Trump claims border wall is under construction 'right now' using fence repair footage from 5 months ago

news

With a legal fight challenge mounting from state governments over the Trump administration's use of a national emergency to construct at the U.S.-Mexico border, the president has kicked his push for the barrier into high gear.

On Wednesday, President Trump tweeted a time-lapse video of wall construction in New Mexico; the next day, he proclaimed that "THE WALL IS UNDER CONSTRUCTION RIGHT NOW"

But there's a big problem: The footage, which was filmed more than five months ago on Sep. 18, 2018, isn't really new wall construction at all, and certainly not part of the ongoing construction of "the wall" that Trump has been haggling with Congress over.


"It's a replacement project," Mike Petersen, public affairs director for the Army Corps of Engineers' South Pacific Division, told Task & Purpose. "I was in the division 12 years ago and we were doing border wall replacement work back then."

The footage shows work on the Santa Theresa Project Border Wall Replacement Project, a push to upgrade a 20-mile stretch of pre-existing vehicle barriers to bollard-style fence, Peterson told Task & Purpose.

Trump did get some details right: Construction began April 9, 2018, and ended on January 30, well ahead of the estimated 390 days Customs and Border Patrol anticipated when construction first began last year.

But even though the $73.3 million project was initiated under Executive Order 13767 on border security that Trump signed almost immediately after taking office in January 2017, the USACE Santa Theresa footage does not show ongoing construction, USACE officials said.

"The fence segment was constructed and funded under the authorities of DHS/CBP with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers providing contracting/oversight for the construction through our interagency support mission," USACE HQ spokeswoman Raini Brunson told Task & Purpose. "The video, which was filmed in Sept. 2018, has the USACE logo on it because it was produced by USACE."

The Army Corps of Engineers has overseen CBP wall replacement projects including some 124 miles of replacement barriers authorized since Trump took office. As of January, a New York Times analysis indicated that not a single mile of new border wall has been erected along the U.S.-Mexico border wall.

But the way Trump presented the footage on Twitter rankled officials within USACE given that the work shown essentially constituted pre-approved repair work, a separate source told Task & Purpose on condition of anonymity, indicating that the president was passing off maintenance as new wall construction.

The Army Corps of Engineers could not immediately confirm where the request for the footage originated, and how exactly it ended up on the president's Twitter feed.

SEE ALSO: Trump: $6.1 Billion In Pentagon Money Going To Border Wall Wasn't For Anything That Seemed 'Too Important To Me'

WATCH NEXT: A Border Wall Time-Lapse

Construction crews staged material needed for the Santa Teresa Border Wall Replacement project near the Santa Teresa Port of Entry. (U.S. Customs and Border Patrol/Mani Albrecht)

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.

Read More Show Less
(Associated Press photo)

(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.

Read More Show Less
(U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Brian M. Wilbur.)

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."

Read More Show Less

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.

Read More Show Less
(U.S. Marine Corps/Staff Sgt. Oscar L Olive IV)

Editor's Note: This article by Gina Harkins originally appeared on Military.com, a leading source of news for the military and veteran community.

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.

Read More Show Less