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By Jonathan Allen
WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump said Friday that he will give Congress more time to bend to his will on a border wall, as a partial government shutdown over the impasse nears record-length.
“What we’re not looking to do right now is a national emergency,” Trump said of proposals under consideration to unilaterally expand his authority and potentially free up money that he needs to begin construction of new barriers on the U.S. border with Mexico. “I’m not going to do it so fast … We want Congress to do its job.”
His remarks came during a White House roundtable on border security, one of several events focused on the issue this week that included a primetime address to the nation and a visit by Trump to the U.S.-Mexico line in Texas.
Democrats have said they may sue the president if he invokes his emergency powers and shifts money from projects already approved by Congress to fund the wall, and some Republicans on Capitol Hill have questioned whether such a move by Trump would be an appropriate use of his authorities as president or a wise one.
“The real concern that I have is the precedent that this then sets because this border security is Donald Trump’s priority, we don’t know who the next president may be, but it may be a president where their number one priority is dealing with climate change who says ‘I don’t care whether I have support of the Congress, I’m going to direct these funds to address this because I feel like this is a crisis,'” Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, said.
“I think there’s a precedent argument that can be made that we need to be very clear about, but I also think there’s the reality that there is a question about whether or not the president can do this,” she added.
But Republicans are divided over the question.
Trump’s remarks Friday came just hours after Sen. Lindsay Graham, R-S.C., emerged from a meeting with him to publicly plead for a national-emergency declaration.
“Democrats will do everything in their power to defeat Trump in 2020,” Graham said in a statement released to the media. “Mr. President, declare a national emergency now. Build a wall now.”
Trump said Friday that he is ready to declare an emergency if Congress — which is out of session until next week — doesn’t add wall money to shutdown-ending legislation that is stalled because it doesn’t include money for the barrier, and that he anticipates a court fight if he goes that route.
“If they can’t do it, I will declare a national emergency. It will be brought to the Ninth Circuit,” he said of the federal appellate court. “And then hopefully we will win in the Supreme Court.”
Democrats, who control the House and retain enough votes in the Senate to sustain a filibuster, have called on Trump to agree to bills that would end the shutdown, but they have refused to earmark money to build a border wall.
The current shutdown will set a new record when it enters its fourth week at midnight Saturday, eclipsing the three-week lapse in funding that ran from December 1995 to January 1996. The House and Senate have both passed a bill that would guarantee back pay for furloughed federal workers, and Trump said Friday he would sign it into law.
Trump campaign cutting ties with pollsters after internal numbers leaked
WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump’s re-election campaign is cutting ties with some of its own pollsters after leaked internal polling showed the president trailing former Vice President Joe Biden in critical 2020 battleground states.
The move comes after NBC News obtained new details from a March internal poll that found Trump trailing Biden in 11 key states.
Portions of the campaign’s expansive March polling trickled out in recent days in other news reports.
But a person familiar with the inner workings of the Trump campaign shared more details of the data with NBC News, showing the president trailing across swing states seen as essential to his path to re-election and in Democratic-leaning states where Republicans have looked to gain traction. The polls also show Trump underperforming in reliably red states that haven’t been competitive for decades in presidential elections.
A separate person close to the Trump re-election team told NBC News Saturday that the campaign will be cutting ties with some of its pollsters in response to the information leaks, although did not elaborate as to which pollsters would be let go.
The internal polling paints a picture of an incumbent president with serious ground to gain across the country as his re-election campaign kicks into higher gear.
While the campaign tested other Democratic presidential candidates against Trump, Biden polled the best of the group, according the source.
In Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Florida and Michigan — three states where Trump edged Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton by narrow margins that proved decisive in his victory — Trump trails Biden by double-digits. In three of those states — Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Florida — Biden’s leads sit outside the poll’s margin of error.
He’s also behind the former vice president in Iowa by 7 points, in North Carolina by 8 points, in Virginia by 17 points, in Ohio by 1 point, in Georgia by 6 points, in Minnesota by 14 points, and in Maine by 15 points.
In Texas, where a Democratic presidential nominee hasn’t won since President Jimmy Carter in 1976, Trump leads by just 2 points.
Portions of the internal Trump polling data were first reported by ABC News and the New York Times. The Times reported earlier this month that the internal polling found Trump trailing across a number of key states, while ABC News obtained data showing Trump trailing Biden in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Florida and holding a small lead in Texas.
The president denied the existence of any negative polling during comments last week in the Oval Office, saying his campaign has “great internal polling” and saying the numbers reported were from “fake polls.”
“We are winning in every single state that we’ve polled. We’re winning in Texas very big. We’re winning in Ohio very big. We’re winning in Florida very big,” he said.
“Those are fake numbers. But do you know when you’re going to see that? You’re going to see that on Election Day.”
His campaign staff downplayed the results as old news in statements to NBC News. The polling was conducted between March 13 and March 28.
