President Trump wouldn’t need to make an emergency declaration to have the Pentagon build at least some of his border wall, a top Defense Department official told Congress Tuesday, though he said no final decisions have been made.
Defense Undersecretary for Policy John Rood told Congress that under at least one provision of federal law, the Defense Department already has powers to build roads and fences on the border to block drug-smuggling corridors in support of homeland security.
And Mr. Rood assured Rep. Mo Brooks, Alabama Republican, it wouldn’t take an emergency declaration to trigger.
“No,” he told the congressman flatly, adding that they are prepared to follow through if Mr. Trump orders them. “If we judge it to be a lawful order, yes sir. And I assume it would be.”
Mr. Rood was testifying to the House Armed Services Committee, which called its first hearing under the new Democratic majority to examine the Trump administration’s commitment of troops to the border and to look ahead to future moves such as tapping the Pentagon for fence construction.
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