Trump Plans 'Major Announcement' Sat. 01/19 11:17

Trump Plans 'Major Announcement' Sat.  01/19 11:17

   President Donald Trump said he'll be making a "major announcement" on the 
government shutdown and the southern border on Saturday afternoon as the 
standstill over his border wall continues into its fifth week. Democrats are 
now proposing hundreds of millions of dollars for new immigration judges and 
improvements to ports of entry from Mexico but nothing for the wall, a House 
aide said, as the party begins fleshing out its vision of improving border 
security.

   WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Donald Trump said he'll be making a "major 
announcement" on the government shutdown and the southern border on Saturday 
afternoon as the standstill over his border wall continues into its fifth week. 
Democrats are now proposing hundreds of millions of dollars for new immigration 
judges and improvements to ports of entry from Mexico but nothing for the wall, 
a House aide said, as the party begins fleshing out its vision of improving 
border security.

   After days of bitter clashes between Trump and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, 
it was unclear if the twin developments represented serious steps toward 
resolving the nasty partisan fight or posturing. But they were the first 
tangible signs of movement in a dispute that has caused a partial government 
shutdown, which Saturday was entering its record 29th day.

   Trump's refusal to sign spending bills that lack $5.7 billion he wants to 
start constructing that wall, which Democrats oppose, has prompted the shutdown.

   The White House declined to provide details late Friday about what the 
president would be announcing. But Trump was not expected to sign the national 
emergency declaration he's been threatening as an option to circumvent 
Congress, according to two people familiar with the planning.

   Instead, Trump was expected to propose the outlines of a new deal that the 
administration believes could potentially pave the way to an end to the 
shutdown, according to one of the people. They were not authorized to discuss 
the announcement and spoke on condition of anonymity.

   The move, amid a shutdown that has left hundreds of thousands of federal 
workers without paychecks, represents the first major overture by the president 
since Jan. 8, when he delivered an Oval Office address making the public case 
for his border wall. Democrats have said they will not negotiate until the 
government reopens, raising questions about how Trump might move the ball 
forward.

   Democrats were proposing $563 million to hire 75 more immigration judges, 
who currently face large backlogs processing cases, and $524 million to improve 
ports of entry in Calexico, California, and San Luis, Arizona, the Democratic 
House aide said. The money is to be added to spending bills, largely negotiated 
between the House and Senate, that the House plans to vote on next week.

   In addition, Democrats were working toward adding money for more border 
security personnel and for sensors and other technology to a separate bill 
financing the Department of Homeland Security, but no funds for a wall or other 
physical barriers, the aide said.

   It was possible Democrats would unveil that measure next week as the 
cornerstone of their border security alternative to Trump's wall, the aide 
said. Earlier Friday, Rep.  Lucille Roybal-Allard, D-Calif., who chairs the 
House Appropriations Committee's homeland security subcommittee, said in an 
interview that some Democrats were asking leaders, "What is our plan?"

   The aide spoke on condition of anonymity because he wasn't authorized to 
discuss the details publicly. The Democrats' spending plans were first reported 
by The New York Times.

   In a video posted on his Twitter feed late Friday, Trump said both sides 
should "take the politics out of it" and "get to work" to "make a deal."  But 
he also repeated his warnings, saying: "We have to secure our southern border. 
If we don't do that, we're a very, very sad and foolish lot."

   White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said only that Trump was 
"going to continue fighting for border security" and "going to continue looking 
for the solution" to end what the administration had repeatedly referred to as 
a "humanitarian and national security crisis at the border."

   While few would argue that a humanitarian crisis is unfolding at the 
U.S.-Mexico border, as the demand for entry by migrants and the Trump 
administration's hardline response overwhelm border resources, critics say 
Trump has dramatically exaggerated the security risks and argue that a wall 
would do little to solve existing problems.

   Trump will be speaking from the Diplomatic Room at 3 p.m.

   Trump's Friday evening tweeted announcement came after Pelosi, D-Calif., on 
Friday canceled her plans to travel by commercial plane to visit U.S. troops in 
Afghanistan, saying Trump had caused a security risk by talking about the trip. 
The White House said there was no such leak.

   It was the latest turn --- and potentially the most dangerous --- in the 
high-stakes brinkmanship between Trump and Pelosi that has been playing out 
against the stalled negotiations over how to end the partial government 
shutdown.

   And it showed once again the willingness of the former hard-charging 
businessman to hit hard when challenged, as he was earlier this week when 
Pelosi suggested postponing his State of the Union address until after the 
shutdown.

   It was an unusually combative week between the executive and legislative 
branches.

   Tensions flared when Pelosi suggested Trump postpone the annual State of the 
Union address, a grand Washington tradition --- and a platform for his border 
wall fight with Democrats --- that was tentatively scheduled for Jan. 29.

   Trump never responded directly. Instead, he abruptly canceled Pelosi's 
military flight on Thursday, hours before she and a congressional delegation 
were to depart for Afghanistan on the previously undisclosed visit to U.S. 
troops.

   Trump belittled the trip as a "public relations event" --- even though he 
had just made a similar stop in a conflict zone during the shutdown --- and 
said it would be best if Pelosi remained in Washington to negotiate to reopen 
the government.

   Pelosi, undeterred, quietly began making her own preparations for the 
overseas trip.

   But on Friday, Pelosi said her plan to travel by commercial plane had been 
"leaked" by the White House.

   "The administration leaked that we were traveling commercially," Pelosi told 
reporters at the Capitol. She said it was "very irresponsible on the part of 
the president."

   She said the State Department told her "the president outing" the original 
trip made the scene on the ground in Afghanistan "more dangerous because it's a 
signal to the bad actors that we're coming."

   The White House said it had leaked nothing that would cause a security risk.

   Denying military aircraft to a senior lawmaker --- let alone the speaker, 
who is second in line to the presidency after the vice president, traveling to 
a combat region --- is very rare.

   Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff of California slammed Trump for revealing the 
closely held travel plan, calling it "completely and utterly irresponsible in 
every way."

   Some Republicans expressed frustration. Sen. Lindsey Graham tweeted, "One 
sophomoric response does not deserve another." He called Pelosi's State of the 
Union move "very irresponsible and blatantly political" but said Trump's 
reaction was "also inappropriate."


(KA)

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