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Trump can't divert military funds for wall, federal appeals court says

June 26, 2020. Summarized by summa-bot.

United State Border Patrol chief Rodney Scott gives President Donald Trump a tour of a section of the border wall, Tuesday, June 23, 2020, in San Luis, Ariz. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

The Trump administration doesn't have the authority to divert Pentagon funds to construct additional barriers on the US-Mexico border, a federal appeals court ruled Friday, days after President Donald Trump's visit to a section of the wall in Arizona.

(CNN)The Trump administration doesn't have the authority to divert Pentagon funds to construct additional barriers on the US-Mexico border, a federal appeals court ruled Friday, days after President Donald Trump's visit to a section of the wall in Arizona.

In a 2-1 ruling, the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals said that the transfer of $2. 5 billion circumvented Congress, which holds the authority to appropriate money.

The legal fight over Defense Department funds stems from Trump's national emergency declaration on the US-Mexico border last year.

While Friday's ruling is a win for the environmental groups and states challenging the use of military funds, a Supreme Court stay, issued last year that allows the funds to be used, remains in effect for the time being.

Three years into his presidency, Trump has faced a host of legal challenges over his border wall and his attempt to bolster the effort with additional funds from other government accounts.

The administration billed Trump's first 2020 trip to the border this week as a celebration of the completion of 200 miles of new wall system.

Last summer, the Supreme Court cleared the way for the Trump administration to use $2. 5 billion from the Pentagon to construct parts of a wall along the southwestern border.

The decision allowed the Defense Department money to be spent now while the court battle played out over whether the government had the authority to divert funds that were not appropriated for the wall.

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