Coulter: Signing this bill will *weaken* Trump's court case that there's a national emergency at the border

That’s a take, all right. I think there might be something to it.

I think there’s a pure separation-of-powers argument that signing the bill weakens his emergency case. An emergency logically involves a development that needs to be addressed immediately, before a slow-moving institution like the legislature can act. That’s why it’s always the executive, an individual actor, whom we rely on to address emergencies. The fact that Trump came to terms with Congress on an immigration package on the same day as his emergency decree, though, suggests that there’s no actual “emergency” in this case that requires him to act separately. He waited around while they negotiated. Congress could have appropriated the $5.7 billion he’s planning to take from the Pentagon in the new legislation. But it didn’t. If he declares an emergency simultaneously with the new compromise, he’s making it as clear as he possibly can via the timing that the emergency decree is nothing more than a mechanism by which to seize powers that Congress refused to grant him by law. It’s not an emergency, it’s a power grab.

Or, as a wise man once put it:

That’s not Coulter’s point, though. Remember, she’s argued that he has inherent authority as commander-in-chief to reprogram Pentagon money for the border in the name of national security. Her concern with the bill, I take it, is that it actually *softens* immigration enforcement in key ways — which of course the president should never let happen if we’re facing a true emergency. The most hair-raising provision is what Mickey Kaus has taken to calling a “Trafficker’s Amnesty.” Per Mark Krikorian:

[Under the bill] ICE cannot detain or remove anyone who has effectively any relationship with an “unaccompanied” minor — either because they’re sponsors, in the same household as sponsors, or even just “potential sponsors” (or in the household of potential sponsors!) of such a child.

There’s already a huge incentive to bring a child with you if you’re planning to infiltrate the border, because kids can’t be held more than 20 days, according to the Flores agreement, and we don’t separate parents from kids, so if you sneak across with a kid in tow, you’re released into the U.S.

The new provision would create an incentive for illegal aliens already here to order up kids from Central America as human shields against deportation.

Why would Trump sign that provision into law if he thinks illegal immigration is already at the “emergency” stage? Conceivably a judge would ask that question as part of an argument that, although Trump *might* in theory have the power to reprogram Pentagon money in the event of a true emergency, this ain’t a true emergency. There’s no need to wrestle with the separation-of-powers issues because his “emergency” is bogus on its face. He’d be better off in this scenario not signing the bill and citing the fact that it was weak on immigration enforcement as a key reason why in his defense to his emergency decree.

He hasn’t signed the bill yet as I write this at 7:20 ET. Maybe the last-minute pressure campaign by the likes of Coulter and Ingraham will convince him to tear it up and rely exclusively on an emergency declaration — although that’ll put him in the precarious position of facing a new shutdown for which he’ll be blamed and needing Nancy Pelosi’s help to avoid it. If only he hadn’t just spent a bunch of political capital on another pointless shutdown he might be able to weather one here. Oh well.

It’s almost a cinch, by the way, that there’ll be 51 votes in the Senate (as well as a majority in the House, of course) to try to rescind his emergency decree. Susan Collins already sounds like she’s a yes on that effort. He’ll veto that bill and it’s unlikely the Senate will override his veto, but it’ll be embarrassing to have majorities of both chambers against this idea. That also might come into play during the court battle — whatever else you want to say about this gambit, you won’t be able to say he had implied authority from Congress to do it. And judges won’t like that. In lieu of an exit question, via the Daily Beast, enjoy two clips of Shep Smith basically blaming Sean Hannity for egging Trump on to this outcome without explicitly naming Hannity, of course.