January 9, 2019 / 5:29 PM / 8 months ago

Trump: I have 'absolute right' to declare emergency over border

U.S. President Donald Trump talks to reporters about the U.S. border as he participates in a signing ceremony for the “Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act” in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, U.S., January 9, 2019. REUTERS/Leah Millis

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump said on Wednesday he has a right to declare a national emergency if no deal with Congress can be reached on government funding legislation that includes money for a southern border wall.

Trump called on lawmakers to pass legislation with funding to secure the U.S. border with Mexico, hours before he was scheduled to meet with congressional leaders at the White House.

Speaking at the White House, Trump said he may have to turn to a “different manner” to move forward with his long-promised wall, amid the 19-day-old partial government shutdown if Republicans and Democrats cannot work together to resolve the funding standoff.

Trump said he did not declare a national emergency during a televised address on Tuesday night because he thought a deal with Congress was possible.

“Because I think we might work a deal, and if we don’t, I may go that route. I have the absolute right to do national emergency if I want,” Trump said.

Reporting by Roberta Rampton; Writing by Doina Chiacu; Editing by Alistair Bell

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