Trump says government shutdown 'could happen'

President Trump said Wednesday a government shutdown could happen and argued that Democrats should shoulder the blame if Congress fails to pass a funding bill.

"It could happen," Trump said when asked about the chances of a shutdown. “The Democrats are really looking at something that is very dangerous to our country. They are looking at shutting down.”

Speaking to reporters at the White House, Trump accused Democrats of impeding talks on a spending deal with demands on immigration.

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“They want to have illegal immigrants pouring into our country, bringing with them crime. Tremendous amounts of crime,” the president said.

“We don’t have to have that. We want to have a great, beautiful, crime-free country. And we want people to coming into our country, but we want them to come on our basis."

Trump's warning came as lawmakers on Capitol Hill are scrambling to pass a funding measure before the Dec. 8 shutdown deadline.

The president is set to meet Thursday with Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanMcConnell names Senate GOP tax conferees House Republican: 'I worry about both sides' of the aisle on DACA Overnight Health Care: 3.6M signed up for ObamaCare in first month | Ryan pledges 'entitlement reform' next year | Dems push for more money to fight opioids MORE (R-Wis.), Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellGOP strategist donates to Alabama Democrat McConnell names Senate GOP tax conferees Brent Budowsky: A plea to Alabama voters MORE (R-Ky.), House Minority Leader Nancy PelosiNancy Patricia D'Alesandro PelosiMcConnell names Senate GOP tax conferees Abortion-rights group endorses Nadler in race to replace Conyers on Judiciary Trump rips Dems a day ahead of key White House meeting MORE (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerAmerica isn't ready to let Sessions off his leash Schumer celebrates New York Giants firing head coach: ‘About time’ GOP should reject the left's pessimism and the deficit trigger MORE (D-N.Y.) to discuss a spending deal. 

Schumer and Pelosi pulled out of a White House meeting last week after Trump said "I don't see a deal."

Several high-profile Democrats have threatened to vote against a spending bill if Congress does not address immigrants who may lose their protections to live and work in the U.S. due to Trump’s decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Program (DACA). 

Republican leaders have said they will not consider a DACA fix as part of a government funding package. 

The White House has called for tougher immigration controls and more border-security measures in return for relief for DACA recipients.

Democrats have rejected the notion they would shoulder blame for a shutdown, pointing out Republicans control both chambers of Congress and the White House.

With Democrats and Republicans at odds on a broader spending bill, lawmakers are working to pass a stopgap measure to keep the government open and buy more time for negotiations.

But that process has been stalled by complaints from conservative House Republicans over a funding strategy.

This report was updated at 12:38 p.m.