Trump visits Texas as border wall stalemate reaches day 20 of gov't shutdown

Trump says he'll "probably" declare a national emergency along border, government shutdown becomes one of the longest to date and former lawyer Michael Cohen plans to testify before Congress.
25:53 | 01/10/19

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Transcript for Trump visits Texas as border wall stalemate reaches day 20 of gov't shutdown
Happy Thursday you're joining us on the briefing room coming due from the Washington bureau of ABC news on jobs had QG alongside White House correspondent are pulmonary we are indeed twenty of the government shut down on the president today. Is down on the southern border he's taking it tore with border agents as he's trying to get Democrats on Capitol Hill. To pay for his border wall I do want to go right. TBC's chief national correspondent Matt Gutman he's been down there today as the president has been doing a strip Matt you know you you've been there for a few days you've been talking to officials down there just set the scene for us what are you seeing right down there the border right now. I will sentencing for you John I'm good to see again. Right now we're just at southern Cali airport and about a thousand yards from where we are as the president's plane its partners obviously. Heavy security there the entire town is in fact. Full sheriff's department officials Homeland Security Border Patrol you can see. Some of those elements behind is obviously have a heavily armed people. Try to make sure the president is safe. This is however one of the safest cities in America McAllen Texas has a murder rate in Forney eighteen of zero. The mayor here we'll have told him accord with what he told us is that. He doesn't think that they need the wall here he doesn't think that they want the wall here it will disrupt trade with Mexico. It's not necessary and it won't stop asylum seekers and asylum seekers are really. The major humanitarian concern. That's what the Border Patrol is dealing with that's what they're asking for help from the president to deal with and that's what we're told the Border Patrol will show the president. Where we were yesterday right along the river. Where about 807. 800 migrants mostly silent seekers cross every day and as soon as they stepped foot in the United States John Cage. Basically are granted permission to get there are silent proceeding moving. And that means that most of them will be released on their own recognizance before a a court date in the future years in the future. After about two or three days of detention and that's something that the Border Patrol is concerned about they are enforcing law but. That's also clearly what they're going to talk to the president about them. And I'm that a lot of these landowners they don't really want to give their land over to the government right now to build this wall right because that a lot of these people own the property where of the building what happened to the mayor mention anything about that. The mayor didn't mention specific landowners. I think that many of them actually sell their land it would it would be compensated if the border barrier went between their land and the river a lot of the river a lot of the Rio Grande area is actually wildlife preserve. It state owned and federal loans and protected so. That would be an issue everywhere there are certain environmental issues flooding issues that people of talked about. I think all of this remains to be worked out fully we're not quite sure. What is the most accurate up to date assessment of the affects the long term effects of a border barrier here now what. The Border Patrol. He's talking about our. Those steel slats that the president has started to talk about an advocate for they want those steel slats. All the way from Brownsville where they exist about 55 miles of steel slats along the border. In the Rio Grande area where we are right now Border Patrol is 270. Miles. Of those steel slats those hikes. Basically the entirety of this sector and in other sectors as well. They are going to push for that obviously the president is gonna want to hear that because that's what he's been pushing for but in that round table in which he will just wrapped right about now. He's gonna get some push back from local politicians who are saying. We don't want him we don't need it not now maybe in certain places but certainly not everywhere Mr. President. And we. And we did he hear mats to this for a second we did hear from the president as he was getting rating Miki stripped down. A little earlier today he was talking about the battle going on right now for his wall let's take a listen to the present. And yet I may do it. Probably. Reported. They rolled off all the I think at 1030. Are you thought he did a great border security wicked. Real barrier. He's dead no. I didn't happen. Because I know of I don't. And I didn't give us voters. But. And growing back. That this felt good all of that way. All of that narrative. Easily get away and look again compromised I'll get a bag get it down from. Look at him. President from earlier today before heading down to the border let's bring any BC news contributor John Cohen he's the former deputy undersecretary. Of Homeland Security in the Obama administration John. Just to walk us through that first second those the president saying that he can declare a national emergency here he is saying it's a crisis we just saw Matt Gutman down there who's been talking to folks saying a wall in that area McAllen Texas is not gonna help. What is your impression knowing the area. Yes the president of the inactive does have the authority to declare a national emergency and over the past several administrations there have been Serb vote national emergencies actually declared. They after the September 11 attacks are we had 3000 people die. We had playing dollar across the country grounded. We did note there is another terrorist attack pending so that national emergency was declared. To Swine Flu. And even more recently. In response to overdosed some of the 2000 overdose deaths in this country because there are examples of the types of situations where. National emergencies have or should that should be declared. And the national emergency. Authorization process though is not intended to be used simply because you can't convince congress to fund. One of your political priorities and that's where I think they're serious question here. Because there