LAWTON, OK (TNN) - Oklahoma Senator James Lankford says he does not expect funds used to build a border wall to be taken from Altus Air Force Base.
Senator Lankford was in Elgin Friday to speak with students in a middle school class. After Lankford spent time with the students, he stuck around for an exclusive interview with 7NEWS.
At the heart of our nation's current issues is President Donald Trump's emergency declaration to build wall at the border. Thursday, the Senate voted to overrule the declaration, which President Trump vetoed on Friday. Lankford voted against overturning the declaration and sides with President Trump on the issue.
“The big challenge on an emergency declaration really boils down to two questions, is it an emergency we’re having at the border. We have record numbers of drugs moving across the borders right now, Fentanyl has gone up 269 percent in the last two years. We have huge immigration issues. What the president has requested is fencing in the ten highest drug trafficking corridors along the whole 2,000-mile-long border. It’s not a whole border barrier, it’s just on the ten highest drug trafficking corridors. The question is, is it an emergency,” Lankford said. “The second question is does the president have statutory authority. And he does have statutory authority, it’s clearly outlined in law that he can use these funds he’s requested for construction, specifically for fencing. It’s detailed in law, some people disagree with that, some people might not like it but he does have statutory authority and I believe it is an emergency what is happening in these drug trafficking corridors and something needs to be done.”
Since President Trump announced his emergency declaration, there have been concerns part of the money would be taken from Air Force funds, including from bases in Oklahoma such as Altus and Tinker. Senator Lankford said he does not expect that to happen, as those funds are a last resort to three other types of funds.
"The White House has already said they’re only going to touch that if they use the rest of it. There almost six billion dollars in the other three accounts. I don’t anticipate they ever get to the military construction fund. They’ve already said they don’t know what that would be, they don’t have any plan for any specific spot, we’re just saying that’s an emergency backup if we have to tap into that. They’ve made it very clear they don’t expect to get to any of those funds and I don’t think they ever will,” Lankford said.
Moving away from the border wall, Senator Lankford also gave his thoughts on the ongoing Mueller investigation. The House of Representatives voted Thursday to make whatever Mueller finds during the investigation public, which Lankford believes will happen regardless.
"Whatever Robert Mueller writes up will be public. We can have votes or not votes, it will be public, there’s no way that will be hidden. The big question is there’s no requirement for Robert Mueller to ever write up a report. Prosecutors typically don’t write a big report at the end of it. They typically lay down indictments and say these are the individuals we want to indict and then they are silent on everyone else. In the original writing for Robert Mueller to be the special council, there is no requirement in that that he ever writes a final report. I think a lot people are assuming there will be some big Mueller report at the end, we don’t know that and what that will be. But I think whatever he does write up will be public at some point,” Lankford said.
Lankford also spent about 45 minutes talking with students at Elgin Middle School.
“It has been very amazing to talk to him and I think that it was wonderful to have this opportunity,” said Eighth Grader Angelique Garrett.
"It was crazy because he makes the laws, he helps make the laws for our country and we got to meet him in person and not just see him on TV or something,” said Eighth Grader Ellaina Greene.
"I don't normally stand up and ask questions when we have visitors but this was my one chance to do this and so I was really nervous but also excited. So I decided to ask a question and it was awesome,” said Eighth Grader Megan Buckner.
The students’ questions touched on a variety of topics, ranging from immigration to the electoral college and what the Senator’s favorite quote or bible verse is.