President Donald Trump declared — "no, no, no" — that he would not sign any deal to protect illegal immigrants from deportation without funding for a wall on the southern U.S. border, saying that "we need the wall for security."
"We need the wall," Trump told reporters at a joint news conference with Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg at the White House. "We have to have the wall for security purposes.
"Security is number one — and, so, the answer is we have to have the wall."
President Trump also said that "I'll speak to attorneys" on possibly interviewing with Russia special counsel Robert Mueller before emphasizing, "There was absolutely no collusion."
Trump's comments on the wall came after a federal judge in California temporarily blocked the administration's decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program that shielded more than 700,000 illegals brought to the country as children from deportation.
U.S. District Judge William Alsup granted a request by California and other plaintiffs to keep the DACA program in place while their lawsuits play out in court.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions said in September that the program would be phased out, saying former President Barack Obama had exceeded his authority when he implemented it in 2012.
President Trump then gave Congress until March to come up with a permanent solution to the DACA issue, insisting that funding for the wall on the border with Mexico must be included in any final legislation.
Trump asked Congress last week for $18 billion for the first phase of the wall, which Mexican officials have said they would not pay for.
"We need the wall for safety," the president told reporters Wednesday. "We need the wall from stopping drugs from pouring in.
"I would imagine that the people in the room, both Democrat and Republican, are going to come up with a solution to the DACA problem, which has been going on for a long time.
"And beyond that, immigration as a whole.
"But any solution has to include the wall — because without the wall, it all doesn't work."
On the Russia probe, news reports this week indicated that Mueller would seek to interview Trump in the coming weeks.
The president declined Wednesday to say whether he would talk to Mueller— "We'll see what happens" — or place any restrictions on any possible testimony.
He pointed to when Democrat Hillary Clinton was interviewed by the FBI in 2016 in its investigation of her private email server when she was secretary of state.
"Hillary Clinton had an interview, where she wasn't sworn in, she wasn't given the oath, they didn't take notes, they didn't record — and it was done on the Fourth of July Weekend.
"That's perhaps ridiculous — and a lot of people looked upon that as being a very serious breach, and it really was."
Still, Trump reiterated: "They say there is no collusion. And there is no collusion."
Asked about the Russia probe, Norway's Solberg said that "it's up to every country to scrutinize and discuss their own political agenda in their countries.
"I respect that — and this is issue for American politics."
However, she noted that the issue has "impacted also in Europe" — leading many, including Norway, to look into Russian "tampering."
"We concluded after our election we have not found any proof of emphasis by outside countries," Solberg said of last September's event. "It was a very Norwegian election with Norwegian participants."
Norway and Russia also share a 122-mile border — and Solberg said that the countries must cooperate.
Oslo, however, still joined with other nations in condemning Moscow for its annexation of Crimea and other global law violations.
"The international law is firm and clear," she said, but "as neighboring countries, we do day-to-day work on things we have to solve for the people."
On working with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Trump said that "it is much better to work with Russia" on such global issues as North Korea, for instance.
"But I'll say this: I am for massive oil and gas and a lot of energy," Trump continued. "Putin can't love that.
"I am for the strongest military that the United States ever had. Putin can't love that.
"It's a lot better to work with other countries."
Trump later tweeted about Solberg's visit and the wall:
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