President Trump is putting the odds at less than "50-50" that the group of lawmakers tasked with putting together a deal on border security will agree on one before the short-term deal to fund the government ends in less than three weeks. He said in an interview with The Wall Street Journal, "I personally think it's less than 50-50, but you have a lot of very good people on that board."
Mr. Trump said even if a deal does emerge from ongoing talks, he doesn't believe it would be one he could accept. He also vowed to get a southern border wall built in any event, even if it means declaring a national emergency.
The longest government shutdown in U.S. history ended Friday, enabling hundreds of thousands of federal employees who had been furloughed or who were working without pay to go back to work Monday. Acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney told CBS News' "Face the Nation" workers could see their paychecks by the end of this week.
The 35-day shutdown, which closed several federal agencies and departments, concluded without any funding being provided for the wall the president has long sought. Now, the group of bipartisan conferees, drawn from the Senate and House Appropriations Committees, must work out an agreement by mid-February.
It isn't clear whether failure to do that would result in another government shutdown. The president views it as a possibility, saying it's "certainly an option."
Mr. Trump, asked by the Journal whether he'd be willing to accept less than the $5.7 billion he's been demanding for the wall, or barrier, replied, "I doubt it," adding, "I have to do it right."
The areas of disagreement between the president and Democrats remain the same: He wants a border wall, which they oppose. They want a better deal for "dreamers," and Mr. Trump has been working to rescind protections put in place by his predecessor, President Obama.
Mr. Trump had offered one-time three-year legal status to Dreamers -- undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as children -- but Democrats want a path to permanent legal status or citizenship. That is seen as unlikely in the near term.
"I doubt it," Mr. Trump said, when asked if he would agree to trade citizenship Dreamers for wall funding. "That's a separate subject to be taken up at a separate time."