Schumer warns Trump to stay out of government funding negotiations

Senate Minority Leader Chuck SchumerChuck SchumerPostal Service says it lost .2 billion over three-month period A three-trillion dollar stimulus, but Chuck Schumer for renewable energy — leading businesses want to change that Democrats try to force Trump to boost medical supplies production MORE (D-N.Y.) on Wednesday said President TrumpDonald John TrumpJoe Arpaio loses bid for his old position as sheriff Trump brushes off view that Russia denigrating Biden: 'Nobody's been tougher on Russia than I have' Trump tees up executive orders on economy but won't sign yet MORE should keep out of government spending negotiations or risk a partial shutdown in December when funding expires.

“We believe if President Trump stays out of the appropriations process we can have a good, bipartisan agreement and the government can move smoothly forward,” Schumer told reporters shortly after Democratic senators reelected him to lead the party in the 116th Congress.

Funding for several federal agencies, including the Department of Homeland Security, is set to expire on Dec. 7. Trump has called for Congress to fully fund his proposed wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.

But when asked last week whether he would pursue a shutdown if the wall isn’t fully funded, Trump replied, “Not necessarily.”

At issue in the upcoming negotiations is whether Democrats will agree to spend more than $1.6 billion on border security measures.

“The Democrats and Republicans came to the $1.6 billion agreement. It is tough security. It is sensors. It is drones. It is roads. It is help at the border in a far more effective way than the wall,” Schumer said. “And we believe Democrats and Republicans should stick with their agreement and not let President Trump interfere. Every time he interferes, it gets bollixed up.”

"The Republicans are in charge, and if the government shuts down, it's on their back,” Schumer warned.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellCoronavirus talks collapse as negotiators fail to reach deal Pelosi, Schumer say White House declined T coronavirus deal COVID-19 bill limiting liability would strike the wrong balance MORE (R-Ky.) downplayed talk of a partial government shutdown on Wednesday.

Schumer also said Democrats want to ensure Acting Attorney General Matt WhitakerMatthew G WhitakerEx-federal prosecutor: 'Thank God' Whitaker is gone, Barr will bring 'integrity' back to DOJ GOP pollster says Dems are relitigating 2016 election with investigations of Trump Former senior FBI official calls Whitaker hearing ‘disgraceful’ MORE does not intervene in special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) MuellerCNN's Toobin warns McCabe is in 'perilous condition' with emboldened Trump CNN anchor rips Trump over Stone while evoking Clinton-Lynch tarmac meeting The Hill's 12:30 Report: New Hampshire fallout MORE’s Russia probe.

“We want to make sure that the acting attorney general does not interfere with the Mueller investigation, and we believe our Republican colleagues can -- will join us,” Schumer said.

McConnell, however, said there’s no need to take steps to protect Mueller’s investigation.

“I've talked to the president fairly often -- no indication that the Mueller investigation will not be allowed to finish,” McConnell said on Wednesday. “And it should be allowed to finish. We know how the president feels about the Mueller investigation, but he's never said he wants to shut it down. I've never heard anybody down there say they want to shut it down. I think it's in no danger, and so I don't think any legislation's necessary.”

— Molly K. Hooper