Trump to Travel to US Southern Border Thursday

US Vice President Mike Pence, White House Senior Adviser Jared Kushner, and Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen leave the Eisenhower Executive Office Building after a meeting with staff from the House and Senate (AFP

He must take the issue directly to Americans, who seem largely bewildered by the rationale for the current government shutdown - in reality, Democrats simply refuse point blank to fund the wall to the tune of $5 billion. The legality of such a move is unclear, however, and the president would nearly certainly face immediate legal challenges in the courts.

For example, in an emergency, the president is allowed to divert money to military construction projects, which could conceivably include the border wall. Democrats, though, said the administration still failed to provide a full budget of how it would spend the billions requested for the wall from Congress. Trump campaigned on a promise that Mexico would pay for the wall, but Mexico has refused.

But Democrats panned his idea of a concession, floated on the Sunday talk shows: to build the wall with steel, rather than concrete.

Smith said declaring a national emergency would be "wide open to court challenges", adding that using the military to build the wall would amount to "a bad use of Department of Defense dollars".

The president's visit will come on what will likely be the 20th day of the partial government shutdown.

Talks to end the government shutdown - led by Vice President Mike Pence - again ended without a breakthrough on Saturday.

Trump, however, now is saying he would agree to a steel barrier instead of a concrete wall he has long vowed to build.

It's unclear exactly what he will be doing with this visit, although Sanders said more details will be forthcoming. He wrongly claimed that he'd never called for the wall to be concrete.

Americans largely blame President Trump for the shutdown, thanks in part to bad media coverage, and thanks in part to President Trump's originally nationally televised statements that he would happily "own" the shutdown.

There are no talks on any public schedule at the White House Monday, and Congress isn't back in session until Tuesday. Trump argues that a physical barrier along the US-Mexico border is essential to stop the flow of illegal immigrants into the US. Democrats, who took control of the House last week, passed a bill to reopen the government without wall funding.

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

Vice President Mike Pence on Saturday met with representatives of Chuck Schumer, the top Democrat in the Republican-controlled Senate, as well as Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House of Representatives which since last Thursday is under Democratic control.

In his announcement speech during that election, Trump had promised that "I would build a great wall, and nobody builds walls better than me, believe me, and I'll build them very inexpensively". And Trump has threatened to drag on the shutdown for months or even years if he does not get funding for the border wall. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has said the Republican-controlled upper chamber won't consider any bills without the president's support.

"According to USA outlet Politico, he said "[Democrats] don't like concrete, so we'll give them steel. "So we are damned if we do and damned if we don't", an unidentified "TV exec" said in a text to the cable network.

"The impression you get from the president (is) that he would like to not only close government, build a wall, but also abolish Congress so the only voice that mattered was his own", Pelosi told Jane Pauley in the interview, which aired on CBS News' "Sunday Morning".

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