Part of the White House counsel's office review of declaring a national emergency has included laying the groundwork for a legal defense of the move, according to officials familiar with the matter.
That has included advising the President's aides on ramping up talk of the humanitarian and security "crisis" — a characterization that administration lawyers could use later in court to defend a national emergency. The lawyers have suggested the more times the term is used, the more citations they will have in filing a legal defense.
Trump and others in the White House began using that term more frequently over the past week.
The lawyers are looking for other ways to illustrate that an emergency is underway, recognizing a declaration would be challenged by Democrats. That has also included hosting lawmakers in the Situation Room for talks, a setting that lends to the sense of crisis.
The counsel's office review of the emergency powers as it relates to the border began in the middle of last week, officials said. Trump said today his legal team has told him he has the "absolute right" to declare an emergency.