House Dems sue Trump over national emergency declaration

The Democratic-controlled House on Friday filed a lawsuit against President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump's newest Russia adviser, Andrew Peek, leaves post: report Hawley expects McConnell's final impeachment resolution to give White House defense ability to motion to dismiss Trump rips New York City sea wall: 'Costly, foolish' and 'environmentally unfriendly idea' 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 PelosiREAD: House impeachment managers' trial brief Desperate Democrats badmouth economy even as it booms Pelosi offers message to Trump on Bill Maher show: 'You are impeached forever' 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 ShanahanEsper's chief of staff to depart at end of January Defense chief calls on European allies to be wary of China's investments, blasts Russia Pentagon chief approves 20 more miles of border wall MORE, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen NielsenKirstjen Michele NielsenActing DHS secretary says he expects Russia to attempt to interfere in 2020 elections House Homeland Security rip DHS's 'unacceptable' failure to comply with subpoena Trump puts Kushner in charge of overseeing border wall construction: report 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 BarrWilliam Pelham BarrDems plan marathon prep for Senate trial, wary of Trump trying to 'game' the process Pentagon to place new restrictions, monitoring on foreign military students Parnas: Environment around Trump 'like a cult' 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.