Sen. Dick Durbin: Trump Will Be Challenged If He Oversteps What the Law Requires

By Melanie Arter | January 7, 2019 | 10:42am EST
Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) (Screenshot)

( – Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) told CBS’s “Face the Nation” on Sunday that if President Donald Trump tries to use his emergency powers to build the border wall, “he’ll face challenge.”

When asked what he would do if Trump bypassed Congress on building the wall by declaring it a national emergency, Durbin said, “I can just tell you, I don't know what he's basing this on, but he's faced so many lawsuits when he ignores the law and ignores tradition and precedent and just goes forward without any concern, he'll face challenge, I'm sure, if he's oversteps what the law requires when it comes to his responsibilities as commander-in-chief.”

When asked if there were any points of agreement between the president and Democrats during the meeting Durbin attended on Friday at the White House, the senator said, “Well, of course, there was agreement to continue the conversation, but what we've said is open the government and let's have a fulsome debate and deliberation.”

“This gun in our head approach with closing down the government is the thing we most opposed, and we wish incidentally that the Republican Senate leader, Mitch McConnell, would step up and be part of this conversation,” Durbin said.

“He's going to stand on the sidelines and wait for instructions from the president. He is part of a branch of government and a leader in the Senate. He should be a participant in this conversation from the start. As of last night, three Republican senators have said they don't like this approach of shutting down the government, and they're talking about joining in a bipartisan effort to end it,” he said.

Durbin said Trump has changed his demands on the wall “from time to time, and he's changed the amount of money he is asking for dramatically from $ 2 billion to 5 $billion to 11 billion to $25 billion, even to $70 billion dollars.”


“And when we ask for specifics, how are you going to spend this money, what are you going to do with it? He basically says, well, shut down the government until you agree on it. That is not an approach that comes up with the safe border which Democrats certainly want,” he added.

“Have you seen the more specific financial request that the White House says they were giving to Democrats?" host Margaret Brennan asked.

“No,” Durbin said. “As a matter of fact, the meeting yesterday between Vice President Pence and the staff, they agreed that today they would produce it, finally produce documentation backing up what the president's latest demand might be.

“But Vice President Pence said at one point a few weeks ago, $2 billion will do it, 2.1, and then within a matter of hours, the president reversed and said, ‘No, it has to be 5.6.’ That's what we're up against. There doesn't seem to be a consistent message, and it doesn't seem to be a message consistent with border security,” he said.

“If we're talking about border security, the overwhelming number of undocumented people in the United States overstayed visas. They did not cross the border. The solution to that is not a concrete wall. It's a computer program that needs to track these people who have received the visas,” the senator added.

“And this wall, incidentally, when you have people coming to the border looking for a border official to present themselves and they make their claim for asylum or refugee status, this wall is no deterrent,” Durbin added.


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