Donald Trump's declaration of national emergency hit with first lawsuits

President Donald Trump on Friday declared a national emergency in an attempt to circumvent Congress to redirect taxpayer money to fund hundreds of miles of barriers along the U.S. -Mexico border.

One of the President's top policy advisers, Stephen Miller, on Sunday indicated that Trump would cast the first veto of his presidency to defend the highly contentious declaration if lawmakers seek to terminate it.

The American Civil Liberties Union announced its intention to sue less than an hour after the White House released the text of Mr Trump's declaration that the "current situation at the southern border presents a border security and humanitarian crisis that threatens core national security interests and constitutes a national emergency".

But President Trump's declaration goes beyond previous emergencies in shifting money after Congress blocked his funding request for the wall, which will likely factor in legal challenges.

In his announcement, Trump explained his plans to divert funds from the Department of Defence military construction budget to building the wall.

And California's Attorney General Xavier Becerra promised to "definitely and imminently" launch a legal challenge to the emergency declaration, one of an expected flurry of suits against Trump's aggressive executive power move.

Several Republican senators are already indicating they could vote against Trump.

Wallace turned to Miller: "How does that justify a national emergency?"

Wallace asked Miller for examples of past presidents calling a national emergency to secure money they were denied previously by congress out of the 59 times a national has been declared previously.

The money in the spending bill Trump signed would finance just a quarter of the more than 200 miles (322 kilometers) of barrier he wanted this year.

Now, if this emergency is funded and gets upheld in court, President Trump could set a precedent that we don't want to see.

What is a declaration of a national emergency?

"We are prepared, we knew something like this might happen".

In declaring a national emergency, a president gains a number of powers, including the ability to freeze bank accounts, seize commodities, seize and control all communication, assign military forces, and limit travel, according to a 2007 Congressional Research Service Report.

On CNN, Senator Sherrod Brown of OH, a potential Democratic candidate for president in 2020, put it another way, referring to a familiar Trump promise from the campaign trail last time out. "A Democratic president can declare national emergencies as well", she warned.

Undaunted, Miller, who was the architect of Trump's effort to ban visitors to the United States from several predominantly Muslim countries, claimed voters would likely see "probably a couple hundred miles [of border wall built] ..." Chris Coons (D-Del.) said Congress should prevent the president from "getting around" the congressional process.

Beyond that, though, the law doesn't say what constitutes a national emergency or impose any other limits on the president.

Becerra said the emergency declaration was legally vulnerable.

A two-thirds vote by both the House and the Senate would be required to defeat a Trump veto.

The question of whether Trump's act was constitutional dominated the Sunday talk shows, administration figures and allies saying Trump was within his apportioned powers, Democrats saying otherwise.