Graham says Trump declaring national emergency ‘definitely on the table’

Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamJudiciary chairman issues subpoena for full Mueller report The Hill's Morning Report — Mueller aftermath: What will House Dems do now? Barr to allow some lawmakers to review less-redacted Mueller report as soon as next week MORE (R-S.C.) said Wednesday that President TrumpDonald John TrumpGrassroots America shows the people support Donald Trump Trump speaks to rebel Libyan general attacking Tripoli Dem lawmaker: Mueller report shows 'substantial body of evidence' on obstruction MORE is "very inclined" to declare a national emergency to obtain the necessary funds to build a border wall.

“It’s definitely on the table, I’ll let him tell you whether or not he’s going to do it, but he’s very inclined to go that route,” Graham, a staunch ally of Trump, told reporters on Capitol Hill.

Trump has for weeks raised the prospect of declaring a national emergency to sidestep Congress and build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.

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The White House has maintained that Trump will build the wall regardless of the final details in a plan to avert another partial government shutdown later this week.

Bipartisan congressional negotiators have reached a budget deal ahead of the Feb. 15 funding deadline that allocates $1.375 billion for a border barrier.

That figure is well below the $5.7 billion Trump demanded during the previous record-long government shutdown, which ended Jan. 25 with a bill fully reopening the government for three weeks.

Speculation has increased that Trump may back the current funding deal and then declare a national emergency to pull funds from the Pentagon to make up the difference for a border barrier. Fox News host Sean Hannity, a Trump confidant, floated such a move earlier this week.

“We want to see what the final piece of legislation looks like. It’s hard to say definitively whether or not the president is going to sign it until we know everything that’s in it,” White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters on Wednesday. 

“The president isn’t fully happy, as he said yesterday, with everything that’s in the legislation, but there are some positive pieces of it,” Sanders added. “At the end of the day the president is going to build the wall.”

Trump has railed against other budget proposals that did not meet his demands for border wall funding. However, he appears set to sign the current agreement in order to avoid another partial government shutdown after several surrogates suggested doing so would not anger his base.

“I’m not going to be disappointed in the president,” Rep. Mark MeadowsMark Randall MeadowsThe Hill's Morning Report — Mueller aftermath: What will House Dems do now? Mueller report poses new test for Dems Washington in frenzy over release of Mueller report MORE (R-N.C.), the chairman of the conservative House Freedom Caucus and a staunch ally of the president, told “Fox & Friends” on Wednesday. “I’m disappointed in Congress. The president wants to keep the government open. If he uses this as a vehicle so be it.”

“I spoke to him last night. There’s a lot of if'ing going on — if he can actually spend the money on barriers as he would like in places he would like, and if there’s no real cap on detention bed space for violent criminals, I think the president’s inclined to accept the agreement and move on and find money elsewhere,” Graham added Wednesday.

The South Carolina Republican had suggested Tuesday that he thinks Trump could both transfer money from other government accounts and declare a national emergency in order to get the border wall funds.

“There's some accounts that you would not need to declare an emergency over to acmes for barriers but I don't know if it gets you to $5.7 billion ... I think he'll probably do both,” he said.