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Trump signals he's willing to sign GOP-backed deal without wall cash to avoid shutdown, claims he'll still build 'a lot of wall'

2019-02-12

President Trump speaks during a cabinet meeting at the White House on Tuesday. (Evan Vucci / AP)

President Trump sent mixed messages Tuesday about a new bipartisan spending deal that would avert an imminent government shutdown, signaling he’s willing to sign the measure while at the same time saying he’s not “thrilled” about it.

Speaking during a Cabinet meeting at the White House, Trump said he “certainly” doesn’t “want to see” the government shut down again when funds run out Friday, indicating he’s ready to put his John Hancock on the Republican-approved agreement reached Monday night — which doesn’t include any taxpayer cash for the construction of a conventional wall on the Mexican border.

But Trump — who wants at least $5.7 billion for the border project he used to promise Mexico would pay for — made clear he’s not pleased.

“I can’t say I’m happy. I can’t say I’m thrilled,” he said of the massive spending legislation, which would bankroll the whole government through Sept. 20.

In a seeming reference to his national emergency threat, Trump added he’ll still be able to build “a lot of wall” by “supplementing things and moving things around” and taking money from “far less important areas.”

The President can’t take funds appropriated for specific purposes and use them for other initiatives.

However, he has long hinted he’s willing to declare emergency, which would in theory allow him to allocate money from the Pentagon budget and use it towards building a wall.

But Democrats and legal experts say such a declaration would invariably be rejected in the courts, especially since Trump has undermined his own sense of emergency by dragging the issue on for weeks.

This story will be updated