Kellyanne Conway, the senior counselor to President Trump, told Fox News on Monday that lawyers inside the White House are researching the legal implications of declaring a national emergency to build the border wall, and placed the blame squarely on Congress and courts for the crisis at the Southern Border.
In a wide-ranging interview on "The Ingraham Angle," Conway said the president is "considering" using a national emergency declaration to circumvent Congress and the budget stalemate in Washington. Trump wants $5.6 billion to fund the wall.
Declaring a national emergency would draw legal challenges, and Trump — who told lawmakers he would be willing to keep the government closed for months or even years — has said he would like to continue negotiations for now.
"There are probably some people who want him (Trump) to declare it (the emergency) so that Congress, again, can fail to do its job," she said. "The Congress and the courts have failed to do their jobs. They’ve given us this crisis."
Conway defended the use of the word "crisis" to describe the situation at the border, and talked about illegal drugs that enter the U.S. from Mexico.
The talks over ending the shutdown have been at an impasse over Trump’s demand for the wall. He has offered to build the barrier with steel rather than concrete, billing that as a concession to Democrats’ objections. They "don't like concrete, so we'll give them steel," he said.
But Democrats have made clear that they object to the wall itself, not how it’s constructed. They see it as immoral and ineffective and prefer other types of border security funded at already agreed-upon levels.
Trump announced that he will address the nation on Tuesday night before traveling later in the week to the U.S.-Mexico border, as he seeks to highlight border security and presses Democrats for wall funding amid the protracted standoff that triggered a partial government shutdown now stretching into its 17th day.
"I am pleased to inform you that I will Address the Nation on the Humanitarian and National Security crisis on our Southern Border. Tuesday night at 9:00 P.M. Eastern," Trump tweeted on Monday.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and top Senate Democrat Chuck Schumer called on the networks to give Democrats a chance to respond.
“Now that the television networks have decided to air the President’s address, which if his past statements are any indication will be full of malice and misinformation, Democrats must immediately be given equal airtime,” they wrote in a joint statement released Monday night.
Fox News' Brooke Singman and The Associated Press contributed to this report