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Schiff: Trump's emergency tactic a non-starter

Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) tells CNN's Jake Tapper that President Donald Trump trying to use emergency powers to fund the border wall is a non-starter for negotiations to end the government shutdown.

Posted: Jan 7, 2019 11:32 AM
Updated: Jan 7, 2019 11:47 AM

President Donald Trump said Sunday that he might declare a national emergency imminently to secure money for his border wall.

"I may declare a national emergency dependent on what's going to happen over the next few days," Trump told reporters as he left the White House for Camp David.

A White House official told CNN on Saturday that Trump was leaning toward declaring a national emergency to use military funding for his wall. Trump has demanded Congress appropriate money for the wall, and his dispute with Democrats over the issue pushed the government into an ongoing partial shutdown.

Maryland's Democratic senators, Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen, meanwhile, on Sunday called for not taking up any legislation not related to ending the shutdown.

"Senate Democrats should block consideration of any bills unrelated to opening the government until Sen. Mitch McConnell and Senate Republicans allow a vote on the bipartisan bills the House passed to open the government," Van Hollen tweeted.

Vice President Mike Pence held a meeting with congressional leadership staff on Sunday afternoon, but after the meeting there was little indication they were getting close to a deal to reopen the government.

During Sunday's meeting, a letter from Acting Budget Director Russell Vought was handed to the congressional staff officially outlining some of the new requests for money on top of what's already been included in the Senate's FY 2019 bill. It included:

-- $5.7 billion for what is now called a "steel barrier" for the Southwest Border (which is an increase of $4.1 billion over the Senate funding). The letter says: "Central to any strategy to achieve operational control along the southern border is a physical infrastructure to provide requisite impedance and denial.";

-- $800 million to address "urgent humanitarian needs," such as additional funding for enhanced medical support and additional temporary facilities for processing and short-term custody of migrants taken into custody;

-- Additional $798 million for more detention beds — bringing the total request to $4.2 billion for 52,000 detention beds, citing an increase of people attempting to cross the border;

-- $571 million for an additional 2,000 law enforcement personnel;

The letter also includes a new policy proposal put forward by Democrats. The proposal, which appears similar to one rolled out during the Obama administration, would allow for in-country asylum processing for Central American minors. The letter notes that additional statutory change "would be required to ensure that those who circumvent the process and come to the United States without authorization can be promptly returned home." It's unclear if this means that those who approach the southern border would be denied asylum.

Excerpt below:

"In addition, to address the humanitarian crisis of unaccompanied alien children (UACs), Democrats have proposed in-country asylum processing for Central American Minors. This would require a statutory change, along with reallocation of State Department funds to establish in-country processing capacities at Northern Triangle consulates and embassies. Furthermore, for the new procedure to achieve the desired humanitarian result, a further corresponding statutory change would be required to ensure that those who circumvent the process and come to the United States without authorization can be promptly returned home. Without the latter change, in-country processing will not reduce the unauthorized flow or successfully mitigate the humanitarian crisis."

A Republican aide told CNN after the meeting that Democrats did not come back with a "reasonable" counteroffer to the administration's requests.

A source in the meeting said the weekend talks were good only in the sense that they got a more precise sense of what the administration wanted. The source said Democrats reiterated that an agreement would take too long and that they should enact some appropriations bills this week, adding that there was no real discussion about a dollar amount they could agree to.

A Democratic aide said Sunday's meeting started about 45 minutes late, and despite the delay they still did not receive a full budget justification. The source said Democratic staff repeatedly urged the administration and Republicans to reopen the government, but their requests were rejected.

Trump, however, tweeted late Sunday afternoon that the meeting was productive.

"V.P. Mike Pence and group had a productive meeting with the Schumer/Pelosi representatives today," Trump wrote. "Many details of Border Security were discussed. We are now planning a Steel Barrier rather than concrete. It is both stronger & less obtrusive. Good solution, and made in the U.S.A."

Trump stands by 'national emergency' idea

Trump told reporters on Sunday morning that he was considering declaring a national emergency, and he said he planned to call the head of US Steel and other steel manufacturers to ask them to design a steel barrier for the southern border.

Trump spoke to reporters again on Sunday afternoon and offered few details, but he reiterated he was "looking at a national emergency," adding, "We'll be letting you know fairly soon."

