Things That Matter

Trump Is Promising A Government Shutdown If He Doesn’t Get His Border Wall Funding

President Donald Trump has been demanding border wall funding since his presidential campaign. Now, he is threatening another government shut down if he doesn’t get the funding he wants. Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer and House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi jabbed with President Trump asking him if the possibility of a shutdown is an option if no legislative work towards border wall funding is pushed through. The President didn’t hesitate to say he would be “proud” to shut down parts of the government if it results in a border wall.

Congress is looking at another partial government shutdown deadline on December 21, and the hold-up is over Trump’s southern border wall.

President Trump wants $5 billion in funding for the wall but Democrats don’t want to budge on the $1.3 billion currently being allocated for border security funding. The proposed plan Pelosi and Schumer presented to the president didn’t include the $5 billion Trump has requested. Pelosi asserted that the House couldn’t pass any bill which includes $5 billion for border wall funding. This could all be leading to a showdown between Democrats and President Trump who may be forced to compromise a deal to avoid a government shutdown.

“I will be the one to shut it down,” Trump said to reporters. “I will take the mantle of shutting it down … I am proud to shut down the government for border security.”

This isn’t the first time the President has threatened a government shutdown over funding for his long-promised border wall, a signature campaign issue. He previously made statements claiming that “Mexico will pay for the wall,” but recently conceded that isn’t necessarily the case anymore.

According to a recent national poll, Americans would prefer to see the president compromise a deal to prevent a shutdown.

CREDIT: CREDIT: NPR

The poll, conducted by NPR, shows the majority of Americans — 57 percent to 36 percent — think the president should compromise on the wall to avoid a government shutdown. Most Americans oppose having a government shutdown over a wall and more than two-thirds (69 percent) don’t believe building a wall should even be a concern for Congress.

Irene Bloemraad, an immigration expert at UC Berkeley, says the average American could care less about a wall let alone spending $5 billion on it. She says social sciences evidence shows there’s no need for a wall and having one wouldn’t do much in terms of stopping people from entering the U.S.

“You can make the argument that using 5 billion to build a wall is a waste of money. This isn’t a conservative or progressive issue, it’s an American issue that either side can argue a better use for that money,” Bloemraad said. “Democrats can argue they money should be spent on education and Republicans on tax cuts, either way there’s more important needs right now.”

So why does President Trump keep calling for a wall if most Americans don’t want it and there isn’t the money for it?

The difference in the $1.3 billion in wall funding President Trump already has and the $5 billion in funding he’s asking for is $3.7 billion, which is nothing in the context of the $4 trillion federal budget. According to Vox, the $5 billion in funding Trump is asking for isn’t enough for a border wall. Estimates of the entire wall cost have ranged from $20 billion to $70 billion. That would mean an even bigger question mark on the reality of a border wall ever happening.

Louis DeSipio, a professor of political science at University of California, Irvine, says this all posturing by the President to please his base and make the border wall a hot topic issue heading into next week. DeSipio notes the President has done this before in his Presidency including right before the midterm elections last month.

“It a bunch of posturing by the President and it’s nothing new. He’s done it throughout his term and is using the border wall as a crutch against Democrats to make it look like they don’t want a safe border,” DeSipio said. ” But that can’t be anymore further from the truth.”

The big question next is will all this lead to a compromise between Democrats and the President to avoid a government shutdown?

With less than two weeks to go until the current round of government funding is set to expire, a deal is necessary to avoid a government shutdown. But who has the leverage here, Democrats or President Trump? Neither, according to DeSipio, who says Republicans have a lot of power here since they still have the majority in the House and Senate until the new year begins. He says that the president doesn’t have all the Republican votes yet and some don’t support that much spending on the wall, so in order to pass a new spending bill, he’d need all of their votes.

“This all might go down to the wire in terms of timing but there’s a reason why the President is doing this right now,” DiSipio says. “That’s because if there is a government shutdown the most ideal time would be during the holidays when not many government people are working.”

Bloemraad and DeSipio both agree that a compromise will happen to avoid a shutdown and that means Democrats supporting some funding for more fencing and border repairing but nothing serious like a border wall.

