The protracted partial government shutdown will end when President Donald Trump “realizes he’s lost the Senate Republicans,” Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., asserted Sunday.
In an interview on ABC News’ “This Week,” Durbin warned a declaration of a national emergency by Trump to get around congressional funding for a border wall is a dangerous path.
“I think it ends when the Senate Republicans say we’ve had enough,” he said. “We're not going to stand here and be blamed for this. We believe the government should be opened. There should be timely negotiations on border security after the government is open.”
“Once the president realizes he’s lost the Senate Republicans, we can roll up our sleeves, open the government and get down to business,” he declared.
According to Durbin, past presidents “have been very careful in using” a national emergency declaration for funds not appropriated by Congress.
“When George W. Bush faced 9/11 he asked us for national emergency powers, we gave it to him on a bipartisan basis, united as a country to fight off terrorism,” he said. “But if this president is going to turn to national emergencies every time he disagrees with Congress, I’m against it.”
Durbin also lamented there were “so many questions” on the president’s relationship with Russia — questions that were highlighted in new reports from The New York Times and The Washington Post.
“Why is he so chummy with Vladimir Putin?” Durbin asked. “This man who is a former KGB agent, never been a friend to the United States, invaded our allies, threatens us around the world, and tries his damndest to undermine our elections, why is this President Trump's best buddy? I don't get it.”
Durbin said he’ll also need “rock bottom assurances” from Attorney General nominee William Barr that he’ll let special counsel Robert Mueller complete his probe of Russia’s involvement in the 2016 election.
“Clearly he’s a good lawyer. No question,” Durbin said of Barr. “But when it comes to this delicate political situation, the power of the presidency, whether this investigation is warranted, Bill Barr had better give us some… ironclad rock bottom assurances in terms of his independence and his willingness to step back and let Mueller finish his job.”
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