White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders sat down with Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace on Sunday, and she made the White House's case that Democrats, not President Trump, were the intransigent party in the negotiations to end the government shutdown. Trump isn't demanding just a wall, she argued, but the wall is a huge part of the "border security" the Democrats say they support. Wallace seemed skeptical, and he took special issue with the idea, put forward by Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, that thousands of "special interest aliens" are stopped at the southern border each year.
"Special interest aliens are just people who have come from countries that have ever produced a terrorist, they're not terrorists themselves," Wallace noted, adding that the State Department says "quote, 'there was no credible evidence' of any terrorist coming across the border from Mexico." Sanders replied that "we know that, roughly, nearly 4,000 known or suspected terrorists come into our country illegally, and we know that our most vulnerable point of entry is at our southern border." Wallace cut her off, saying that statistic refers to people detained at airports.
"It's by air, it's by land, it's by sea, it's all of the above," Sanders said. "But they're not coming across the southern border, Sarah," Wallace said, "they're coming and they're being stopped at airports."
Sanders also suggested Trump really believes he can declare an emergency to build the wall using money earmarked for the military, a controversial idea also cautiously promoted by acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney on CNN's State of the Union. But later on that show, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) called that idea a desperate "nonstarter." Look, he told Jake Tapper, "if Harry Truman couldn't nationalize the steel industry during wartime, this president doesn't have the power to declare an emergency and build a multibillion-dollar wall on the border." Watch below. Peter Weber