The president, when asked by ABC News’ senior national correspondent Terry Moran during a press conference, acknowledged that he would consider declaring a national emergency to help get funds to build the wall “for the security of our country.”
Trump did not elaborate on the details of such a process.
Earlier Friday, multiple sources familiar with the ongoing discussion told ABC News that options could include reprogramming funds from the Department of Defense and elsewhere — a move which would circumvent Congress.
Sources tell ABC News the discussions are still on the “working level” adding that there’s a range of legal mechanisms that are being considered before such a decision is announced.
The discussions have intensified as the president is now 14 days into a partial government shutdown, facing newly empowered House Democrats who are refusing to budge issue of wall funding. “We are not doing a wall,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Thursday, calling the proposed structure an “immorality.”
The administration is holding meetings Friday, through the weekend and into next week, to continue discussions on next steps, according to officials.
It was not immediately clear who would be part of those meetings.
On Friday, the president said he had had a “productive” and “very, very good meeting” after talks with top Democrats and other congressional leaders at the White House in an effort to end the partial government shutdown now heading into the third week. Just minutes earlier, Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer told reporters outside the White House that Trump told lawmakers in their nearly hour and a half meeting that he is prepared to keep the government closed “for a very long period of time, months or even years.”
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called the meeting “contentious.”
One administration official described the current executive action under consideration as clearing the way for the construction of roughly 115 miles of new border wall strictly on land owned by DoD, which would make up roughly 5 percent of the more than 2,000-mile border.