President Donald Trump said to reporters on Friday that he had the power to declare a national emergency in order to get his promised border wall under construction as Democrats continue to stonewall his project.
Trump responded to a question from a reporter about the possibility of going around Congress to get his wall built.
"Have you considered using emergency powers to grant yourself authorities to build this wall without congressional approval?" the reporter asked.
"Yes I have," responded the president, "yes I have, and I could do it if I want."
"So you don't need congressional approval to build the wall?" asked the reporter.
"No," Trump answered. "We could use them, absolutely, we could call a national emergency because of the security of our country, absolutely. We can do it, I haven't done it, I may do it, I may do it."
"But we can call a national emergency and build it very quickly," he explained.
"And it's another way of doing it," Trump added, "but if we can do it through a negotiated process, we're giving that a shot.
"So is that a threat hanging over the Democrats?" the reporter followed up.
"I never threaten anybody," the president responded, "but I am allowed to do that, yes. Called a national emergency."
Trump spoke to the media after a two hour meeting with Democratic leaders about the partial shutdown of the government that was going into a third week.
Trump called the meeting "very very productive," while newly elected House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said that it grew "contentious" at times. Neither signaled that they were willing to back down in order to end the shutdown.
Democrats in the House passed a budget bill that contained no funding for the border wall, in a challenge to the president's ultimatum. He has said that he will not sign a bill unless it funded the project.
NBC News reporter Julia Ainsley said that the administration was "working out the details" on how the president could go around Congress to build the wall.