President Trump says he wants immigrants to come from 'everywhere'

On Capitol Hill, DHS Secretary Kristjen Nielsen was asked about what she'd heard during a recent immigration meeting.
3:31 | 01/17/18

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Transcript for President Trump says he wants immigrants to come from 'everywhere'
thanks to you. Meantime, across town, the fireworks on capitol hill, heated words over immigration, the dreamers and the president's profane comments. In fact, the head of homeland security testifying under oath, grilled about why she could not specifically remember the president's words from the oval office. And how she answered when asked, Norway is a predominantly white country, isn't it? ABC's Mary Bruce on the hill tonight. Reporter: In the oval office today, president trump tried to extinguish the racial firestorm he ignited, saying he welcomes all immigrants. I want them to come in from everywhere, everywhere. Reporter: But on capitol hill, his dhs secretary kristjen Nielsen faced a barrage of questions. She was in the room when sources say the president used a vulgar slur to describe African countries. You're under oath. Did president trump use this word or a substantially similar word to describe certain countries? I did not hear that word used, no, sir. I'm not -- that's not the question. Did he use anything similar to that describing certain countries? The conversation was very impassioned. I don't dispute the president was using tough language. Reporter: That answer didn't satisfy democratic senator dick Durbin, who was also in the room with the president. What was that strong language? Ah, let's see. Strong language, there was -- I -- apologies, I don't remember specific words. What I was struck with, frankly, as I'm sure you were, as well, was just the general profanity that was used in the room by almost everyone. Reporter: But it's not just the specific word sparking outrage. According to senator Durbin, president trump also asked why the U.S. Couldn't take in more immigrants from Europe, Norway in particular. What he was specifically referring to is the prime minister telling him that the people of Norway work very hard. Norway is a predominantly white country, isn't it? I actually do not know that, sir. But I imagine that is the case. Reporter: Senator Cory booker seething with anger and frustration. Your silence and your amnesia is complicity. Reporter: The focus of the oval office showdown, a bipartisan plan to protect the nearly 800,000 undocumented immigrants brought here as children. Durbin says when the president's tone turned vulgar and racist, graham confronted him. I think dick Durbin has been one of the best people you could ever hope to work with. Reporter: Durbin and Republican Lindsey graham say the president seemed to be onboard with their plan, but then he changed his mind. If the president is watching, I'm still in the phone book. Don't give my number out, but call me. This has turned into a s-show, and when need to get back to being&a great country. Reporter: Later, graham blasted the mixed messages coming from the white house. What we need to do better is a reliable partner at the white house. We cannot do this with people in charge at the white house who have an irrational view of how to fix immigration. Mary Bruce with us live on the hill tonight. Mary, the homeland security secretary was pressed on whether she had ever met with dreamers, had she ever met a dreamer herself. And what are the chances at this point of a government shutdown? Reporter: David, the secretary says she has not yet met with any DACA recipients. Now, as for a shutdown, Republicans are pushing for a short-term extension while Democrats want to tie any action on dreamers to a must-pass spending bill. Both sides are optimistic that they can come to an agreement, but bottom line, David a shutdown here is a real possibility.

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

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