Democrats are in denial about the border crisis

"The damage done to our Country from a badly broken Border - Drugs, Crime and so much that is bad - is far greater than a Shutdown, which the Dems can easily fix as soon as they come back to Washington!".

Mr. Cornyn noted that in the days before the shutdown began on December 22, he and every other senator had voted for a stopgap government spending measure that omitted wall funding, believing that the president supported it, only to learn later that Mr. Trump had no intention of doing so.

"I think it's the most insulting article I've ever had written, and if you read the article you'll see that they found absolutely nothing". A slight majority of Americans (54 per cent) oppose the idea, down from 63 per cent a year ago.

The number also represents an increase of 8 percent from last year's poll, which recorded 34 percent support. That level of support is up ten points from a similar poll taken in January of 2017. "This country wants to have protection at the border", Trump said. Only in recent days has he begun describing the problem as "humanitarian".

'Most conservatives want it to be the last resort he would use, ' said Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., a leader of the conservative House Freedom Caucus who speaks to Trump frequently.

As the partisan battle drags on, the effects of the partial shutdown have become steadily clearer, and new polls show growing public dissatisfaction. With the closure's growing impact on the economy, national parks and food inspections, some Republicans are becoming uncomfortable with Trump's demands.

And, Trump, who was holed up in the White House as snow blanketed Washington on Sunday, appeared to shoot down Graham's suggestion of a "wall plus" deal, saying on Twitter that even Democrats don't want to make "Dreamers" part of the negotiations. Congress will return to session - and to efforts to end the shutdown - on Monday.

He says the shutdown could be solved in 15 minutes.

Partisan differences also shape the choices ahead.

Analysts say the national emergency move would provide political cover to reopen government while allowing Mr Trump to argue he has done all he can to fulfil his campaign promise. More than eight in 10 Republicans approve of Trump's handling of the shutdown, while seven in 10 Democrats approve of congressional Democrats' handling of it. "The president says 'Let's make a deal, then open up the government.' Nancy Pelosi says even if you opened up the government I wouldn't fund a wall".

The government shutdown is now well into its third week, making it the longest shutdown in history.

A Republican senator advising Donald Trump has said he is encouraging the president to reopen the government for several weeks to continue negotiating with Democrats over funding for a US-Mexico border wall.

The "wall plus" plan could include an extension of temporary protected status for about 400,000 immigrants in the United States because of disasters back home in El Salvador and elsewhere, and renewable three-year work permits for young, undocumented "Dreamers", he said. Democrats reject that characterization and continue to prepare a response to an emergency declaration that would involve recourse to the courts.

Earlier Thursday, Graham and some other Senate Republicans saw the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, an Obama-era suspension of deportations of young undocumented immigrants, as a potential fulcrum for a deal.

The paper reported law enforcement officials became concerned after Mr Trump fired Federal Bureau of Investigation director James Comey in May 2017 and said the agency had to consider whether the president's actions constituted a possible threat to national security.

  • Jon Douglas