U.S. government shutdown becomes longest in history


Trump indicated he was slowing what had appeared to be momentum toward the national emergency declaration as the way out of the stalemate.

But if he follows through on a threat to declare a national emergency in order to build a border wall, experts say he's going to have to rely on facts and legal arguments - and the evidence is not on his side.

Administration officials on Thursday confirmed that they were looking at a range of government accounts that Trump potentially could tap into, but would not comment specifically on which projects were being eyed.

The partial shutdown of the government became the longest on record at midnight Friday (0500 GMT Saturday), when it overtook the 21-day stretch in 1995-1996, under then president Bill Clinton.

Some US media reports suggest the White House is considering diverting some of the $13.9bn allocated a year ago by Congress for disaster relief in such areas as Puerto Rico, Texas and California to pay for the wall.

While Trump on Saturday three times cited a "humanitarian crisis" at the border, he also tied the debate to his 2016 campaign promise: "Part of that promise was a Wall at the Southern Border".

First, Trump said no to scaling back the $5.7 billion he wants for construction of a wall along the U.S. -Mexico border, kneecapping Pence's early effort to test Democrats' appetite for a smaller number.

Democrats and the president remain at loggerheads, with party leaders saying they won't agree to fund any kind of wall or barrier and Trump insisting he won't agree to reopen the government until the wall is funded. "I think we're talking days, not weeks", the chairman and founding member of the conservative House Freedom Caucus said.

But Trump has turned his single-minded push for more walls into a political crusade that opponents say is a stunt to stoke xenophobia in his right-wing voter base while willfully ignoring the border's complex realities.

"I have the absolute right to call a national emergency". Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of SC, who met with the president on Friday, took to Twitter afterward to urge: "Mr. President, Declare a national emergency NOW".

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Under the National Emergencies Act of 1976, presidents do have the authority to declare crises and act on them, but they have to justify their reasoning with existing statutes Congress has already approved. We're all set. It's 100 per cent, and I'll have to do that, ' he said.

Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, on the shutdown becoming the longest ever in US history. One idea being considered was diverting some of the $13.9bn allocated to the Army Corps of Engineers after last year's deadly hurricanes and floods.

'They're not acting, and they're the ones that are holding it up.

Until now, Trump had suggested numerous times that he was getting closer to taking the controversial decision.

But some in the White House are trying to apply the brakes. The person was unauthorized to discuss private sessions and spoke on condition of anonymity.

The investigation became a part of special counsel Robert Mueller's inquiry into potential collusion between Russian Federation and the Trump election campaign. Instead, he told reporters Friday, "we want Congress to do its job".

Moreover, they say, it could lead the country into uncharted areas.

Former U.S. president Barack Obama stunned Republicans when he bypassed Congress and, relying on what he called his pen and his phone, used executive powers to enact his agenda, including protecting millions of young immigrants from deportation.

One close Trump ally, Republican Representative Mark Meadows of North Carolina, said late Thursday that the declaration was "inevitable".