are. Serious law enforcement issues that I have to be contended win at the southern border. The area has been a recent surge in families. Presenting themselves at the southern border. Seeking Asylum which have stretched resources since. But whether that reaches a level a book about national security. Porsche humanitarian crisis remains to be seen. Don how what does Christ is any different than what you dealt with storing the Obama administration when they're actually more border crossings. Cabinet O years that's exactly right when we went out of date the I department homeland security and I was ever about five years. There were multiple. Situations. Whether. Had to do we had an increase in unaccompanied minors at the southern border. An increase in people Seeking Asylum. Some spike in border crossings or even other situations such as increased homicides. In Puerto Rico. Who you know in that apartment was designed to deal wit. These types of situations and it was and always intended to operate in the way so that. When you haven't a major event or her or a major threat situation the department's resources would be combined brought together. And apply cannot holistic way to deal with the problem. I that was being present itself in some respects. There is a very you know there's a serious challenge down there at the border right now in particular as it relates to what may have a saying the process and these people who. Are Seeking Asylum. But what isn't happening from at least from what I can say is that the department has brought together resources from across the department. An across the federal government in order to deal led. That this increase in people and that's good pounding the issue. And that -- men let me go back Hugh area before you have to leave us no way it not only just sitting Maggie you've done extensive reporting down there you were traveling along with that caravan that was several months ago on the news president's saying. According hand there's another one forming now mean just give people a sense snapped because you spend so much time. Would those people for several weeks just hearing their stories me. The people that are coming in what was the sense that you've got from them. It depends where they come from and how long they've been on the road John but. The people in the caravan many of and said that they were fleeing violence but a lot. People were coming for economic purposes because they wanted to give their children a better life and that's what we are finding for about a mixed bag of people and I think what. We're understanding now and from talking to asylum seekers who are now in the processing center where we toward yesterday. By the way just an aside. John was talking about when he fourteen. Where there was literally overflow of families and children at these processing centers that was a national emergency they had no word with the and they were literally putting children in the Sally ports. A border boat patrols nations. And with border patrols concerned about now is they're gonna write with similar situation because they are underfunded because they are understaffed. Don't have enough medics those are the situations that we are starting to see now and that's why we're talking about the Border Patrol asking for so many more resource is now. Back to what these people are looking for. By larger looking for better life many of them are fleeing violence but not all of them. And what's interesting is the track that they're willing to go through. And in door. The suffering. We talked to a Nicaraguan Fam that it was apprehended at the border yesterday just a few miles from where we are a mother and three of her children her son is university student. In Tegucigalpa. And he fears a crackdown by the government which is now cracking down on dissidents. That's why she said they are here and it took them three months to get here from Nicaragua. She was exhausted and she was very emotional beginning to cry. When she was loaded into the Border Patrol vehicle. And so for many of the people you know coming here is in the beginning of something it's also the end of a very very long and arduous journey. And the question is what happens then after they're released. From Customs and Border Protection and many cases after just two or three days in detention they're released and their own recognizance and this family said they wanted to go to Miami. And more than likely that's where they're going to be in just a couple of days from now and that's something that a lot of people in this area and other Americans are saying. Just doesn't make sense of these people are released by the thousands into the US but that is. And I'm going long here but that is based court ruling that was instituted in 1997 the floors agreement re amended and and 2014. After that massive influx of families and children. So they are trying to protect families buying trend they don't have to stay in the detention centers. For too long John. Yet when it's something that that leaders here definitely talking about the floor as management and Matt gotten in on the border thank you very much we appreciate. Your insights are as always in good to see you as well Jon Cohen before. We let you go budget is one thing that bit yeah well we were talking little earlier today I wanna put up. I'm a tweet from according producer for a White House unit just an official on EEE was actually talking about this presentation. The president from blow was getting earlier from Border Patrol. Agents and one of the things we're seeing the agent airport point to John of you could see you with us but. She's talking that all the things that are confiscated. In ports of entries she's talking about drugs cash checks that are a but these are things that on you know didn't. Let's get caught because of no wall there were normal ports of entry or through tunnels but Nancy clothes he was talking about I mean. Eddie it is sort of interesting that that right there the information in what. We're seeing the administration trying to push is the problem. Are exactly adding. Now I mean I think that there I didn't even before he left on this trip he the president mentioned that that this drugs coming into the country or not coming in. I think he said the portals but I believe he meant the ports of entry that's impacting consistent way. Hit what his drug enforcement administration and his own GDP. And I are reporting. There are significant amount of drug succumb to the United States from