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Trump slams shutdown talks, says he's 'set the stage' for taking action on wall

Posted: 7:18 PM, Jan 31, 2019
Updated: 2019-01-31 22:18:41-05

President Donald Trump called the ongoing talks with congressional lawmakers to avoid another shutdown "a waste of time" on Thursday, and suggested he would circumvent them in order to fund his border wall in an interview with The New York Times .

"I think Nancy Pelosi is hurting our country very badly by doing what's she doing and, ultimately, I think I've set the table very nicely," Trump told The Times in an interview.

Declining to confirm whether he would declare a national emergency to acquire money to build the wall, he said, "I've set the table. I've set the stage for doing what I'm going to do."

Trump's move to end the shutdown last Friday marked the start of a new chapter in the border wall saga, kicking off three weeks of negotiations between Republicans and Democrats of both chambers in pursuit of an agreement on border security. If Trump does not find the deal delivered to him by Feb. 15 satisfactory, parts of the government may shut down again -- and he could declare a national emergency to fund the wall himself.

The President also addressed elements of the Russia investigation, including the involvement of his longtime former aide Roger Stone, during the Times interview. Special counsel Robert Mueller charged Stone last Thursday with seeking stolen emails from WikiLeaks in conjunction with senior Trump campaign officials in order to harm Trump's rivals.

"I never did" discuss WikiLeaks with Stone or direct anyone to coordinate with him on the matter, Trump told the Times.