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Trump says he won't use national emergency to build wall just yet


But he stressed that he could if he wanted to

Alex Wong/Getty Images

President Donald Trump said on Friday that he would not call a national emergency in order to build the wall. At least, not yet.

Here's what we know

On Thursday, Trump had commented that he would "probably" and "almost definitely" declare a national emergency to build the wall. Asked to clarify his comments by a reporter at the White House on Friday, Trump denied that he had used that phrasing, and said that was no longer his intention.

"No, I said I could do it," he said. "Well, I'll tell you why. It's the easy way out, but Congress should do this. This is too simple. It's too basic. And Congress should do this. If they can't do it. If, at some point, hey, just can't do it. This is a 15-minute meeting. If they can't do it, I will declare a national emergency."

While several prominent Republicans in Congress, including Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) have encouraged Trump to declare a national emergency, others have expressed concern that such a move would encourage future presidents to declare national emergencies to push their own policy goals through without congressional approval.

Even Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.), a Trump supporter who said he endorses the president's ability to make such a move, observed "I do see the potential for national emergencies being used for every single thing that we face in the future where we can't reach an agreement. That's the slippery slope that I'm concerned about."

What else?

On Saturday, the current government shutdown will become the longest in U.S. history at 22 days. Trump has said that he will refuse to sign any spending bill that does not include funding for a wall on the border between the United States and Mexico. Congress, where the House of Representatives is now controlled by Democrats, has shown little inclination to meet his demands.

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