Mulvaney: Trump Willing to Take Concrete Wall 'Off The Table'

Clay Curtis
January 6, 2019

"The president is interested in resolving this issue", Mulvaney said.

The two sides met for over two hours in Pence's ceremonial office in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building across the street from the White House, where President Donald Trump was firing off tweets about the ongoing partial government shutdown and criticizing Democrats.

The new chairman of the House Armed Services Committee said that while President Trump could theoretically declare a national emergency to get a U.S. -Mexico border wall built, such a move would be a bad use of federal money and be ripe for legal challenges. "VP reiterated President's position that we need funding for the border wall", the White House said.

In calling on Trump to reopen government while negotiations on border security continue, Democrats have emphasized families unable to pay bills due to absent paychecks.

The White House said that Nielsen has provided a "full briefing on the crisis at the southern border" and said the conversation with Democrats was "productive".

"I can relate", Trump said.

Trump is still digging in his heels, demanding billions for a border barrier that Democrats won't provide.

While the president will be spending his Sunday at Camp David on a White House retreat, Vice President Pence will be continuing negotiations with a bipartisan group of congressional staffers.

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Acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney said on Sunday he doesn't expect the partial government shutdown to end any time soon as it continues into a third week. "Administration officials refused", the Democratic source contended. "But I think we're going to have some very serious talks come Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday".

Mulvaney said Trump was talking about increased tax revenue collected by the government as a result of increased trade - though that would mean American taxpayers would pay for the wall, not Mexico.

A source familiar with the exchange said the president respects Pelosi and was just kidding with her to make a point. Democrats reported little progress; Trump framed the weekend talks as a key step forward. Some GOP senators up for re-election in 2020, including Cory Gardner of Colorado and Susan Collins of ME, have voiced discomfort with the shutdown in recent days. Sen.

Mr. Trump asserted on Friday that he could declare a national emergency to build the wall without congressional approval, but would first try a "negotiated process".

If Mr. Trump called a national emergency, he would have the unilateral authority to build the wall. An estimated 800,000 federal employees throughout the country have either been furloughed and going without a salary or, if deemed essential, are working without getting paid.

Finally, Tapper turned to Trump's curious claim that the as-yet-unratified trade deal with Canada and Mexico would "pay for" the wall.

A national emergency is one of the conditions under which Pentagon funds could be used to build the wall. They always do. People understand what's going on.

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