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Trump Says National Emergency Is A Possibility But He Would Rather Work With Congress


Let's get some context now from NPR White House correspondent Scott Horsley, who's here in the studio with us. Hi, Scott.

SCOTT HORSLEY, BYLINE: Good to be with you, Ari.

SHAPIRO: So we just heard Corey Lewandowski say he thinks the president is getting closer to invoking his emergency powers to sidestep Congress and move ahead with the wall. What signals are you seeing from the White House?

HORSLEY: The president and his aides have actually been sending sort of mixed signals. Trump is certainly holding out the possibility that he will invoke these emergency powers. But late today, in fact just about the time that that interview with Corey Lewandowski was recorded, the president told reporters he's not looking to go the emergency route just yet. Trump says he is concerned about legal challenges, and he added he would rather work with Congress to get the wall funding approved.

SHAPIRO: But Lewandowski suggested Democrats are not interested in that negotiation. Certainly we haven't seen many negotiations happening this week.

HORSLEY: That's true. Although I do want to correct Lewandowski's account of the meeting last weekend that was led by Vice President Pence. If listeners got the impression that Democratic lawmakers boycotted that meeting, they were never expected to show up. That was a meeting that was specifically designed for Hill staffers. But it is true Democrats are not eager to negotiate with the president so long as the federal government is partially shut down. They think the president is using the shutdown as an extortion tactic. Trump has acknowledged as much. And the Democratic feeling is, if you negotiate under those circumstances, you're just going to get more extortion in the future.

SHAPIRO: What about this idea we just heard that Congress promised Trump they would consider while funding if he didn't shut down the government before the election and then backtracked?

HORSLEY: It is certainly true that Republicans urged the president not to push for a government shutdown back before the midterm elections, and he didn't. The Republican leadership on the Hill knew that a shutdown would be unpopular. And sure enough, it is proving to be unpopular. Even without a government shutdown, you saw Republicans in the House lose 40 seats. The president's campaign rhetoric against the caravan didn't help with that. And so now we have newly empowered Democrats who see no reason to give ground on this issue.

SHAPIRO: That's NPR White House correspondent Scott Horsley. Thank you, Scott.

HORSLEY: You're welcome. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Scott Horsley is NPR's Chief Economics Correspondent. He reports on ups and downs in the national economy as well as fault lines between booming and busting communities.