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By Chuck Todd, Mark Murray and Carrie Dann
WASHINGTON — With the partial government shutdown entering its 24th day — making it the longest government shutdown in U.S. history — here’s a timeline of how we got to this point.
It includes the president vowing to shut down the government if he didn’t get the border wall funding he wants; the Senate passing a stopgap measure to keep the government open through February 8; outgoing House Speaker Paul Ryan and the GOP-held House rejecting passing that same stopgap measure and instead approving legislation providing $5.7 billion for Trump’s border wall; the president delivering an Oval Office address and visiting the border; Trump confirming that he has the right to build a wall by declaring a national emergency — as a way to end the government shutdown; and then the president saying he won’t declare a national emergency, at least not yet.
Dec. 11, 2018: In a contentious Oval Office meeting with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, Trump vows to shut down the government if he doesn’t get funding for his border wall: “I am proud to shut down the government for border security.”
Dec. 16: On CBS, White House adviser Stephen Miller reiterates the White House is willing to shut down the government for a border wall:
STEPHEN MILLER: We’re going to do whatever is necessary to build the border wall to stop this ongoing crisis of illegal immigration—
MARGARET BRENNAN: And that means a shutdown?
STEPHEN MILLER: This is a — this is a very — if it comes to it, absolutely
Dec. 19: The Senate passes a stopgap measure to keep the government open until February 8 — without the $5 billion that Trump wants for his border wall — as conservatives criticize the president for not getting his border wall.
Dec. 20: After prodding from Trump, the GOP-led House of Representatives passes a bill that provides $5 billion-plus funding for a border wall — but which can’t get 60 votes in the Senate.
Dec. 22: The government partially shuts down after midnight, as Trump continues his demand for a wall: “The crisis of illegal activity at our Southern Border is real and will not stop until we build a great Steel Barrier or Wall. Let work begin!” he tweets later that day.
Dec. 22: On the same day the government partially shuts down, Vice President Mike Pence meets with Schumer, floating a compromise of $2.5 billion in border security funding, including money for a border fence.
Dec. 24: Trump says he’s waiting for Democrats to negotiate with him: “I am all alone (poor me) in the White House waiting for the Democrats to come back and make a deal on desperately needed Border Security,” he tweets.
Jan. 2, 2019: In a cabinet meeting, Trump rejects the $2.5 billion compromise that Pence had floated: “No, not $2.5 billion, no — we’re asking for $5.6 [billion].”
Jan. 3: On the first day of the 116th Congress, the new Democratic-controlled House of Representatives passes two spending bills to reopen the government – one that would fund the Department of Homeland Security through February 8, the other that would fund the rest of the government through September 30. But Senate Majority Leader McConnell insists that the GOP-controlled Senate will only take up legislation that’s bipartisan, bicameral and can get signed by President Trump.
Jan. 5: Trump tweets that “most of the workers not getting paid” during the partial government shutdown are Democrats: “I don’t care that most of the workers not getting paid are Democrats, I want to stop the Shutdown as soon as we are in agreement on Strong Border Security!”
Jan. 8: Trump delivers a primetime address from the Oval Office on the shutdown and his demand for a border wall: “The federal government remains shut down for one reason and one reason only: because Democrats will not fund border security.”
Jan. 9: Trump confirms he walked out from a meeting with Pelosi and Schumer, tweeting: “Just left a meeting with Chuck and Nancy, a total waste of time. I asked what is going to happen in 30 days if I quickly open things up, are you going to approve Border Security which includes a Wall or Steel Barrier? Nancy said, NO. I said bye-bye, nothing else works!”
Jan. 10: Before visiting the border in McAllen, Texas, Trump says he has the right to build his border wall by declaring a national emergency — as a way to end the government shutdown: “I have the absolute right to declare a national emergency. The lawyers have so advised me. I’m not prepared to do that yet.”
Jan. 11: Trump says he won’t declare a national emergency — at least not yet: “Now, the easy solution is for me to call a national emergency. I could do that very quickly. I have the absolute right to do it but I’m not going to do it so fast, because this is something Congress should do and we’re waiting for the Democrats to vote.”
Jan. 14: Trump tweets that the shutdown is Democrats’ fault — and that Pelosi and Schumer could end it in 15 minutes: “Nancy and Cryin’ Chuck can end the Shutdown in 15 minutes. At this point it has become their, and the Democrats, fault!”
Two new polls: Majorities of Americans blame Trump for the government shutdown
Maybe not surprisingly after looking at this timeline — “I am proud to shut down the government for border security,” the president declared on December 11 — two polls released this weekend found majorities of Americans blaming Trump for the shutdown.
