Schumer: Trump agreed to keep Stephen Miller out of immigration meeting

Schumer: Trump agreed to keep Stephen Miller out of immigration meeting
© Greg Nash

Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerSchumer slams Justice Dept over 'pre-damage control' on Mueller report Overnight Health Care — Presented by PCMA — Sanders welcomes fight with Trump over 'Medicare for all' | DOJ attorney in ObamaCare case leaving | NYC mayor defends vaccination mandate | Ohio gov signs 'heartbeat' abortion bill Dems see room for Abrams in crowded presidential field MORE (D-N.Y.) said in a new interview that President TrumpDonald John TrumpHouse Dems demand Barr cancel 'inappropriate' press conference on Mueller report DOJ plans to release 'lightly redacted' version of Mueller report Thursday: WaPo Nadler accuses Barr of 'unprecedented steps' to 'spin' Mueller report MORE agreed to keep White House senior adviser Stephen Miller out of a recent White House meeting on immigration reform.

“I had suggested when [Trump] called that we just have four people in the room — myself, my chief of staff Mike Lynch, his chief of staff Gen. Kelly and the president,” Schumer told The New York Times podcast “The Daily”. “And I said if you’re going to have Stephen Miller there or somebody like that, it’s not going to work.”

“And [Trump] agreed.”

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The two men met last week in an attempt to avoid a government shutdown. After the meeting, Schumer said there were still a “good number of disagreements” with Trump on immigration and spending, but that progress had been made.

But Schumer says Trump called him later Friday, before the shutdown began, and the negotiations derailed.

“Several hours later he called back. He said, ‘So, I hear we have a three-week deal.’ I said, 'No, Mr. President, no one is even talking about a three-week deal,'” Schumer said Saturday.

The Democratic leader slammed Trump after the Senate failed to pass a short-term spending bill and the government shut down, saying negotiating with Trump is “like negotiating with Jell-O.”

“It’s next to impossible,” Schumer said. “As soon as you take one step forward, the hard-right forces the president three steps back.”

Democrats have repeatedly bristled at Miller’s participation in immigration talks, and Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamWhy Ken Cuccinelli should be Trump's choice for DHS Ten post-Mueller questions that could turn the tables on Russia collusion investigators GOP senators double down on demand for Clinton email probe documents MORE (R-S.C.) said Sunday that as long as Miller was part of the bipartisan negotiations on immigration, “we’re going nowhere.”

Miller, a former aide to Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsThe problem for Trump appointees Juan Williams: The high price of working for Trump Trump learns to love acting officials MORE when he was a senator, has long been a fierce advocate for cutting the flow of immigrants and refugees into the United States. He has become one of Trump's closest aides, with both policy and speechwriting duties.

During the negotiations with Trump, Schumer said he offered to discuss funding for Trump's proposed wall on the U.S.-Mexico border in exchange for protections for recipients of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

But on Tuesday, Schumer confirmed he had withdrawn the offer, saying immigration negotiations would “have to start on a new basis.”

The White House unveiled details of Trump’s immigration plan Thursday. The plan includes a path to citizenship for 1.8 million immigrants who are covered by DACA, as well as those who are eligible for DACA but did not apply.

The plan also includes $25 billion in funding for the border wall, as well as major changes to the legal immigration system.