House Dems sue Trump over national emergency declaration

The Democratic-controlled House on Friday filed a lawsuit against President TrumpDonald John TrumpFederal prosecutor speaks out, says Barr 'has brought shame' on Justice Dept. Former Pence aide: White House staffers discussed Trump refusing to leave office Progressive group buys domain name of Trump's No. 1 Supreme Court pick MORE alleging his declaration of a national emergency to build a border wall is unconstitutional, a move that shifts the political battle to the courts.

The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, claims the president violated Congress's constitutional authority over appropriations by diverting federal funds from other sources to construct a wall after Congress provided only $1.375 billion for border security.

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“The House is unaware of any other instance in American history where a President has declared a national emergency to obtain funding after failing to win Congressional approval for an appropriation,” the lawsuit reads.

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The lawsuit was filed the same day that Trump visited California to view a segment of the wall constructed on the U.S.-Mexico border.

Trump declared a national emergency in February to shift federal funds toward construction of the border wall after Congress refused to provide him with the amount he requested.

The initial standoff resulted in a 35-day partial government shutdown, the longest in U.S. history.

The complaint was filed one day after Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiDemocratic senator to party: 'A little message discipline wouldn't kill us' Overnight Health Care: New wave of COVID-19 cases builds in US | Florida to lift all coronavirus restrictions on restaurants, bars | Trump stirs questions with 0 drug coupon plan Overnight Defense: Appeals court revives House lawsuit against military funding for border wall | Dems push for limits on transferring military gear to police | Lawmakers ask for IG probe into Pentagon's use of COVID-19 funds MORE (D-Calif.) announced that the House would sue the president to block Trump's national emergency declaration to build a wall along the southern border.

“The Congress has a solemn responsibility to defend its exclusive constitutional responsibilities, and protect our system of checks and balances,” Pelosi said of the lawsuit in a statement Friday. “The very integrity of our democratic institutions are at stake. We will not let the President trample over the Constitution.”

The House Democrats are also targeting Treasury Secretary Steven Mnunchin, Acting Defense Secretary Patrick ShanahanPatrick Michael ShanahanHouse Armed Services chairman expresses confidence in Esper amid aircraft carrier coronavirus crisis Boeing pleads for bailout under weight of coronavirus, 737 fallout Esper's chief of staff to depart at end of January MORE, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen NielsenKirstjen Michele NielsenMore than million in DHS contracts awarded to firm of acting secretary's wife: report DHS IG won't investigate after watchdog said Wolf, Cuccinelli appointments violated law Appeals court sides with Trump over drawdown of immigrant protections MORE and Acting Interior Secretary David Bernhardt, as well as their respective departments.

The complaint argues that Trump lacks the authority under the National Emergencies Act to divert military funds toward the wall's construction.

The lawsuit also cites comments Trump made in declaring the national emergency that he “didn’t need to do this” and that he’s “already done a lot of wall, for the election — 2020.”

Attorney General William BarrBill BarrFederal prosecutor speaks out, says Barr 'has brought shame' on Justice Dept. Why a backdoor to encrypted data is detrimental to cybersecurity and data integrity FBI official who worked with Mueller raised doubts about Russia investigation MORE said at the time of Trump’s order that the president had the legal authority to declare the national emergency.

Immigration officials, including Nielsen, have also recently characterized the situation at the border as a crisis.

Updated 6:22 p.m.