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Politics Defense secretary defends his assent to Trump diversion of military funds to border wall

00:30  15 february  2020
00:30  15 february  2020 Source:   marketwatch.com

ACLU to ask federal court to block Trump's border wall funding transfers

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U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper on Friday defended his decision to divert billions of dollars in funding for Navy and Air Force aircraft and other military programs to help pay for President Donald Trump 's promised wall on the U.S.-Mexico border . Esper was asked by a reporter about criticism

U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper is defending his decision to divert billions of dollars from the Pentagon budget to help build President Donald Trump 's long-promised wall on the U.S.-Mexico border .

MUNICH, Germany — U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper on Friday defended his decision to divert billions of dollars in funding for Navy and Air Force aircraft and other military programs to help pay for President Donald Trump’s promised wall on the U.S.-Mexico border.

a man wearing a suit and tie: Secretary of Defense Mark Esper speaks during a Friday press conference at the Munich Security Conference in Germany.© Associated Press Secretary of Defense Mark Esper speaks during a Friday press conference at the Munich Security Conference in Germany.

Esper was asked by a reporter about criticism from Democrats and Republicans in Congress, including Rep. Mac Thornberry, a Republican from Texas, who called the diversion of funds contrary to the constitutional authority of Congress.

Lawmakers push back at Trump's Pentagon funding grab for wall

  Lawmakers push back at Trump's Pentagon funding grab for wall Lawmakers are calling out the Trump administration over its latest plan to shift billions of dollars meant for the Pentagon's budget to instead pay for border wall construction. © Getty Images Lawmakers push back at Trump's Pentagon funding grab for wall The top Democrat and Republican on the House Armed Services Committee are among the numerous lawmakers that last week pushed back on President Trump's move to divert $3.8 billion from various weapons programs into its counter-drug fund to be used to build his signature project.

MUNICH, Germany (AP) — U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper on Friday defended his decision to divert billions of dollars in funding for Navy and Air Force aircraft and other military programs to help pay for President Donald Trump 's promised wall on the U.S.-Mexicorn border . Esper was asked by a

Pentagon approves diversion of military construction funds for Trump 's border wall . Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper on Tuesday determined that 11 border barrier projects proposed by On the campaign trail, Trump regularly said Mexico would pay for his planned wall along the southern border .

“Border security is national security,” Esper said, “and national security is our mission.”

He added, “The action we took is legal under the law, and so it should be no surprise, and I’ll just leave it at that for now.”

Esper spoke on the sidelines of an international security conference in Munich.

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The Pentagon announced on Thursday that Esper approved shifting $3.8 billion in funds that Congress had previously authorized for F-35 fighter aircraft and other military programs. The money is being diverted to help the Department of Homeland Security build portions of the border wall. The Pentagon indicated that more such actions could be coming to provide additional funding for Trump’s signature campaign promise.

Pentagon to shift money for fighter planes, ships toward border wall

  Pentagon to shift money for fighter planes, ships toward border wall The shift in funding marks a new phase for the administration, which until now had used money set for military construction and counterdrug operations and not combat equipment. The fiscal 2020 money will be moved into drug interdiction accounts that the Pentagon tapped last year to fund border barrier projects.Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-Calif.), the chair of the House Appropriations Homeland Security Subcommittee, said the move doesn’t make sense, given the amount of money already flowing to the wall and the president’s request for just $2 billion next fiscal year.“They’re flush with money,” she said on Thursday.

Defense Secretary Mark Esper defended his decision Friday to divert billions of dollars in funding for military programs for Trump 's border wall . The money is being diverted to help the Department of Homeland Security build portions of the border wall . The Pentagon indicated that more such actions

MUNICH, Germany — U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper on Friday defended his decision to divert billions of dollars in funding for Navy and Air Force aircraft and other military programs to help pay for President Donald Trump 's promised wall on the U.S.-Mexico border . Esper was asked by a reporter

The action drew sharp rebukes from Democrats as well as Republicans.

“Today’s reprogramming request confirms once again that the President is obsessed with fulfilling a campaign promise at the expense of our national security,” Rep. Adam Smith of Washington, the Democratic chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, said in a statement. “This administration has already stolen billions from the Department of Defense in order to begin building the president’s vanity wall and today they are doubling down on bad policy.”

Last year, despite congressional opposition, Trump faced no consequences when making similar transfers by cancelling or postponing dozens of military construction projects to free up $3.6 billion.

In reaction to Thursday’s Pentagon announcement, Thornberry, the top Republican on the committee and a supporter of wall construction, said that while the administration’s constitutional role is to recommend how tax dollars are spent, final choices are made by Congress.

“Once those choices have been made, the Department of Defense cannot change them in pursuit of their own priorities without the approval of Congress,” he said. “Attempts to do so undermines the principle of civilian control of the military and is in violation of the separation of powers within the Constitution. The re-programming announced today is contrary to Congress’ constitutional authority, and I believe that it requires Congress to take action.”

Trump, while campaigning for the Republican presidential nomination in 2016, repeatedly promised that Mexico would pay for the wall, but Mexico refused.

Amazon seeks to depose Trump about $10 billion Pentagon contract .
Amazon Web Services said on Monday it is seeking to depose President Donald Trump and Defense Secretary Mark Esper in its lawsuit over whether the president was trying "to screw Amazon" when it awarded a Pentagon contract for cloud computing to rival Microsoft. The Amazon unit alleges that Trump, who has publicly derided Amazon head Jeff Bezos and repeatedly criticized the company, exerted undue influence on the decision to deny it the $10 billion contract.

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