Tony Fabrizio, Trump’s campaign pollster, dismissed the data as “incomplete and misleading,” representing a “worst-case scenario in the most unfavorable turnout model possible.”
He added that a “more likely turnout model patterned after 2016” with a defined Democratic candidate shows a “competitive” race with Trump “leading.”
Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale’s criticism focused on the poll’s age.
“These leaked numbers are ancient, in campaign terms, from months-old polling that began in March before two major events had occurred: the release of the summary of the Mueller report exonerating the President, and the beginning of the Democrat candidates defining themselves with their far-left policy message,” he said.
Parscale also claimed the campaign has seen “huge swings in the President’s favor across the 17 states we have polled, based on the policies espoused by the Democrats.” As an example, he said that a “plan to provide free health care to illegal immigrants results in an 18-point swing toward President Trump.”
The Trump campaign subsequently provided another quote from Parscale that echoed the president’s comments from last week.
“All news about the President’s polling is completely false. The President’s new polling is extraordinary and his numbers have never been better,” the statement said
Chuka Umunna takes on major new role for Lib Dems just days after joining the party
Support for impeachment grows among Democrats in new NBC News/WSJ poll
WASHINGTON — More Democratic voters believe Congress should begin impeachment hearings on President Donald Trump’s conduct while in office, but the country at large remains divided on the matter, according to a new national NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll.
Overall, 27 percent of Americans say there’s enough evidence to begin impeachment hearings now — up 10 points from last month.
Another 24 percent think Congress should continue investigating to see if there’s enough evidence to hold impeachment hearings in the future, which is down eight points.
And 48 percent believe that Congress should not hold impeachment hearings and that Trump should finish out his term as president — unchanged from a month ago.
Almost all the growth in support for impeachment has come from Democrats, with 48 percent of them wanting impeachment hearings now, versus 30 percent who said this a month ago.
Just 6 percent of Republicans support beginning impeachment hearings now, while a whopping 86 percent say Trump should finish his term as president.
Among independents, 22 percent support impeachment hearings now; 34 percent want to continue investigating; and 44 percent oppose impeachment hearings.
The NBC/WSJ poll comes after former special counsel Robert Mueller addressed the nation in late May (stating that if he had had confidence that the president did not commit a crime when it came to obstruction of justice “we would have said so”), as well as after the Trump administration has defied Democratic subpoenas for further testimony on the Russia investigation.
Trump has continued to maintain that he didn’t commit obstruction of justice in Mueller’s Russia probe.
Trump’s approval rating: 44 percent
The NBC/WSJ survey also finds 44 percent of Americans approving of the president’s job performance — down from 46 percent last month, although the change is well within the poll’s margin of error.
Fifty-three percent of Americans say they disapprove of Trump’s job.
Trump’s highest approval numbers come from Republicans (84 percent), those ages 50 to 64 (58 percent), men (53 percent) and whites (50 percent).
His lowest ratings come from independents (37 percent), women (36 percent), Latinos (32 percent), African Americans (17 percent) and Democrats (11 percent).
Looking ahead to the 2020 presidential election, a combined 37 percent of registered voters say they’re enthusiastic or comfortable about voting for President Trump, while 52 percent say they’re “very uncomfortable.”
That’s compared with 40 percent who are enthusiastic or comfortable about voting for Democratic frontrunner Joe Biden, the former vice president, plus 31 percent are “very uncomfortable.”
For Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., 34 percent are enthusiastic or comfortable, while 33 percent are “very uncomfortable.”
For Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., the numbers are 33 percent enthusiastic/comfortable and 41 percent very uncomfortable.
Warren rises with Democrats
Meanwhile, Warren’s support among Democratic primary voters has grown in the last three months, according to the NBC/WSJ poll.
A combined 64 percent of them say they’re enthusiastic/comfortable about her (up from 57 percent in March), while a combined 27 percent have reservations or are very uncomfortable (down from 33 percent).
Biden’s numbers among Democratic primary voters are 66 percent enthusiastic/comfortable (down from 73 percent in March), versus 32 percent with reservations or are very uncomfortable (up from 25 percent in March).
And Sanders’ numbers are 56 percent enthusiastic/comfortable (down from 62 percent in March), versus 41 percent with reservations or are uncomfortable (up from 36 percent in March).
Attitudes on abortion remain consistent
Finally, opinions on the issue of abortion have remained fairly consistent in the last year.
A combined 56 percent of Americans say abortion should either be always legal or legal most of the time — essentially unchanged from March 2018.
That’s compared with 41 percent who think it should be illegal with or without exceptions.
The NBC/WSJ poll was conducted June 8-11 of 1,000 adults – including more than half by cell phone – and it has a margin of error of plus-minus 3.1 percentage points.
The margin of error for the 825 registered voters in the poll is plus-minus 3.4 percentage points.
And the margin of error for the 311 Democratic primary voters is plus-minus 5.6 percentage points.
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