phil Davidson, head of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, spoke on Veterans Day at Punchbowl cemetery about the "rules-based international order" that followed U.S. victory in the Pacific in World War II, and China's attempts to usurp it.
Those American standards "are even more important today," Davidson said, "as malicious actors like the Communist Party of China seek to redefine the international order through corruption, malign cyber activities, intellectual property theft, restriction of individual liberties, military coercion and the direct attempts to override other nations' sovereignty."
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump on Sunday told North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to "act quickly" to reach a deal with the United States, in a tweet weighing in on North Korea's criticism of his political rival former Vice President Joe Biden.
Trump, who has met Kim three times since 2018 over ending the North's missile and nuclear programs, addressed Kim directly, referring to the one-party state's ruler as "Mr. Chairman".
In his tweet, Trump told Kim, "You should act quickly, get the deal done," and hinted at a further meeting, signing off "See you soon!"
It is impossible to tune out news about the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump now that the hearings have become public. And this means that cable news networks and Congress are happier than pigs in manure: this story will dominate the news for the foreseeable future unless Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt get back together.
But the wall-to-wall coverage of impeachment mania has also created a news desert. To those of you who would rather emigrate to North Korea than watch one more lawmaker grandstand for the cameras, I humbly offer you an oasis of news that has absolutely nothing to do with Washington intrigue.
MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia will return three captured naval ships to Ukraine on Monday and is moving them to a handover location agreed with Kiev, Crimea's border guard service was cited as saying by Russian news agencies on Sunday.
A Reuters reporter in Crimea, which Russian annexed from Ukraine in 2014, earlier on Sunday saw coastguard boats pulling the three vessels through the Kerch Strait toward the Black Sea where they could potentially be handed over to Ukraine.