Trump said that he would consider a deal that involved protections for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program recipients, but indicated that he preferred to wait until the Supreme Court ruled on the issue.

"I would rather have the Supreme Court rule and then work with the Democrats on DACA," Trump said.

Trump said on Friday he "may" attempt to invoke emergency powers to build the wall, although such a move would be expected to face legal action.

Schiff: 'A non-starter'

The idea has met pushback from some, including California Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff, who said Sunday on CNN's "State of the Union" that he did not think Trump would be able to use emergency powers to build a wall at the southern border.

"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," Schiff said. "So that's a non-starter."

Schiff said the burden remained on Trump to move and reopen the government, saying Trump had painted himself into a corner and needed to "figure out how he unpaints himself from that corner."

The congressman also said that if Democrats give into Trump's demand, it would incentivize the President to attempt further shutdowns in order to extract concessions.

"We just can't afford to do business that way," Schiff said.

WH: Weekend talks unfruitful

Acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney said in a separate interview on the same program that talks on Saturday to reopen the government "did not make much progress."

Trump, in his comments to reporters Sunday morning, said he and Pence did not "expect to have anything happen" at further shutdown talks between Pence and congressional leadership staff Sunday afternoon.

Trump said, however, that he expected "very serious talks" early this week and that he "can relate" to federal workers affected by the shutdown.

"I am sure that the people that are on the receiving end will make adjustment, they always do," Trump said.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 245847

Reported Deaths: 5356
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto16717168
Hinds15748310
Harrison12806188
Rankin10334204
Jackson9996172
Lee8666135
Madison7994158
Jones6112108
Forrest5826117
Lauderdale5672174
Lowndes5186106
Lafayette482792
Lamar471162
Washington4700122
Bolivar3915105
Oktibbeha384279
Panola357274
Pontotoc356552
Monroe3463101
Union334755
Warren334692
Marshall333264
Neshoba3310149
Pearl River313891
Leflore2969104
Lincoln290185
Sunflower275868
Tate264759
Alcorn257850
Itawamba257058
Pike254876
Hancock246957
Prentiss240047
Scott238743
Copiah235649
Yazoo235054
Tippah233845
Simpson230166
Leake226764
Coahoma219054
Grenada213970
Covington207171
Marion203371
Adams200065
Winston196260
George195937
Wayne193029
Attala190958
Newton185142
Chickasaw179943
Tishomingo179059
Holmes167467
Jasper163533
Clay155632
Stone138818
Tallahatchie137033
Clarke135160
Calhoun132021
Smith117322
Yalobusha112534
Walthall110536
Noxubee108922
Greene108229
Montgomery107134
Carroll102320
Lawrence99817
Perry98631
Amite95725
Webster90024
Claiborne84125
Tunica84021
Jefferson Davis82925
Humphreys80324
Benton79722
Kemper75620
Quitman6678
Franklin64613
Choctaw59412
Wilkinson57424
Jefferson52019
Sharkey42317
Issaquena1576
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 414583

Reported Deaths: 5945
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson60842887
Mobile29590538
Madison26466183
Tuscaloosa20537267
Montgomery18562304
Shelby18181112
Baldwin15841177
Lee1212097
Morgan12002112
Etowah11488142
Calhoun10863197
Marshall10048106
Houston8405123
Cullman792294
Limestone785073
Elmore7670101
DeKalb757282
St. Clair7417120
Lauderdale740282
Talladega6036108
Walker5834176
Jackson571937
Colbert522270
Blount521980
Autauga507555
Coffee431456
Dale388278
Franklin362145
Chilton332965
Covington325567
Russell318910
Escambia309842
Dallas297988
Chambers275769
Clarke272933
Tallapoosa2591107
Pike245829
Lawrence239345
Marion238649
Winston222535
Bibb211347
Geneva196331
Marengo196329
Pickens195331
Hale172542
Barbour169636
Butler166958
Fayette164026
Cherokee158330
Henry149219
Monroe143617
Randolph137635
Washington135426
Clay124446
Crenshaw117444
Lamar116819
Cleburne115123
Macon111935
Lowndes107935
Wilcox99921
Bullock97128
Perry95019
Conecuh92820
Sumter89126
Greene75123
Coosa59814
Choctaw50824
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