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Report: Trump Willing to Break the Rules to Build Border Wall
Sources familiar with the Trump administration's work on the border wall told the Washington Post that the president has promised pardons for potential wrongdoing in the effort of completing the project by Election Day.
Nick Miroff and Josh Dawsey report:
President Trump is so eager to complete hundreds of miles of border fence ahead of the 2020 presidential election that he has directed aides to fast-track billions of dollars’ worth of construction contracts, aggressively seize private land and disregard environmental rules, according to current and former officials involved with the project.
He also has told worried subordinates that he will pardon them of any potential wrongdoing should they have to break laws to get the barriers built quickly, those officials said.
Progress on the border wall has been too slow for President Trump, who has promised to complete 500 miles of the wall by Election Day in 2020. There's a long way to go to meet that goal. "[T]he U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has completed just about 60 miles of 'replacement' barrier during the first 2½ years of Trump’s presidency, all of it in areas that previously had border infrastructure," according to the article.
The article includes statements from Deputy White House Press Secretary Hogan Gidley, who explains the news as an example of Trump joking about the pardons, and working aggressively to protect the country with stronger borders. The project could soon get an infusion of cash: "Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper is expected to approve a White House request to divert $3.6 billion in Pentagon funds to the barrier project in coming weeks, money that Trump sought after lawmakers refused to allocate $5 billion."