“The issue of immigration is the most consistent issue Trump has run on but it’s also been largely ineffective and the nation is very divided on this,” Bloemraad says. “Having a divided House of Representatives and Senate means trouble for the President and the border wall might have to be put on hold.”


READ: Religious Leaders Gathered At The Border And Confronted Agents For #LoveKnowsNoBorders

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President Trump’s Border Wall Blew Over In High Winds And Landed On Mexican Territory—Yes, You Read That Right

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President Trump’s Border Wall Blew Over In High Winds And Landed On Mexican Territory—Yes, You Read That Right

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A stretch of President Trump’s infamous border wall that was newly constructed in Calexico, California, collapsed and fell into Mexicalli, Mexico due to strong winds this Wednesday. “We have a very powerful wall,” said the president in November, but judging by the photos of the toppled over structure, it doesn’t really look like it. 

Newly installed panels from the US border wall fell over in high winds Wednesday, landing on trees on the Mexican side of the border.

Agent Carlos Pitones of the Customs and Border Protection sector in El Centro, California, told CNN that the section of the wall that gave into the wind had recently been set in a new concrete foundation in Calexico, California. The concrete had not yet cured, according to Pitones, and the wall panels were unable to withstand the weather conditions.

The structure landed on trees that prevented it from hitting the ground.

Police said it happened a little before 12 p.m. local time. A portion of the wall landed on the trees, preventing it from hitting the ground. It runs about 130 feet in length.

President Trump’s prized border wall succumbed to gusts of less than 40mph.

“Luckily, Mexican authorities responded quickly and were able to divert traffic from the nearby street,” US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agent Carlos Pitones said. Nobody is believed to have been injured.

The National Weather Service reported that winds in the area gusted as high as 37 mph Wednesday.

Video from CNN affiliate KYMA shows the metal panels leaning against the trees adjacent to a Mexicali, Mexico, street as the wind whips up dirt from the construction site on the other side of the border.

The fence is part of the Trump administration’s ongoing construction project to stop illegal migration across the 1,954 mile-long (3,145 km) US-Mexico border.

On Tuesday, Mr Trump declared at a campaign event in New Jersey that the wall was “going up at record speed.”A day later, the winds blew a section of newly installed panels against a road in Mexicali, on the Mexican side of the border.

When visiting a section of the wall in California last year, Mr Trump described its concrete and steel slats as “virtually impenetrable.”

Despite three years of slow progress, Trump has pledged to build 450 miles by 2021, in an attempt to boost his electoral chances later this year. While President Trump has often claimed the wall “can’t be climbed”, viral footage has shown multiple people climbing existing portions of the costly barrier, and to-scale replicas, with ease.

Even with funding, the administration will have to fight private landowners whose property may be seized to build barriers along the border.

As well as facing political and legal challenges, the Trump administration has also had to beat physical obstacles, filing three lawsuits towards the end of 2019 as part of efforts to seize US citizens’ property. The Department of Justice has said it’s preparing to file more lawsuits of the same nature, Associated Press reported in November.

The US president claimed he wasn’t familiar with a Washington Post report suggesting smugglers had cut through.

The Post’s report said that smugglers had succeeded in cutting through sections of the border wall using everyday household power tools. “I haven’t heard that. We have a very powerful wall”, President Trump said. “But no matter how powerful, you can cut through anything, in all fairness. But we have a lot of people watching.”

Customs and Border Protection says local Mexicali officials diverted traffic from the area of the accident, and the agency is working with the Mexican government on the next steps to right the wall. Pitones said it is not currently known how long the construction work in the area will need to be suspended in order to allow for cleanup.

As The Impeachment Trial Heats Up, Trump’s Defenders Start To Crack Under Pressure

Things That Matter

As The Impeachment Trial Heats Up, Trump’s Defenders Start To Crack Under Pressure

@themoteige / Twitter

On Dec. 18, just before Christmas, a gift arrived at the House of Congress, two articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump. After what seemed like an eternity of “will Trump ever be impeached?” the moment some Americans have been calling for finally came to fruition. Yet, the moment of justice against Trump was quickly fogged when Republicans began to attempt to derail the proceedings. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell made it perfectly clear that articles of impeachment presented from the House chamber to the Senate chamber would be dismissed because no Republican would ever vote to impeach Trump. Then something magical happened. People started talking.