the south. The heroin methamphetamine cocaine marijuana but the overwhelming majority of those drugs either com. Concealed in load vehicles which are trucks cars. Campers that had hidden compartments or hidden bank or concealed in legitimate cargo are coming through. The port of entry. When they're not coming to the port of entry. The majority of such that the rest of the drug say they're coming through the Caribbean. Or the Pacific transit zones or by commercial air when I was a police officer working narcotics and Southern California. We're much more concerned about tractor trailers bring up 510. You know 151000. Kilos of cocaine then somebody carrying a backpack with five or six kilos on their back crossing. The frontier part of the borders so. You know it's the major challenge it is. Illegal drugs coming into the ports of entry and aboard a while justice gonna have no impact on that whatsoever. Well Jon Cohn we appreciate your expertise on this every step of the way we know you'll be keeping in touch with us in. We'll certainly be keeping in touch with you Jon Cohen ABC news is we appreciate thank you very much there let's move on as we're talking that parody twenty. I'm of the government shut down it seems like it's going to keep going tomorrow big day because nobody's gonna get there. And assistance is scared for families are leaving paycheck to paycheck great. Ryan a lot of action a lot of these workers will miss their first paycheck this week they've been able to get five I. Being paid every two weeks and they were collecting their paychecks from December but now that it's the new year a lot of them won't be paid so you'll hear even louder voices I'm shore. Also. There's going to be the issue of TSA more traveling. These people are there I was having issue with recruitment right now they may be losing. Workers and his will to slow down the wait times in the airports and you'll care even louder outcry from people who maybe not directly affected but. Are in directly affect and let's go to. Following members around trying to throw what's going on treasure we we know from chock Schumer Nancy Pelosi they went in they ran out the president. Confirms what he tweeted yesterday he said bye bye and left the room where does it stand right now we know the vice president was on the hill earlier today. Nothing seems to have happened hey guys it's positively Graham. Mood around this place. One of our producers ran into senator Lindsey Graham he basically said I'm done I can't find a way forward I don't know what we're doing and I'm it would seem that. This there were some negotiations going on behind the scenes Gramm a top trump ally as he now. He was trying to get some Republican senators some of the more moderate ones who won and this government shut down. And trying to get them in the same room we saw them last night Jared Kushner even traveled to the hill the talk to them. And there they were trying to sort of put doc. Into some kind of emergency supplemental to try to get the president money right away. But the docket six is just right now a no go for the White House. We had one of our other producers in a pen and pad briefing with vice president pence. I'm he's up here with Kellyanne Conway still it feels like he has a left. But he's not making any headway he's now he's talking to reporters in telling them look the president wants to see what the supreme court's gonna do about doc so we don't want that in part of effects so basically Wendy Gramm. He disturb his hands and said I'm go to the jam I don't know what we're doing and meanwhile at 2 o'clock. The senate just took a class vote and they're done. For that we met. They're confident in the White House that the Supreme Court will go in their favor say don't really think see it as a bargaining chip. And then you also have the issue in presidential was hounded this morning are you going to invite Pelosi and Schumer back to the White House since yesterday went so well yeah you can say and no answer from that so if he said that the only thing will who can actually. And they shut down our him Nancy Pelosi and Schumer that is. And when will it added. And I am furious Tara remembering Jordan Phelps and this conversation in the seconds over at the White House for us today the terror shouldn't your reporting I mean what is your sense. Mike prince's role of this because he's been sent up to the hill he's up there right now nutritious have a Kellyanne Conway. He did meetings over the weekend with staffers I mean he's sort of seems to be the trump chief negotiator in the. This one's a negotiator about any powerhouse. Because he's caught he's come to the hill before he's offered lower than the five point six billion dollars that president from is now. Holding firm on and president trump. Date they were reluctant to accept. His offered that the Democrats and that because they don't know that he has the full backing of the president that he might change his mind there's a lot of lost trust between them. And so if the president is flat out saying only I can fix says it then why are you sending Penn sees as a goodwill diplomat on the hell he's lost all the good well. Right let's bring Jordan Phelps and she's over at the White House for us Jordan we were talking earlier about. The state of play if you will will he or won't he maybe definitely I think it will buzz that regarding a national emergency. One are we hearing at this moment where does it seem like that. Idea is heading. Yet that's where we see and the president said as he left for taxes where he is now he just arrived at the border where he's gonna get a tour with Border Patrol agents there. As he sat out on the front lines. But things haven't moved at all and yesterday the president walked out of that meeting back he began by handing out Snickers butter fingers. An inning ends ends you know basically threw his hands up. At this situation you know the precedent it's teens is waiting for Democrats to come to him. Abbott the president the problem here from a negotiating standpoint is. The president is the one who really want something they're both sides want to reopen the government right but the president is the only one who wants this wall. And has now as we are in date money the only thing that's changed is the president is down here. On the border providing him another opportunity to build this PR case essentially for his law. Yet the one thing we all gotta agree on here nobody makes a deal for butter finger let let's