Schumer warns Trump to stay out of government funding negotiations

Senate Minority Leader Chuck SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerNational emergency declaration — a legal fight Trump is likely to win House Judiciary Dems seek answers over Trump's national emergency declaration Mandatory E-Verify: The other border wall MORE (D-N.Y.) on Wednesday said President TrumpDonald John TrumpGillibrand backs federal classification of third gender: report Former Carter pollster, Bannon ally Patrick Caddell dies at 68 Heather Nauert withdraws her name from consideration for UN Ambassador job 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 McConnellDems ready aggressive response to Trump emergency order, as GOP splinters Green New Deal Resolution invites big picture governing ‘Contingency’ spending in 3B budget deal comes under fire 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 Swan MuellerSasse: US should applaud choice of Mueller to lead Russia probe 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