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Is Threat of Emergency Powers to Override Power of the Purse Impeachable?

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The Washington Post reports: “Trump administration lays groundwork to declare national emergency to build wall.”

FRANCIS BOYLE, fboyle at illinois.edu
Boyle is professor of international law at the University of Illinois College of Law. He was legal adviser to Rep. Henry B. González when he released classified material on the House floor in 1992 in an attempt to impeach George H. W. Bush following the start of the the Gulf War and wrote the first draft of the Gonzalez Impeachment Resolution. Bush would later write in his memoirs that if the Gulf War “drags out, not only will I take the blame, but I will probably have impeachment proceedings filed against me.”

Boyle said today: “While establishment Democrats are eyeing various legal challenges to the possibility that Trump will declare a national emergency to get around Congress not agreeing on as much funding for a border wall as he would like, the most direct remedy is impeachment. A Bill of Impeachment could consist of articles including for (1) violating Article 1, Section 7 of the United States Constitution: ‘All Bills for raising Revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives…’ (2) Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution: ‘No Money shall be drawn from the Treasury, but in Consequence of Appropriations made by Law…’ (3) It also violates the Federal Anti-Deficiency Statute. This could be initiated on Tuesday when the House reconvenes. All you need is one brave member of the House of Representatives to meaningfully assert that body’s Power of the Purse. Trump’s indications that he will override that legislative power and the seeming acquiescence by some Democrats is illegitimate and dangerous.”

RootsAction.org just released an alert: “Donald Trump has no Constitutional right to spend money that has been appropriated for something else … Click here to ask your Congress member to let Trump know that they will back impeachment if he declares a ‘national emergency.'” The group reports that 8,000 people have already done so.