Schumer warns Trump to stay out of government funding negotiations

Senate Minority Leader Chuck SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerTrump, Democratic leaders go toe-to-toe at White House Overnight Energy — Sponsored by the National Biodiesel Board — Trump moves to ease Obama water rule | EPA document contradicts agency over water rule data| Manchin to be top Dem on Senate Energy panel Coal supporter Manchin named top Dem on Senate Energy Committee MORE (D-N.Y.) on Wednesday said President TrumpDonald John TrumpHouse Republicans move to block Yemen war-powers votes for rest of Congress Trump says he's considering 10 to 12 contenders for chief of staff Michael Flynn asks judge to spare him from jail time 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 McConnellOval Office clash ups chances of shutdown On The Money: Trump, Dems battle over border wall before cameras | Clash ups odds of shutdown | Senators stunned by Trump's shutdown threat | Pelosi calls wall 'a manhood thing' for Trump Mellman: Enemies of democracy MORE (R-Ky.) downplayed talk of a partial government shutdown on Wednesday.

Schumer also said Democrats want to ensure ActingMatthew G WhitakerFox's Kilmeade suggests David Bossie, Matthew Whitaker for chief of staff Comey’s confession: dossier not verified before, or after, FISA warrant Flake stands firm on sending a ‘message to the White House’ on Mueller MORE Attorney General Matt WhitakerMatthew G WhitakerFox's Kilmeade suggests David Bossie, Matthew Whitaker for chief of staff Comey’s confession: dossier not verified before, or after, FISA warrant Flake stands firm on sending a ‘message to the White House’ on Mueller 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