University of Texas School of Law professor Steve Vladeck told CNN on Monday that President Donald Trump, like his predecessors, has always had the power to declare a national emergency, and said his shutdown was more borne of the president's desire for controversy rather than achieving any results.


Vladeck said that declaring an emergency would give the president "a series of standby statutory authorities" to bypass Congress, but questioned what effect that would have.

"Here's the catch. Those authorities certainly would allow the government to build some kind of barrier on government property," he said. "You still have to get all the private property and a majority of the property along the U.S.-Mexico border is, in fact, private property. It's not clear that would get him even remotely close to his goal."

"Of course, the irony here is if these authorities have been available to President Trump all along, then there was no need for the shutdown in the first place," Vladek added. "And it suggests that to the president this is really much more about the controversy than it is about the result."

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