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Trump dislikes border security deal but Republicans urge support

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Trump dislikes border security deal but Republicans urge support

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Donald Trump expressed displeasure on Tuesday at a deal by congressional negotiators on border security that denied him funds for his promised U.S.-Mexican border wall, but did not reject it outright as fellow Republicans urged his support.

Trump, who triggered a 35-day closure of about a quarter of the federal government with a December demand for $5.7 billion from Congress to help build the wall, said he had yet to decide whether to back the agreement reached on Monday night by four key Republican and Democratic lawmakers.

Nevertheless, Trump signaled he did not expect another shutdown and hinted again at bypassing Congress to get his wall built. Funding for the Department of Homeland Security, the Justice Department and a host of other agencies is due to expire on Friday under the stopgap spending measure passed last month by Congress to end the longest federal shutdown in U.S. history.

“I have to study it. I’m not happy about it,” Trump told reporters at the White House about the tentative funding deal, which would need to be passed by the Democratic-led House of Representatives and Republican-controlled Senate and signed by him.

The deal included border security provisions and money to keep the affected parts of the government funded through Sept. 30, the end of the federal fiscal year.

Congressional Republicans have shown little appetite for another shutdown after taking heavy criticism over the prior one. “I hope he’ll decide to sign it,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told reporters, even though Trump did not get everything he wanted. House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy also touted the deal.

Trump sent mixed messages about another shutdown.

“I don’t think you’re going to see a shutdown,” Trump said, but he added: “If you did have it, it’s the Democrats’ fault.”

Congressional sources said the agreement included $1.37 billion for new fencing – about the same as last year – along 55 miles (90 km) of the border but only with currently used designs such as “steel bollard” fencing. It also addressed capacity at immigration detention facilities, specifically the number of beds for people awaiting possible deportation.

Trump previously threatened to declare a “national emergency” if Congress did not provide money specifically for the wall, an action under which he might redirect other funds already provided by Congress to pay for wall construction. Fellow Republicans have told Trump such a step would almost certainly prompt a legal challenge.

‘WE’RE BUILDING THE WALL’

On Tuesday, Trump signaled possible unilateral action.

U.S. President Donald Trump listens next to Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross during a Cabinet meeting at the White House in Washington, U.S., February 12, 2019. REUTERS/Carlos Barria

“The bottom is on the wall: We’re building the wall,” Trump said, adding: “We’re supplementing things, and moving things around, and we’re doing things that are fantastic and taking, really, from far-less-important areas.”

Republican James Inhofe, who heads the Senate Armed Services Committee, told reporters that he urged Trump weeks ago not to raid Pentagon accounts to build a wall. Inhofe indicated Trump could try to use Army Corps of Engineers funds.

Trump made the wall a central 2016 campaign promise, calling it necessary to combat illegal immigration and drug trafficking. He said Mexico would pay for it, but Mexican officials rejected that. Democrats have called a wall expensive, ineffective and immoral.

McConnell, who had counseled Trump against the previous shutdown, said Democrats had abandoned “unreasonable” demands. McCarthy told CNBC that Democrats had caved by allowing the new border fencing. The border barrier funding was far short, however, of the $5.7 billion in wall money Trump wanted and was less than Trump could have had in compromise legislation passed in December by the Senate.

Democrats said the formal legislation should be ready by Wednesday, leaving little time for Congress to pass the measure by Friday’s midnight deadline.

Senior Democrats threw their weight behind the deal and said both sides gave ground. Top Senate Democrat Chuck Schumer said: “I strongly urge the president to sign this.”

Tom Graves, a House Republican who serves on the congressional conference committee that worked on the issue, raised concerns about the compromise. But Mark Meadows, who heads the conservative House Freedom Caucus, said he expected Trump would sign it.

Slideshow (5 Images)

Trump retreated last month when he agreed to end the shutdown without getting wall money. The shutdown roiled financial markets and left hundreds of thousands of federal workers and contractors without pay. Trump will now have to decide whether to side with conservative commentators who have his ear including Sean Hannity of Fox News, who late on Monday called the deal a “garbage compromise.”

Democrats oppose the wall, but support border security efforts. The number of beds in detention facilities was a contentious part of the negotiations because it can either constrain or expand the administration’s ability to aggressively deport more immigrants, including those seeking asylum.

Congressional aides on Tuesday gave differing accounts on the number of beds the deal permitted, with some saying it would drop to 40,520 by later this year and others saying it could rise to 58,500. Democrats had sought to limit the number.

Reporting by Richard Cowan and Susan Cornwell; Additional reporting by Doina Chiacu and Steve Holland in Washington and Roberta Rampton in El Paso, Texas; Writing by Will Dunham; Editing by Jonathan Oatis and Peter Cooney

Politics

Huckabee lashes out at Trump critic Romney: ‘Makes me sick’ you could have been POTUS

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Huckabee lashes out at Trump critic Romney: ‘Makes me sick’ you could have been POTUS

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee lashed out at Sen. Mitt Romney after the Utah Republican said he was “sickened” by the level of dishonesty from President Trump’s administration in response to Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s redacted report into Russian interference in the 2016 election.

