Inside the Trump-Schumer talks leading up to the government shutdown


Posted on: January 20th, 2018 by ABC News No Comments

ABC News(WASHINGTON) — During the hours leading up to the government shutdown, President Donald Trump invited Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., to the White House to negotiate the outline of a deal, which both sides believed was in reach. After several more conversations during the day, the deal fell apart and the Senate failed to pass a measure to keep the government funded.

“During the meeting, in exchange for strong [Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals] protections, I reluctantly put the border wall on the table for the discussion,” Schumer said from the Senate floor. “Even that was not enough to entice the president to finish the deal.”

Below is a timeline of the Trump-Schumer interactions in the hours leading up to the shutdown, according to a Democratic source familiar with their interactions on Friday.

10:45 a.m.: President Trump calls Sen. Schumer

The two men had a good conversation, both agreeing they weren’t that far apart on the key issues, and that neither side wanted a shutdown, according to a source.

Schumer told the president that House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell wouldn’t make a move without the president.

During the phone call, Trump and Schumer agreed to sit down so that they could hash things out.

Lunchtime: Trump and Schumer meet in the small dining room off of the Oval Office

In a meeting that lasted 90 minutes, Trump and Schumer discussed the overall construct of a possible agreement on both funding the government and providing legal status to the “Dreamers” — undocumented immigrants brought to the United States as young children.

According to a source, Schumer agreed to increase defense spending to the level in the National Defense Authorization Act numbers, above what the White House had requested. Schumer also agreed to consider the full amount the White House had requested for border security — above the amount included in the DACA proposal worked out by Sens. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., and Lindsey Graham, R-S.C.

To give time to work out a deal, Schumer suggested Congress pass a short-term spending bill to keep the government open for just a few days. According to a source, the president told Schumer he thought that was a good idea.

Trump said he would talk to the Republicans and they would discuss it further later in the afternoon.

Afternoon: Trump calls Schumer a few hours after their lunchtime sit-down

Trump said he heard that congressional Democrats and the GOP agreed on a three-week temporary spending bill — but there was no such deal. Schumer told the president this was the first he had heard of such a deal and that Senate Democrats would not agree to it.

Although Trump had said at lunch that a funding extension of a few days was a good idea, he told Schumer he thought there had been a Congressional agreement to extend funding for three weeks. The president told Schumer to work it out with McConnell.

Later in the afternoon: Trump calls Schumer

Trump called Schumer and went over the objections to pieces of the immigration discussion by White House Chief of Staff John Kelly and congressional Republicans.

Schumer and the president agree to keep working.

After his call with Trump, Schumer calls McConnell

McConnell told Schumer he needs to work it out with the president, according to a source.

Kelly later called Schumer and complained that the outline Schumer and Trump had discussed was too liberal. Full funding of the president’s border security request would not be enough on its own to strike a deal giving legal status to the “Dreamers.”

Fast forward to midnight, and the government shuts down.

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