US House of Representatives votes to revoke Trump's emergency

Vote comes as president's former lawyer Michael Cohen to testify before Congress

US house speaker Nancy Pelosi says Donald Trump is asking elected officials to "turn their backs" on their oath of office to the US constitution as Trump's national emergency is revoked by the US House of Representatives. Video: C-Span

 

The US House of Representatives has voted to revoke Donald Trump's declaration of a national emergency to build a wall on the border with Mexico, handing the president a stinging rebuke on his signature issue.

In a 245-182 vote, the Democratic-majority House rejected Mr Trump's assertion that he could use money for the wall that Congress had appropriated for other purposes.

The bill now moves to the Republican-run Senate, where it also could pass, given some Republicans' concerns about the president's actions.

With Republicans controlling 53 seats of the 100-seat chamber, at least four Republicans would need to defect and vote for the resolution for it to pass.

So far, three Republican senators have said they will break with Mr Trump and vote for the resolution – Senator Susan Collins of Maine, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, and North Carolina senator Thom Tillis.

But Mr Trump has vowed to veto the measure if it reaches his desk, and a veto override, which requires a two-thirds majority of both chambers, is seen as unlikely.

Cohen before Congress

Meanwhile, the president's former attorney Michael Cohen will testify publicly in Congress on Wednesday in a hearing that is expected to shed light on Mr Trump’s business activities in the months leading up to the 2016 presidential election.

The appearance – which is scheduled to begin as the US president wraps up a dinner with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in Hanoi, Vietnam – will be the first time Cohen has testified publicly.

The 52-year-old, who is due to begin a 36-month prison sentence in May, was questioned by the Senate intelligence committee behind closed doors on Tuesday, and is scheduled to appear before the House Intelligence Committee in private on Thursday.

But on Wednesday, he will be questioned by the House oversight committee in testimony that will be broadcast live.

While Cohen is unlikely to discuss details of the ongoing Mueller investigation, he is expected to speak publicly about payments he made to women who allege they had affairs with Mr Trump – payments that could be in breach of campaign financing rules.

He has also pleaded guilty to previously misleading Congress in written testimony about the timing around a proposed Trump hotel in Moscow in the months leading up to the election – an issue that is likely to be probed by committee members.

Some US media outlets reported that Cohen will make allegations of criminal conduct by his former boss since he was elected president.

Cohen, who did not speak to reporters as he arrived at the US Senate for Tuesday's hearing, said last week that he looked forward to testifying.

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders denounced Cohen as a “disgraced felon”.

“Sadly, he will go before Congress this week and we can expect more of the same,” she said. “It’s laughable that anyone would take a convicted liar like Cohen at his word, and pathetic to see him given yet another opportunity to spread his lies.”

Cohen worked for Mr Trump for more than a decade as his lawyer and “fixer”. Last year he pleaded guilty to eight criminal counts and is due to begin a prison sentence on May 6th.  - Additional reporting by Reuters