58 ex-national security officials rebuke Trump over emergency declaration

A group of former national security officials issued a joint letter Monday condemning President TrumpDonald John TrumpCould Donald Trump and Boris Johnson be this generation's Reagan-Thatcher? Merkel backs Democratic congresswomen over Trump How China's currency manipulation cheats America on trade MORE’s declaration of a national emergency to divert funds to build his wall on the southern border.

In the 13-page document, the former officials — including former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, former Director of National Intelligence James ClapperJames Robert ClapperA brief timeline of Trump's clashes with intelligence director Dan Coats New study suggests Trump's 2016 poll numbers rose after increased Russian troll farm tweets Trump raises 2020 stakes by elevating North Korea, China on agenda MORE, former Defense Secretary Chuck HagelCharles (Chuck) Timothy HagelTrump's pick for Pentagon chief wins allies on Capitol Hill Trump pick brings scrutiny to 'revolving door' between Pentagon, industry Overnight Defense: Senators plan 22 resolutions to block Saudi arms sale | Trump defends transgender military plan | Trump, lawmakers prep to mark D-Day anniversary MORE and former Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano — argue that the president’s declaration undermines the purpose of the national declaration and will ultimately damage the country's security.

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“We are aware of no emergency that remotely justifies such a step. The President’s actions are at odds with the overwhelming evidence in the public record, including the administration’s own data and estimates,” the letter reads.

And the former officials argue that Trump’s declaration has “further eroded his credibility with foreign leaders, both friend and foe.”

“Should a genuine foreign crisis erupt, this lack of credibility will materially weaken this administration’s ability to marshal allies to support the United States, and will embolden adversaries to oppose us,” they wrote.

The vast majority of the letter's signatories served during the Obama or Clinton administrations.

Many of the former officials who signed the letter and worked during Republican administrations have also been critical of Trump. For example, signatory John McLaughlin, who held the No. 2 spot at the CIA under former President George W. Bush, has publicly spoken out against the president.

Trump declared a national emergency after Congress passed a federal spending bill that did not include the $5.7 billion funding for a wall on the southern border that he had initially demanded.

His emergency declaration would divert other funds toward building a border wall.

The open letter was published one day before the House is set to vote on a resolution blocking the declaration.

The former officials, who also include former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice, ex-CIA Director Leon Panetta and former Secretary of State John KerryJohn Forbes KerryJohn Kerry: Pressley's story 'more American than any mantle this president could ever claim' Schumer to donate Epstein campaign contributions to groups fighting sexual violence Trump threatens Iran with increased sanctions after country exceeds uranium enrichment cap MORE, wrote that they support a president having the authority to mobilize resources in the case of a “genuine” national emergency.

“But under no plausible assessment of the evidence is there a national emergency today that entitles the President to tap into funds appropriated for other purposes to build a wall at the southern border,” they wrote.

They also argue that Trump’s directive will undermine national security and foreign policy.

“In the face of a nonexistent threat, redirecting funds for the construction of a wall along the southern border will undermine national security by needlessly pulling resources from Department of Defense programs that are responsible for keeping our troops and our country safe and running effectively,” the letter reads.

Trump has repeatedly clashed with the intelligence community since taking office and is considering ousting his handpicked director of national intelligence, Dan CoatsDaniel (Dan) Ray CoatsThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by JUUL Labs - Trump attack on progressive Dems draws sharp rebuke A brief timeline of Trump's clashes with intelligence director Dan Coats Chuck Todd on administration vacancies: 'Is this any way to run a government?' MORE.

The president most recently criticized intelligence officials after testimony they gave before the Senate last month conflicted with his own foreign policy goals, including the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Syria. But Trump appeared to back down after he said the officials told him the media mischaracterized their public testimony and open hearing.