'If I Come to Your Home, Do You Want Me to Knock or Climb Through the Window?' Border Patrol Agents Defend Shutdown
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WASHINGTON – It's day 14 of the partial government shutdown. Congressional leaders will again visit the White House to meet with President Donald Trump, but both sides are dug deep into their respective trenches.
In a surprise appearance to the White House press briefing room, the president brought first-hand witnesses to back up his case: Border Patrol agents willing to suffer through a shutdown to gain a physical barrier at the border. They say they support the president's stance on the wall 100 percent.
"I promise you that if you interview Border Patrol agents they will tell you that walls work," Brandon Judd, president of the Border Patrol Council, told reporters.
Judd worked as an agent in Naco, Arizona, for 10 years. He says they didn't have a physical barrier and illegal crossings and drug smuggling were out of control.
"You all have to ask yourselves this question: If I come to your home, do you want me to knock on the front door or do you want me to climb through that window?" asked Art Del Cueto, who serves as vice president of the Border Patrol Council.
The president followed up by tweeting dramatic video that includes a past message from Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY).
In the clip Schumer says, "Illegal immigration is wrong, plain and simple."
"I have never had so much support as I have in the last week over my stance for border security, for border control and for, frankly, the wall or the barrier," the president told reporters in the briefing room Thursday.
That same day, the president tweeted, "The shutdown is only because of the 2020 presidential election. For them, strictly politics!"
The Shutdown is only because of the 2020 Presidential Election. The Democrats know they can’t win based on all of the achievements of “Trump,” so they are going all out on the desperately needed Wall and Border Security - and Presidential Harassment. For them, strictly politics!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 3, 2019
Meanwhile, across town on Pennsylvania Avenue, Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) reclaimed the House speaker's gavel – the first time a Democrat held it in eight years.
Her new House majority passed legislation to re-open most of the government and buy more time to negotiate funding with the White House for Homeland Security. For now, however, Democrats aren't budging on the president's demands for wall funding.
"The fact is, a wall is not who we are. It's an immorality. It's not who we are as a nation," Speaker Pelosi told reporters at the Capitol.
The House legislation is nearly identical to what the Senate passed via voice vote before Christmas, but Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) says that's now out the window because it doesn't pay for the wall.
"The Senate will not take up any proposal that does not have a real chance of passing this chamber and getting a presidential signature," Sen. McConnell said on the floor of the Senate.
As the standoff continues, veteran House Democrats Rep. Brad Sherman (D-CA) and Rep. Al Green (D-TX) introduced articles of impeachment against President Trump. The lawmakers did so in 2017 and 2018 but were shot down by the Republican majority and even some Democrats who argued the move was premature.
Meanwhile, new Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), the first Palestinian-American woman elected to Congress, cursed the president in her call for impeachment.
Also, in an interview with NBC News, Speaker Pelosi said she won't rule out the possibility of impeachment or indictment, adding that she's waiting for special counsel Robert Mueller's final report.
"We shouldn't be impeaching for a political reason and we shouldn't avoid impeachment for a political reason," she told NBC's "Today" Thursday. "We just have to see how it comes."
This is a shift for Pelosi who has previously called talk of impeachment a "divisive activity."
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