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CALIFORNIA LEADS 15 OTHER STATE TO SUE PRESIDENT TRUMP

A coalition of 16 US states led by California is suing President Donald Trump’s administration over his decision to declare an emergency to raise funds for a Mexican border wall.

Mr Trump made the declaration on Friday to bypass Congress after it refused to approve $5.7bn (£4.4bn) for the wall.

The states say they want to block his “misuse of presidential power”.

The Democrats oppose funding Mr Trump’s barrier, a key campaign pledge, and have vowed to contest his plan.

The president’s announcement came after he signed a spending bill to avoid another government shutdown that granted him only $1.375bn for new border barriers.

Mr Trump said he had not needed to declare the emergency but had done so in the hope of obtaining the funds for the wall more quickly. Analysts say these comments could undermine his legal arguments.

The lawsuit filed on Monday seeks to block Mr Trump acting on his emergency declaration to build the wall, saying the president does not have the power to divert funds approved by Congress to pay for his project.

“We’re suing President Trump to stop him from unilaterally robbing taxpayer funds lawfully set aside by Congress for the people of our states. For most of us, the office of the presidency is not a place for theatre,” California Attorney General Xavier Becerra said.

Joining California in the lawsuit were Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Virginia and Michigan.

The states – all of them but Maryland governed by Democrats – say the lawsuit aims to protect their residents, natural resources and economic interests. They argue that Mr Trump’s order to divert funds would cost them millions of dollars.

The White House has not commented on the lawsuit, filed in the court for the Northern District of California.

California Governor Gavin Newsom dismissed the president’s decision as “political theatre” while New York state’s Democratic Attorney General Letitia James promised to “fight back with every legal tool at our disposal”.

The president said the emergency would allow him to get almost $8bn for the wall, still considerably short of the estimated $23bn cost of the barrier along almost 2,000 miles (3,200km) of border.

Mr Trump accepted that he would be sued for the move, and predicted that the case was likely to end up in the Supreme Court.

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