Per a Washington Post/ABC poll, 53 percent of adults pointed the finger at Trump and congressional Republicans, while 29 percent said congressional Democrats were at fault; 13 percent blamed both sides equally.
And according to a CNN poll, 55 percent of Americans blamed Trump more for the shutdown, versus 32 percent who blamed congressional Democrats. Trump’s job-approval rating in the poll is 37 percent.
Now the WaPo/ABC poll also showed support for building a wall has increased from 34 percent last year to 42 percent now — fueled mainly by GOP respondents — still, a majority (54 percent) opposes the idea.
NYT: FBI opened inquiry into whether Trump was working on behalf of Russia
But as the New York Times’s Peter Baker observes, the 24-day government shutdown might pale in comparison to what else is to come in the 116th Congress, especially after the Times dropped this story over the weekend: “In the days after President Trump fired James B. Comey as F.B.I. director, law enforcement officials became so concerned by the president’s behavior that they began investigating whether he had been working on behalf of Russia against American interests, according to former law enforcement officials and others familiar with the investigation.”
More: “Counterintelligence investigators had to consider whether the president’s own actions constituted a possible threat to national security. Agents also sought to determine whether Mr. Trump was knowingly working for Russia or had unwittingly fallen under Moscow’s influence.”
But as the Times importantly added, “It is unclear whether [special counsel] Mueller is still pursuing the counterintelligence matter, and some former law enforcement officials outside the investigation have questioned whether agents overstepped in opening it.”
WaPo: Trump has concealed details of his face-to-face meetings with Putin
And here’s what followed that Times piece: “President Trump has gone to extraordinary lengths to conceal details of his conversations with Russian President Vladimir Putin, including on at least one occasion taking possession of the notes of his own interpreter and instructing the linguist not to discuss what had transpired with other administration officials, current and former U.S. officials said,” the Washington Post reports.
And do note that Trump never really answered the question below from Fox News’ Jeanine Pirro when Trump called into the show on Saturday night:
PIRRO: So I’m going to ask you, are you now or have you ever worked for Russia, Mr. President?
TRUMP: I think it’s the most insulting thing I’ve ever been asked. I think it’s the most insulting article I’ve ever had written. And if you read the article, you’d see that they found absolutely nothing. But the headline of that article, it’s called “The failing New York Times” for a reason, they’ve gotten me wrong for three years. They’ve actually gotten me wrong for many years before that.
Julian Castro officially announces 2020 presidential bid
As expected on Saturday, former San Antonio Mayor and former Obama HUD Secretary Julian Castro formally announced his presidential candidacy. NBC’s Suzanne Gamboa: “Standing before a giant American flag at Plaza Guadalupe in the San Antonio West Side neighborhood where he grew up, Castro said in English and Spanish on Saturday that he is running for president. Castro said his grandmother, who immigrated from Mexico nearly 100 years ago, never could have imagined that one of her grandsons —Castro’s twin brother Joaquín — would be a member of Congress or that Castro himself would be standing on stage to say, ‘I am a candidate for the president of the United States of America.’ He then repeated that in Spanish.”
Castro today campaigns in Puerto Rico, where he gives an address to the Latino Victory and tours hurricane recovery efforts.
Tulsi Gabbard also says she’s running for president
On the Van Jones Show on Friday, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii, said she’s running for president: “I have decided to run, and will be making a formal announcement within the next week.”
One potential problem for Gabbard’s candidacy? “Rep. Tulsi Gabbard in the early 2000s touted working for her father’s anti-gay organization, which mobilized to pass a measure against same-sex marriage in Hawaii and promoted controversial conversion therapy,” per CNN.
“During her run for state legislature in 2002, Gabbard told the Honolulu Star-Bulletin, ‘Working with my father, Mike Gabbard, and others to pass a constitutional amendment to protect traditional marriage, I learned that real leaders are willing to make personal sacrifices for the common good. I will bring that attitude of public service to the legislature.’ The quote, which CNN’s KFile found during a review of Gabbard’s early career, shows how closely she aligned herself with her father’s mission at the time.”
Gabbard released this statement to CNN: “First, let me say I regret the positions I took in the past, and the things I said. I’m grateful for those in the LGBTQ+ community who have shared their aloha with me throughout my personal journey.”
Trump travels to Louisiana
At 12:40 pm ET, Trump addresses the American Farm Bureau Federation’s convention in New Orleans. And then he makes his way back to the White House, where he’ll congratulate Clemson’s football team for winning the national championship.