Ex-security officials: ‘No factual basis’ for Trump wall

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Media captionOther presidents got money for a border barrier – why not Trump?

Fifty-eight former US national security officials are set to rebuke President Donald Trump’s national emergency declaration to build a border wall.

Their joint statement will reportedly say “there is no factual basis” for an emergency at the US-Mexico border.

Former officials from both parties have signed the letter, including United Nations Ambassador Thomas Pickering and Secretary of State Madeleine Albright.

Mr Trump declared an emergency after Congress refused to pay for the wall.

“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,” the statement says, according to the Washington Post.

The officials also note that contrary to Mr Trump’s repeated claims of an illegal crossing “crisis” involving violent criminals and drugs, border crossings are at their lowest point in decades and most illicit substances cross through legal ports of entry.

Secretary of State John Kerry, Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel, CIA Director Leon Panetta and National Security Adviser Susan Rice from the Obama administration have reportedly signed the letter.

The 11-page statement comes a day ahead of a congressional vote to block the declaration – one Mr Trump has promised to veto.

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Media captionTrump: ‘I’ve signed the order – now we’ll be sued’

A coalition of 16 Democratic-led states are also suing Mr Trump’s administration over what they call his “misuse of presidential power” regarding the southern border wall.

On 15 February, after a record-long partial government shutdown, Mr Trump signed an emergency proclamation in order to obtain $8bn (£6bn) in funding for his border wall from military sources after Congress failed to approve his requested $5.7bn.

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