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.

“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 RyanRepublicans are avoiding gun talks as election looms The Hill's 12:30 Report Flake to try to force vote on DACA stopgap plan MORE (R-Wis.), Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellLawmakers feel pressure on guns Bipartisan group of House lawmakers urge action on Export-Import Bank nominees Curbelo Dem rival lashes out over immigration failure MORE (R-Ky.), House Minority Leader Nancy PelosiNancy Patricia D'Alesandro PelosiLawmakers feel pressure on guns Former Pelosi challenger: I have no 'interest in running for leadership again' Congress punts fight over Dreamers to March MORE (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerDemocrats now attack internet rules they once embraced Schumer: Trump budget would ‘cripple’ gun background checks Schumer: Senate Republicans' silence 'deafening' on guns, Russia 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.