“Know what makes me sick, Mitt? Not how disingenuous you were to take @realDonaldTrump $$ and then 4 yrs later jealously trash him & then love him again when you begged to be Sec of State, but makes me sick that you got GOP nomination and could have been @POTUS,” Huckabee tweeted Friday.

Earlier in the day, Romney tweeted that it was good news that there was insufficient evidence to charge Trump with collusion or obstruction of justice. The former GOP 2012 presidential candidate then blasted Trump and his campaign for having contacts with Russians.

“I am sickened at the extent and pervasiveness of dishonesty and misdirection by individuals in the highest office of the land, including the President,” Romney posted.

“I am appalled that, among other things, fellow citizens working in a campaign for president welcomed help from Russia — including information that had been illegally obtained; that none of them acted to inform American law enforcement,” he wrote.

Mueller’s long-awaited report was released Thursday morning and contains nearly 900 redactions. It showed investigators found no evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. No conclusion was reached on whether Trump’s actions amounted to obstruction.

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Huckabee ran against Romney for the 2008 GOP presidential nomination and is the father of White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders.

Romney and Trump’s contentious relationship has been well documented, with both men having exchanged congratulations and insults over the years.

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CNN wanted accusations against Trump to be true, White House spokesman says

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CNN wanted accusations against Trump to be true, White House spokesman says

White House principal deputy press secretary Hogan Gidley struck back at CNN host Anderson Cooper on Friday, a day after having a contentious interview with the journalist, saying he would not be lectured by a member of the mainstream media who has been “lying” about President Trump.

“First of all, I’m not going to take a lecture on truth-telling from anybody in the mainstream media who has been lying about this president for the last two years, telling the American people that Donald Trump committed treason which is a crime punishable by death as you well know,” Gidley told “Ingraham Angle” host Laura Ingraham.

ROMNEY SAYS MUELLER REPORT LEFT HIM ‘SICKENED AT THE EXTENT AND PERVASIVENESS OF DISHONESTY AND MISDIRECTION’

On Thursday, Cooper and Gidley went back and forth over the release of the long-awaited Mueller report.

The report showed investigators did not find evidence of collusion between the 2016 Trump presidential campaign and Russia but did lay out an array of actions taken by the president that were examined as part of the investigation’s obstruction inquiry.

At one point during the interview Cooper asked Gidley if the president lied.

“No, i’m not aware of him lying. He hasn’t lied to me,” Gidley responded.

“I feel bad that you’re scared to say that your boss lied,” Cooper later added.

Gidley accused CNN of wanting accusations of collusion between the president and Russia to be true.

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“The point is, for me to sit there with CNN and listen to them, who they wanted this to be true so badly. So many in the media did, and I understand why they don’t drop it,” Gidley said.

“Because if they did, they would be admitting the fact that the last two years of their life was a complete and total waste.”

Fox News’ Paulina Dedaj contributed to this report.

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DOJ calls Nadler subpoena for full Mueller report ‘premature and unnecessary’

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Gingrich suggests Nadler’s push to further probe Mueller report is an attempt to save his job in the House

The Department of Justice responded Friday to House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler’s request for Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s full and unredacted report, dismissing the request as both “premature and unnecessary.”

DOJ spokesperson Kerri Kupec said in a statement that Attorney General Bill Barr provided Mueller’s report on Thursday with only “minimal redactions” and, “in the interest of transparency,” the department had provided certain members of Congress, including Nadler, with a report that had “even fewer redactions.”

NADLER REQUESTS MUELLER TESTIFY BEFORE HOUSE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE ‘AS SOON AS POSSIBLE’

“In light of this, Congressman Nadler’s subpoena is premature and unnecessary. The Department will continue to work with Congress to accommodate its legitimate requests consistent with the law and long-recognized executive branch interests,” Kupec continued.

Nadler said in a statement early Friday that he subpoenaed the DOJ for the “full version” of the Mueller report and “underlying evidence,” requiring the department to comply by May 1.

“My committee needs and is entitled to the full version of the report and the underlying evidence consistent with past practice,” Nadler’s statement read. “The redactions appear to be significant. We have so far seen none of the actual evidence that the special counsel developed to make this case.”

Prior to the release of the long-awaited report, Nadler also made a request that Mueller himself provide testimony “as soon as possible” before his committee to explain his findings in the nearly 400-page report.

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“It is clear Congress and the American people must hear from Special Counsel Robert Mueller in person to better understand his findings.”

While there was no immediate response from Mueller, Barr said at a press conference prior to Nadler’s request that he would be open to providing testimony on the report.

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