Watchdog group sues DOJ for refusing to turn over documents supporting Trump’s “national emergency”
According to The Hill, watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) has filed a lawsuit against the Department of Justice because for failing to provide documents the group requested to prove that the Trump administration’s declaration of a national emergency to build his border wall was legitimate. CREW is requesting a court to force the DOJ comply with a FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) request that they submitted to the Office of Legal Counsel.
CREW director Noah Bookbinder released a statement to the press reading, “Americans deserve to know the true basis for President Trump’s unprecedented decision to enact emergency powers to pay for a border wall… We’re suing because the government has so far failed to produce the requested documents or provide an explanation for their delay.”
Bookbinder continued, “The Justice Department’s inadequate response raises major questions about whether even the president’s own administration believes there is a legal basis for him to bypass the constitutional authority granted to Congress to appropriate funds.”
CREW initially requested documents on January 10th, following Trump’s initial threat to declare a national emergency to get funding for his border wall if Congress would not agree to his demands. CREW requested an expedited review based on what it described as “significant media interest in the matter, and the urgency that the public be assured of the government’s integrity in addressing the situation.”
However, the Office of Legal Counsel denied this request on February 12th, followed by Trump officially declaring the state of emergency this past Friday. The administration has claimed that up to $8.1 billion, which includes $6 billion from the Pentagon, can now be used for the wall.
Democratic Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer released a joint statement calling this action a gross overstep: “This is plainly a power grab by a disappointed President, who has gone outside the bounds of the law to try to get what he failed to achieve in the constitutional legislative process.”