WEATHER AUTHORITY : Severe Thunderstorm Warning View Alerts
STREAMING NOW: Watch Now

Trump claims right to declare emergency

President Donald Trump says that he is willing to declare a national emergency over border security if he does not get funding for a wall in the deal to end the partial government shutdown.

Posted: Jan 11, 2019 4:45 AM
Updated: Jan 11, 2019 5:06 AM

President Donald Trump said he is nearing a decision to declare a national emergency on the southern border, which he visited in person Thursday despite earlier reservations about taking the trip.

The President warned as he departed the White House he would take the step -- which would be subject to immediate legal challenge -- if talks with Democrats continue to crumble. Trump stormed out of a meeting with Democratic leaders a day earlier, insisting they weren't ready to deal.

The standoff has prompted a partial government shutdown that has now stretched 20 days. Many federal workers will miss their first paychecks on Friday.

"If this doesn't work out, probably I will do it, I would almost say definitely," Trump said. "This is a national emergency."

Inching closer to using executive authority allowing him to repurpose federal funds for a border wall without congressional approval, Trump said his lawyers have advised him he's within his rights to take the step. And he suggested there are alternate methods of securing funds outside of new legislation.

"If we don't make a deal, I would say 100%. I don't want to say 100% because maybe something else comes up," he said. "But if we don't make a deal, I would say it would be very surprising to me that I would not declare a national emergency and just fund it through the various mechanisms."

Trump was departing for McAllen, Texas, a border town where he hoped to highlight the need for increased border security and a physical barrier, which was a central promise of his campaign. Earlier in the week, Trump cast doubt on the necessity of the trip, believing it would not change the negotiating dynamics. But advisers have pressed him to scale up his messaging, including the primetime Oval Office address he delivered on Tuesday.

In an interview later on Thursday with Fox News host Sean Hannity, Trump said his decision on whether to declare a national emergency hinges on the events of the upcoming days, his most definitive statement yet on when an emergency could come.

"I think we're going to see what happens over the next few days," Trump told Hannity. "They should do it immediately. Look, we're not going anywhere, we're not changing our mind because there's nothing to change our mind about. The wall works. ... It'll work 100%."

Border visit

In Texas, Trump participated in a roundtable on immigration and border security at the US Border Patrol McAllen Station, hearing from law enforcement officers and others who told him they supported his mission to construct a wall.

Later he traveled to the border itself along the Rio Grande River before returning to Washington later in the evening.

"We need security. We need the kind of backup they want," Trump said, surrounded by border patrol agents at a stretch of the border.

He claimed to have the political upper hand, saying Schumer and Pelosi were weakened.

"They're not winning this argument. They're losing the argument badly," he said.

Before he departed, White House aides said it was increasingly likely Trump could declare a national emergency in order to fund his wall and end the funding standoff. If he finds alternative ways to fund the project, Trump would sign spending bills opening the shuttered federal agencies, the officials said.

Talks with Democrats stalled Wednesday after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told the President she would not support building a barrier structure on the US-Mexico border. The meeting, held in the White House Situation Room, ended abruptly when Trump walked out, bidding the Democrats "bye-bye."

Afterward, Pelosi and Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer described a fuming Trump, slamming his hands on the table before storming out. But the President said that was a mischaracterization, insisting Thursday he "very calmly walked out of the room."

"I didn't pound on the table, I didn't raise my voice. That was a lie. What you should do is give them pinocchios," Trump said on the South Lawn. "I very calmly said if you're not going to give us strong borders, bye-bye, and I left. I didn't rant. I didn't rave, like you reported."

"I don't have temper tantrums. I really don't," Trump went on. "I very calmly walked out of the room. I didn't smash the table. I should have. But I didn't smash the table."

Still, the President offered little indication he was prepared to back down from his demand of more than $5 billion for the border wall construction, leaving few signs a deal will be struck in the near term with Democrats to reopen government. With talks at even more of a stalemate, officials inside the administration increasingly feel like an emergency declaration is one of few options.

Emergency declaration

In an unusual move, Pat Cipollone, the White House counsel, was originally scheduled to travel with the President to the southern border Thursday, according to officials. However, he did not ultimately make the trip with Trump.

Trump is not expected to declare a national emergency while there, though people close to the President caution that could change. There has been serious debate internally about the legal ramifications of Trump declaring a national emergency so he can build his border wall without congressional approval.

