Schumer warns Trump to stay out of government funding negotiations

Senate Minority Leader Chuck SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerHillicon Valley: House Dems subpoena full Mueller report | DOJ pushes back at 'premature' subpoena | Dems reject offer to view report with fewer redactions | Trump camp runs Facebook ads about Mueller report | Uber gets B for self-driving cars Dem legal analyst says media 'overplayed' hand in Mueller coverage Former FBI official praises Barr for 'professional' press conference MORE (D-N.Y.) on Wednesday said President TrumpDonald John TrumpThorny part of obstruction of justice is proving intent, that's a job for Congress Obama condemns attacks in Sri Lanka as 'an attack on humanity' Schiff rips Conway's 'display of alternative facts' on Russian election interference 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 McConnellSenate Republicans tested on Trump support after Mueller Anti-smoking advocates question industry motives for backing higher purchasing age Former Bush assistant: Mueller report makes Obama look 'just plain bad' 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