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March 20, 2019

President Trump is embarking on a supremely roundabout quest to build the wall.

In November, French bank Societe Generale admitted that it spent years breaking American sanctions with the U.S. and Cuba. It had to pay $1.3 billion back to the U.S., and now Trump is hoping to siphon a chunk of it for his border wall, CNBC reports.

From asking Mexico nicely to cramming funds into the national budget, Trump has tried a slew of crafty solutions to fund his promised border wall between the U.S. and Mexico. His current national emergency declaration is still standing, but the $8 billion Trump is hoping to get from that actually stems from a variety of sources. About $3.6 billion comes from military construction already authorized this year, $2.5 billion comes from seized drug profits, and $1.3 billion is from what Democrats gave Trump in the budget. The remaining $601 million, Trump reportedly hopes, will come from the Treasury Department's "asset forfeiture fund," NBC News noted.

There's just one problem: Only $242 million of the largely off-limits forfeiture fund is available for government use right now, the administration has said. The rest — $301 billion — is from "future anticipated forfeitures," namely the Societe General deal that is still pending in court, two officials tell CNBC. Yet another source says the bank has already paid its fines, and the money has already been divvied up to other recipients, complicating Trump's reported plan.

Read more about Trump's backup border fund at CNBC. Kathryn Krawczyk

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