While it's not certain Trump will declare an emergency, the White House likes being able to hold the card over Democrats who they say have refused to compromise or even negotiate, the officials said.

Even some of Trump's closest allies and aides who feel they've "won" the shutdown messaging so far say they believe momentum could shift starting Friday, when hundreds of thousands of federal workers won't receive their paychecks. Matters could only get worse on Saturday, when news outlets and television networks will be able to declare this the longest continuous shutdown in US history.

As Trump makes his pitch for a barrier on the southern border, he acknowledged the Texas trip is simply for publicity.

"It's not going to change a damn thing, but I'm still doing it," Trump said of the border visit during a meeting between the President and network anchors Tuesday afternoon.

Trump referenced his advisers Bill Shine, Kellyanne Conway and White House press secretary Sarah Sanders, who were all in the room during the off-the-record meeting, first reported by the New York Times, and said they convinced him the trip would be "worth it."

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 69374

Reported Deaths: 1989
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds5700119
DeSoto371031
Harrison260136
Madison245569
Jackson231444
Rankin230735
Jones193159
Forrest182656
Washington170142
Lee152142
Lauderdale141592
Neshoba128892
Lamar123115
Bolivar113635
Oktibbeha113339
Warren112535
Lowndes109239
Panola106816
Sunflower105625
Scott101120
Lafayette98719
Copiah96228
Leflore94966
Pike94037
Holmes91049
Grenada85123
Pontotoc8429
Yazoo84113
Lincoln83442
Monroe82155
Simpson80631
Leake79526
Coahoma78113
Wayne78021
Tate74330
Marshall7129
Marion68420
Union66216
Adams63225
Winston62916
Covington62214
George5956
Pearl River55940
Newton54511
Tallahatchie54111
Attala52725
Walthall50221
Chickasaw47619
Noxubee46112
Tishomingo4377
Alcorn4355
Calhoun4259
Prentiss42310
Claiborne40914
Smith40613
Hancock40214
Clay40114
Jasper3949
Itawamba38710
Tippah37414
Tunica3587
Clarke33626
Montgomery3295
Lawrence3238
Yalobusha31610
Humphreys29712
Quitman2691
Carroll26111
Greene25612
Perry2428
Amite2376
Webster23712
Kemper23314
Jefferson Davis2336
Wilkinson21513
Stone2115
Sharkey2045
Jefferson1957
Benton1451
Choctaw1354
Franklin1312
Issaquena272
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 100801

Reported Deaths: 1814
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson13366246
Mobile10581212
Montgomery6825151
Madison546934
Tuscaloosa426979
Unassigned392566
Baldwin367029
Shelby333437
Marshall319438
Lee270847
Morgan241819
Etowah218034
DeKalb183414
Calhoun181918
Elmore176039
Walker154465
Houston142813
Russell13892
St. Clair136320
Limestone135913
Dallas133624
Franklin129722
Cullman123012
Colbert121517
Lauderdale119020
Autauga116222
Escambia108817
Talladega105414
Jackson10264
Tallapoosa87579
Chambers84738
Dale84329
Clarke82610
Chilton8189
Blount8165
Butler77036
Coffee7656
Covington74021
Pike7137
Marion58226
Barbour5796
Lowndes57124
Marengo56616
Hale48526
Bullock48111
Winston45711
Perry4454
Bibb4445
Washington44412
Wilcox43410
Monroe4236
Pickens4089
Randolph40211
Conecuh39310
Sumter36618
Lawrence3542
Macon33914
Crenshaw3326
Choctaw28912
Cherokee2768
Clay2675
Geneva2652
Henry2643
Greene25211
Lamar2302
Fayette2235
Cleburne1291
Coosa1053
Out of AL00
Tupelo
Scattered Clouds
92° wxIcon
Hi: 91° Lo: 74°
Feels Like: 99°
Columbus
Clear
89° wxIcon
Hi: 92° Lo: 73°
Feels Like: 102°
Oxford
Clear
88° wxIcon
Hi: 89° Lo: 70°
Feels Like: 96°
Starkville
Scattered Clouds
86° wxIcon
Hi: 90° Lo: 70°
Feels Like: 93°
WTVA Radar
WTVA Temperatures
WTVA Severe Weather