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US judge deals blow to Trump’s border wall plans in sharply worded ruling

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A US federal judge dealt a blow Friday to President Donald Trump’s signature wall project, issuing a temporary injunction against using Defense Department funds to pay for barriers on the border with Mexico.

Trump declared an emergency in a bid to bypass Congress to obtain money for border wall construction after a standoff over funding for the project led to the longest government shutdown in US history.

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About 20 states, including Democratic strongholds New York and California, along with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), environmental groups and border communities are involved in suits that claim the emergency declaration violates the constitution.

Trump administration officials “are enjoined from taking any action to construct a border barrier in the areas defendants have identified as Yuma Sector Project 1 and El Paso Sector Project 1 using funds reprogrammed by DoD,” Judge Haywood Gilliam ordered, referring to the Department of Defense.

Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan approved the diversion of funds from the department’s counter-narcotics budget for ultimate use in the construction of barriers in those areas — a move that was in turn funded by the diversion of $1 billion from army personnel funds, according to Gilliam’s order.

The judge granted the preliminary injunction because plaintiffs are likely to show that Trump administration officials “exceeded their statutory authority, and that irreparable harm will result from those actions.”

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– ‘Unlawful power grabs’ –

“Congress’s ‘absolute’ control over federal expenditures — even when that control may frustrate the desires of the Executive Branch regarding initiatives it views as important — is not a bug in our constitutional system,” Gilliam wrote.

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“It is a feature of that system, and an essential one.”

The case — which was brought by plaintiffs including the Sierra Club environmental group — names Trump as well as Shanahan, acting Secretary of Homeland Security Kevin McAleenan and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin as defendants.

“We applaud the court’s decision to protect our Constitution, communities, and the environment today,” Sierra Club managing attorney Gloria Smith said in a statement.

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“We’ve seen the damage that the ever-expanding border wall has inflicted on communities and the environment for decades. Walls divide neighborhoods, worsen dangerous flooding, destroy lands and wildlife, and waste resources that should instead be used on the infrastructure these communities truly need,” Smith said.

“Yet again, the American people have had to look to our courts for a check on President Trump’s unlawful power grabs.”

Trump made the construction of a wall to stem illegal immigration from Latin America central to his successful 2016 campaign for the presidency.

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But despite saying Mexico would pay for the barrier, he has had to ask Congress for money to make the project happen, and the tug-of-war over funding for the barrier caused a record 35-day federal government shutdown beginning on December 22, 2018.

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Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

We need your support to keep producing quality journalism and deepen our investigative reporting. Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Invest with us in the future. Make a one-time contribution to Raw Story Investigates, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you.



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‘They love the meanest parts of him’: Conservative writer explains why evangelical Christians stick with Trump

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Ben Howe, a conservative writer and evangelical Christian who refuses to support Donald Trump, explained why fellow evangelicals continue to back the president despite his decidedly ungodly behavior.

Speaking with the Atlantic’s Emma Green about his new book The Immoral Majority, Howe — whose evangelical bona fides include attending pastor Jerry Falwell’s church as a kid — described evangelicals’ support for Trump, insisting “they love the meanest parts of him.”

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‘Mental midget’ Stephen Miller absolutely demolished in MSNBC blast at Trump’s ‘misfit’ advisers

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Given the opportunity to discuss two profiles on White House adviser Stephen Miller -- published by the Washington Post and the New York Times late Saturday -- Democratic consultant Don Calloway jumped in with both feet to trash the man he called a "mental midget"."

Asked p on MSNBC about the controversial Miller's outsized influence on Donald Trump, Calloway didn't hold back.

"What goes through your head when you hear how much influence Stephen Miller has on immigration policy?" host Alex Witt asked.

"Stephen Miller is a mental midget, that's the best thing I can say," Calloway began to the sounds of laughter offscreen.

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Black woman reveals how Trump is ruining her marriage: ‘My white Republican husband is starting to hate me’

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A black woman revealed over the weekend how President Donald Trump and right-wing media are straining her marriage.

In a Twitter rant on Saturday, a woman going by the name Glass Butterfly hit a nerve by starting a discussion about the challenges of interracial marriage in the age of Trump.

"My white Republican husband is starting to hate me because the longer we live through this administration the 'BLACKER' I become," she revealed. "Any interracially and opposing politically affiliated couples going through this? Like...I have NO idea how to balance who we are..or are becoming."

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