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.

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“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 RyanDemocrat Katie Porter unseats GOP's Mimi Walters Amazon fleeced New York, Virginia with HQ2 picks The Hill's Morning Report — Presented by T-Mobile — House, Senate leaders named as Pelosi lobbies for support to be Speaker MORE (R-Wis.), Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellSenators introduce Trump-backed criminal justice bill On The Money: Senior GOP senator warns Trump against shutdown | Treasury sanctions 17 Saudis over Khashoggi killing | HQ2 deal brings new scrutiny on Amazon | Senate confirms Bowman to Fed board Senior GOP senator warns Trump against partial shutdown MORE (R-Ky.), House Minority Leader Nancy PelosiNancy Patricia D'Alesandro PelosiDem lawmaker: 'There's plenty of competent females' that can be Speaker instead of Pelosi Marcia Fudge under spotlight as Pelosi Speaker fight heats up Election Countdown: Florida Senate race heads to hand recount | Dem flips Maine House seat | New 2020 trend - the 'friend-raiser' | Ad war intensifies in Mississippi runoff | Blue wave batters California GOP MORE (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerFacebook reeling after damning NYT report Schumer warns Trump to stay out of government funding negotiations Schumer predicts Nelson will 'continue being senator' if 'every vote counted' 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.