just put that in bad nobody eats those settings but. But Jordan Jordan one more thing from you before you leave us you know it is or has watching images now president from down on the border getting briefed by local officials there. I'm he's joined by a couple members of the senate as well I see Ted Cruz over shoulder. You know just. At this moment. Jordan the people that are working on this in the White House we obviously think of anything that involves the wall as Stephen Miller who else is on this team right now it's coalescing around the president for this one. The sticking point here John is the White House Counsel's Office the lawyers the people who tell the president whether or not he can legally make something work in the president insists that those lawyers have told him he has complete authority which then Bakes the question well why haven't you just Donnie are ready eyes and we know that the lawyers keep going over events. And keep trying to find a way for the president to move ahead with this but clearly John their some sort of holed up. I because it hasn't happened yet. We'll be watching it all Jordan fell to the White House Trish turner on Capitol Hill thank you both we appreciate it and and in one of the things we've been talking about for most the show most last couple weeks is the effect. On government workers we know there is we were just talking about come Friday in many of them are not going to be getting paychecks and ABC's Steve those in Sami spoke to one of those workers this person is an air traffic controller down in Atlanta till a thriller about their story with Steve. Everybody's got financial obligations. And you start looking at the real possibility that what if I can't meet those financial obligations I mean nobody wants to lose their house nobody wants to lose their. Or hear our eyes. That you you can only those autopsy income you can only those on the even that it appeared at a short term loan possibility engaging in decades well let's say we get to pay it back pay. Singling him out and act like you think he's become an eat your heart rendering yours you're sitting at. At some point he is I had. What you do. And we're gonna now turn for more recent numbers are right I ABC's and clarity has been reporting on this for the past twenty AS what's the latest fan. Hi Jon hand eye hair out so there's a real irony in all of those switches that. This shutdown has the potential to really hurt the economy which obviously it's not Trump's golf. But we're talking about one point two billion dollars in losses each week according to that standards and pours and then we're also. Looking at the last and there's a sustained shutdowns Aston it was anywhere between two and six billion dollars of an impact. The other irony in this of course is that the shutdown has crippled immigration courts a lot of the people who Matt was telling you about get a showing up at the border. Trying to get to the border those people who process those asylum claims. A lot of them have been furloughed so that's been crippled as well we've seen other impacts. Obviously it national parks there they're trying very hard to keep their doors open. But they're having serious imitation and safety issues and then we're also coming up und taxis and that's coming up in two and a half short weeks. We had a major tax reform bill last year and the question is if you call the Harris with questions his going to be there to answer it. And and before we let you go you in your team are obviously tracking this and the impact across all of the government agencies. Just what you're seeing and I mean come Friday as you said no paychecks were gonna hit 21 the weekend it's the longest government shut down we've ever seen. What do you think is going to be that next first thing if you will as we enter this next act. That people are really gonna start to see and noticed that there is a shut down happening. You know that that's an interesting question we we're kinda agencies and they're not giving us a whole lot of information they keep saying well we're okay this week let's talk next week. One agency official told me you know. We're really okay until February that's when we start have to dig into the couch cushions. But I think dire it's tax season is when it's what we're really is gonna become apparent they have to come up with a plan on dealing. With a very busy taxing season with that new lot that's going to be one of the things that I think we're going to be watching very closely. ABC's and clarity in the team are watching it and thank you very much we appreciate it coming back inside the briefing room quickly we got an idol update today. One Donald Trump's friends going to the hell. Right house oversight committee wants to with Michael Cohen it's something that they've signaled they wanted to speak to him after he was. Sentenced and you know accepted his sentencing so he will be heading to the hell before he goes to Dallas to tell his story. Any release a statement earlier today he said in further and ends on my commitment to cooperate and provide the American people with answers I have accepted the invitation of chairman Cummings who appear. Publicly on February 7 before the committee on oversight and government reform that was a statement from Michael Cohen to ABC news he also says that look forward to having the privilege of being offered. Afforded rather a platform which to provide to give a full and credible account of the events which have transpired so will be doing a February 7. Half half half half we'll all be on the hill that's your head trying to stake out Michael Cohen and congressman it's my not be an open hearing to. You know it sounds like it's public actually that were ending it to your point Tara that's right mean most these hearings with these individuals have been closed or private hearings on it actually is quite rare to see any of these individuals. In public testimony but we know that under this new democratic congress they have said that they are going to call people back many of whom had testified previously behind closed doors. And now the Democrats get to choose the rules if it's an open hearing are not so the public can hear their stories. Can hear contracts on all of. You can catch the latest anytime at Or download. BBC news app for Tara Palmieri I'm John Sanjay gee thanks for joining us today you're watching ABC news.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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