Almost a month after the House voted to impeach President Donald Trump, Rep. Nancy Pelosi finally sent the articles of impeachment to the Senate floor on Jan. 15 to begin the impeachment trial.

Credit: @speakerPelosi / Twitter

It took a while for Rep. Pelosi to get those articles of impeachment to the Senate, but many believed she had a strategic plan. After all, Sen. Mitch McConnell said he wouldn’t allow any witnesses or hear any new evidence. So, Rep. Pelosi must have had a plan, right? 

“In an impeachment trial, every Senator takes an oath to ‘do impartial justice according to the Constitution and laws.’ Every Senator now faces a choice: to be loyal to the President or the Constitution,” Pelosi said in the letter, according to NPR. Rep. Pelosi also said she didn’t expect a fair trial. She proceeded, anyway. 

Democrats also announced they would have impeachment managers. Speaker of the House Pelosi named seven diverse lawmakers, including one Latina. 

Credit: @AlexNBCNews / Twitter

The seven lawmakers were picked because they have a legal background or expertise and also have served in Congress for decades. 

What’s remarkable about this diverse group of impeachment managers is that, as the New York Times notes, when President Bill Clinton had his impeachment trial in 1999, the impeachment managers back then were 13 white men. This time around, Trump is getting Rep. Adam B. Schiff, House Intelligence Committee chairman and lead manager, Rep. Jerrold Nadler, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, Rep. Zoe Lofgren, chair of the House Committee on House Administration, Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, Rep. Val Demings, member of the Intelligence and Judiciary committees, Rep. Jason Crow, member of the House Armed Services Committee, Rep. Sylvia Garcia, member of the House Judiciary Committee. 

On the same day that the trial got underway — and the managers were sworn in, along with Chief Justice John Roberts, who will preside over the trial  — new revelations against Trump and others came roaring out of the TV.

Credit: @revsusanrussell / Twitter

If you’ve been keeping up with the impeachment process, you should know that Trump’s being impeached for asking Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden’s son for corruption. That’s what all of this is about, Trump asking for personal favors to get dirt against a politician who is seeking to run for office. Trump has said many times that request was not a favor. Now, at least one person involved in the Ukraine exchange of information is throwing Trump and many others under the bus. If you need a full refresher of the entire mess, click here

Lev Parnas, an associate of Trump’s lawyer Rudi Giuliani, told multiple journalists that Trump’s request to get dirt on Biden was known by all.

Credit: @cnnbrk / Twitter

“Because of my Ukrainian background and my contacts there, I became like Rudy’s assistant, his investigator,” he told the New Yorker. “I don’t do anything on my own. I don’t lobby people. I go get information. I set up a meeting. I make sure that the call went right. I make sure the translation is done right.”

“President Trump knew exactly what was going on,” he told Rachel Maddow, “He was aware of all my movements … I wouldn’t do anything without the consent of Rudy Giuliani or the president.”

Even people who once said they never met Parnas, including Rep. Devin Nunes, finally admitted to having known Parnas.

Credit: @jennyrachelpal / Twitter

Just last month, Rep. Nunes said he wasn’t sure who Parnas was and added that he would never speak to random people. However, like many people connected to the scandal, Nunes has now admitted that he has talked to Parnas. Rep. Nunes went on Fox News to say that he did look back at his records and realize he had talked with him. 

“I didn’t remember the name. But I did remember going back, looking at where I was at the time. Because you know you can do that now,” he said, according to CNN. “You actually know where you physically are. Checked it with my records, and it was very clear. I remember that call, which was very odd, random. Talking about random things. And I said, ‘Great, you know, just talk to my staff’ and boom, boom, boom. Which is normal, standard operating procedure.”

Seems like the impeachment trial is just heating up and more information is casting doubt on Trump and his most ardent defenders.

READ: Kellyanne Conway Is Convinced That Americans Think the Impeachment Process is a Sham