Watchdog says it will probe Trump's efforts to get private land to build wall

Watchdog says it will probe Trump's efforts to get private land to build wall

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) told Senate Democrats it will probe the Trump administration’s efforts to use eminent domain to acquire land to build the border wall between the U.S. and Mexico.

“GAO accepts your request as work that is within the scope of its authority. At the current time we anticipate that staff with the required skills will be available to initiate an engagement in about three months,” Orice Williams Brown, the managing editor for congressional relations at GAO, wrote in a letter to Senate Democrats. 

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The GAO noted that they would check with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) watchdog to make sure they weren’t doubling up. 

Senate Democrats sent a letter to the GAO in August requesting the probe and asking for details on the policies of eminent domain, how much land has been acquired and the challenges to acquiring private land. 

Trump has argued that he needs to use eminent domain, which allows the government to seize private lands for public use, to build the wall. 

“You have to use eminent domain. ... If we had one person that wouldn’t sell us ... then we wouldn’t be able to build proper border security because we’d have that big opening,” Trump said earlier this year.