Trump says there is ‘a good chance’ he will declare a national emergency to build a border wall

The president has suggested that he may reveal his decision during his State of the Union address next week

Chris Baynes
New York
,Clark Mindock
Friday 01 February 2019 17:43
Trump says he will declare a national emergency if no deal is reached on border wall

Donald Trump says there is a "good chance" he will declare a national emergency in order to build a border wall, dismissing talks with Democrats over government funding as “a waste of time”.

The president said he had set the stage for action to sidestep Congress to secure $5.7bn (£4.4bn) for a wall on the US-Mexico border, as the prospect of a second government shutdown looms.

"I’m certainly thinking about it. I think there’s a good chance we’ll have to do that. At the same time, regardless, we’re building the wall. And we’re building a lot of wall," Mr Trump said on Friday when asked if he would declare a state of emergency to build the wall when a short-term deal to fund the government runs out on 15 February.

Mr Trump, during those remarks, urged people to pay attention to his upcoming State of the Unio address to find out his plans for the border wall and much talked about potentialstate of emergency.

"I don’t want to say, you’ll hear the State of the Union and then you’ll see what happens right after the State of the Union," Mr Trump said of the potential state of emergency.

In a wide-ranging New York Times interview before his remarks on Friday, Mr Trump also said he had received reassurances he was “not a target” of Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation and dismissed talk he may not seek re-election in 2020.

The president spoke to the newspaper he has repeatedly derided as “failing” after contacting its publisher, AG Sulzberger.

During that interview in the Oval Office, Mr Trump hinted that he planned to declare a national emergency in two weeks’ time if the deadlock with Democrats over border wall funding continues.

Mr Trump last week signed off a spending bill that reopened federal government departments until 15 February following the longest shutdown in US history.

Mr Trump has continued to insist he will not sign off a long-term funding package without money for the border wall, but Democratic House speaker Nancy Pelosi said on Thursday there was “not going to be any wall money in the legislation”.

A group of 17 Republican and Democrat politicians has been set up to thrash out a compromise, but Mr Trump told the New York Times: “I think it’s a waste of time … They don’t want to give money for the wall.”

Asked if he had “set the table for emergency declaration,” the president replied: “I’ve set the table. I’ve set the stage for doing what I’m going to do.”

He added: “I’ll continue to build the wall, and we’ll get the wall finished.”

Mr Trump also brushed off Mr Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, claiming deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein had told his lawyers “that I’m not a subject, I’m not a target”.

Asked if that reassurance also covered the separate investigation by federal prosecutors in New York, he replied: “I don’t know about that."

The special counsel has previously refused to confirm if Mr Trump was a focus of his investigation.

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Mr Trump dismissed speculation he may opt against running for a second term in the White House.

“I love this job,” he said, although he added he had lost “massive amounts of money” while president.

“There’s been more of a burden on me than other presidents,” he claimed.

Discussing potential Democratic challengers in 2020, he said California senator Kamala Harris – whose name he mispronounced Kameela – had “the best opening so far”, with a “better crowd, better enthusiasm”.

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