The Latest on the Government Shutdown - Sunday

Top Democrats say President Donald Trump would face legal and political challenges if he tries to declare a national emergency to build the border wall with Mexico.

Posted: Jan 5, 2019 9:10 PM
Updated: Jan 7, 2019 8:59 AM

Sunday - Latest on Government Shutdown

8:15 p.m.

President Donald Trump is standing by his demands for funding for a border wall as another round of shutdown talks fails to break an impasse.

Newly empowered House Democrats are planning to step up the pressure on Trump and Republican lawmakers to reopen the government.

Trump spent part of Sunday at Camp David for staff meetings but showed no signs of budging on his demand for $5.6 billion for a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.

At the White House complex, a meeting with senior congressional aides led by Vice President Mike Pence yielded little progress.

With the partial shutdown in its third week, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she intends to begin passing individual bills to reopen agencies in the coming days.

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7:25 p.m.

Hundreds of government scientists are missing three major scientific conferences this week because of the partial government shutdown.

Attendees of the events describe them as crucial opportunities for scientists from the government, the private sector and academia to exchange research and ideas. Topics include technology, space exploration, extreme weather and climate change.

Those attending a conference in Seattle are missing out on the world's largest airborne observatory, also because of the shutdown. The visit of the Boeing 747 equipped with a massive telescope used to study the fundamental mysteries of the universe has been canceled.

The other conferences are in San Diego and Phoenix. Scientists say the effects from these missed opportunities will be felt for a long time.

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5:40 p.m.

Talks led by Vice President Mike Pence to resolve the government shutdown have failed to reach an agreement over President Donald Trump's demand for money from Congress for a border wall with Mexico.

Democrats say the administration on Sunday did not present full budget information they had requested on how the White House would use the $5.6 billion Trump wants for the wall. Two Democratic officials familiar with the session say Democrats pleaded with Pence and other officials to re-open government while talks continue.

One of the officials says no new meetings have been scheduled.

With his negotiators preparing for the afternoon session, Trump said he didn't expect it to produce a resolution. Trump said earlier Sunday that only he could make a deal with Democratic leaders.

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12:10 p.m.

Top Democrats say President Donald Trump would face legal and political challenges if he tries to declare a national emergency to build the border wall with Mexico.

House Armed Services Committee Chairperson Adam Smith said the executive power has been used to build military facilities in Iraq and Afghanistan, but would likely be "wide open" to a court challenge for the wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.

"Where is the emergency?" the Washington Democrat said on ABC's "This Week."

Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff called it a "non-starter."

The California Democrat tells CNN's "State of the Union": "Look, if Harry Truman couldn't nationalize the steel industry during wartime, this president doesn't have the power to declare an emergency and build a multibillion-dollar wall on the border."

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11:55 a.m.

Republican Susan Collins of Maine wants the Senate to take up House-passed bills to re-open the government.

The GOP senator said Sunday that Congress could "reopen much of the government" while talks continue over building President Donald Trump's promised border wall with Mexico.

"Let's get those reopened while the negotiations continue," she said on NBC's "Meet the Press."

Collins is among several Republicans uncomfortable with the shutdown. She has long argued against them and tried to broker resolutions to past stalemates. Collins and others are also up for re-election in 2020 from states including Colorado and North Carolina where views on Trump are mixed. She called debate over border wall types "bizarre."

Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the House will send more bills to re-open government to the Senate this week.

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10:25 a.m.

President Donald Trump says he plans to call the heads of U.S. Steel and other steel companies to come up with a new design for the barrier he's insisting must be built along the southern border.

That's despite the fact that his administration has already spent millions constructing wall prototypes near the border in San Diego.

Trump had once vowed to build a concrete border wall, but now says the barrier will be made of steel slats.

He tells reporters as he departs the White House for meetings at Camp David that he'll be asking the companies to design "a beautiful steel product" and "we'll use that as our barrier."

Trump's demand for billions for the barrier has forced a partial government shutdown that is now in its third week.

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9:55 a.m.

President Donald Trump says he doesn't expect anything to come out of a second day of negotiations between top administration officials and senior congressional staff trying to end the partial government shutdown now in its third week.

Trump insists to reporters as he departs the White House for staff meetings at Camp David that he feels the pain of hundreds of thousands of federal workers who aren't being paid. A day earlier, he had tweeted he didn't care that "most of the workers not getting paid are Democrats."

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

Trump says he's still mulling declaring a national emergency to try to circumvent Congress.

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9:30 a.m.

The White House press secretary says President Donald Trump is prepared to bypass Congress if necessary by declaring a national emergency to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.

Sarah Huckabee Sanders tells "Fox News Sunday" that the White House has been looking at "every option available" to get the needed money, and she says Trump will do "whatever it takes to protect our borders."

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." Such a move is certain to draw legal challenges.

Sanders says Trump is "not going to stop" until he figures out the best way to protect U.S. citizens and that "whatever action he takes will certainly be lawful."

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8:20 a.m.

A first round of talks between White House officials and congressional aides has made little progress toward ending the government shutdown, with each side accusing the other of giving no ground.

More discussions are planned for Sunday.

President Donald Trump is scheduled to be at Camp David for a retreat with White House staff on border security and other topics. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says House Democrats intend to start passing individual bills to reopen agencies.

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WASHINGTON, D.C.  (AP) - The Latest on meetings between congressional aides and White House officials about the partial government shutdown (all times local):

6:10 p.m.

As government shutdown talks remain at an impasse, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says House Democrats plan to start approving individual bills to reopen shuttered departments.

Pelosi said Saturday that they would start with Treasury to ensure Americans receive their tax refunds on schedule.

In an interview with NBC's "Meet the Press" that will air Sunday, acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney says the president is willing to deal.

Mulvaney says Trump is willing to forego a concrete wall for steel or other materials.

Trump has already suggested his definition of the wall is flexible. But Democrats have made clear they see a wall as immoral and ineffective and prefer other types of border security funded at already agreed upon levels.

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4:15 p.m.

White House officials and congressional aides kicked off weekend talks aimed at ending a partial government shutdown that has dragged into a 15th day.

Vice President Mike Pence, who led the conversation, described Saturday's session as "productive" on Twitter, although no breakthrough was reached. The White House aides and Democratic and Republican staffers planned to return to the talks on Sunday.

Negotiations have been at an impasse over President Donald Trump's demands for $5.6 billion to fund a wall at the U.S.-Mexico border.

A White House official said the meeting included a briefing on border security by Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen. Democrats restated their request to reopen government while border security talks continue, which the White House rejected. Democrats also sought written details on Department of Homeland Security needs, which the White House said it would provide.

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12:33 a.m.

White House officials and congressional staffers will continue negotiations Saturday over the government shutdown, even after President Donald Trump declared he could keep it going for "months or even years."

Trump met Friday with congressional leaders from both parties as the shutdown hit the two-week mark amid an impasse over his demand for billions of dollars for a border wall with Mexico. Democrats emerged from the meeting, which both sides said was contentious at times, to report little if any progress.

Trump has designated Vice President Mike Pence, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and adviser Jared Kushner to work with a congressional delegation at a meeting set for 11 a.m. Saturday.

Trump is framing the upcoming weekend talks as progress, while Democrats are emphasizing families unable to pay bills.

(Copyright 2019 The Associated Press.

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