Trump leans toward declaring state of emergency on border

A US Customs and Border Patrol agent patrols a section of floating fence at sunset that runs through Imperial Sand Dunes along the international border with Mexico in Imperial County California

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McConnell, R-Ky., told Trump that Congress might end up passing a resolution disapproving the emergency declaration, the people said - which would force the president to contemplate issuing his first veto ever, in face of opposition from his own party.

Pelosi, by her stand against the wall, is costing the country hundreds of billions of dollars, Trump said.

Timothy Ballard, CEO of Operation Underground Railroad and Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen listen as President Trump speaks during an event on human trafficking in the Cabinet Room of the White House, Feb. 1, 2019, in Washington.

As he joined Pelosi in rebutting the president's January 8 Oval Office address, Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer of NY decried Trump's "ineffective, unnecessary border wall".

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"I'm certainly thinking about it", he said of declaring the emergency.

"I think Nancy Pelosi is hurting our country very badly by doing what she's doing and, ultimately, I think I've set the table very nicely", Mr. Trump said on Thursday in a wide ranging interview with The New York Times, referring to the Speaker of the House of Representatives. "We're spending a lot of money that we have on hand. But I can do it a lot faster the other way", the president said. "We've designed a much better-looking wall that is also actually a better wall, which is an interesting combination", he said.

While Trump stood on weak political ground demanding a wall which most Americans continue to oppose, an even larger majority opposes Trump declaring a national emergency to build it.

Construction of a border wall was one of Trump's signature 2016 campaign promises, and he repeatedly said at the time that Mexico would pay for it.

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Of all the Democrats' arguments against a southern border wall, the shadiest is that it would not work.

According to the Human Trafficking Legal Center, most foreign-born human trafficking victims enter the United States with legal visas believing they will be given a chance to work legitimate jobs. Asked if he expects the move to be challenged in courts, he said "well, we have very strong legal standing".

Meanwhile, Pelosi's office accused Trump of making reckless remarks. "The decision is ours to make", the president will say. The official would not say whether Trump would criticize Pelosi or Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer, his antagonists in the shutdown fight, by name in his address. Trump increasingly appears prepared to go that route, saying Friday that "I think there's a good chance we'll have to do that". "When you see today what's going on, people that aren't willing to do what they have to do, and they know what they have to do, they're doing the country a tremendous disservice".

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