SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Leaders of California's high-speed rail project are telling the Trump administration its plans to withhold or claw back $3.5 billion in federal money for the project is "legally indefensible" and "disastrous policy."

Project chief executive Brian Kelly responded Monday to the U.S. Department of Transportation's threat last month to withhold a $929 million federal grant and explore taking back $2.5 billion in federal money the state has already spent.

California is attempting to build a high-speed rail line between Los Angeles and San Francisco.

Trump's threats came after Gov. Gavin Newsom suggested changes to the project.

Kelly says the state is meeting its commitments to the federal government. The state has to meet certain construction deadlines and environmental reviews by 2022 under its agreement.

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