President Donald Trump has said he has “no idea” if he will be able to strike a deal with the Democrats for his border wall and end the longest US government shutdown in history.
After the shutdown slipped into the record books, with the impasse now entering its 23rd day, Mr Trump fired off a series of tweets saying he did have a strategy to break the deadlock.
He tweeted: “I do have a plan on the Shutdown. But to understand that plan you would have to understand the fact that I won the election, and I promised safety and security for the American people. Part of that promise was a Wall at the Southern Border. Elections have consequences!”
Mr Trump said the Democrats “could solve the Shutdown in 15 minutes” and that he was “ready to sign” a deal.
He tweeted: “I am in the White House waiting for Cryin’ Chuck and Nancy to call so we can start helping our Country both at the Border and from within.”
The shutdown has affected the work of nine cabinet departments and various smaller agencies – affecting 800,000 workers who have not been paid since 22 December.
Later on Saturday, in a telephone interview with Fox News personality Jeanine Pirro, the president said if the Democrats “don’t come to their senses” he would declare a national emergency to free up money for his wall without congressional approval.
It signalled a shift in his stance from a day earlier when he had said he was not ready to do it “right now”.
Mr Trump told Pirro he had not left the White House in months except for recent trips to Iraq and Germany and was “ready, willing and able to get a deal done”.
Pressed on whether he was confident he could strike a deal with Ms Pelosi, he said he had “no idea”.
Asked why he had not yet declared a national emergency, Mr Trump said he was giving Congress a chance to “act responsibly”.
Pirro also questioned Mr Trump about a New York Times report that the FBI opened an inquiry into whether the president was secretly working for Russia.
The paper reported law enforcement officials became concerned after Mr Trump fired FBI 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.
Asked if he had ever worked for Russia, Mr Trump replied: “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’ll see that they found absolutely nothing.”
He added: “If you ask the folks in Russia, I’ve been tougher on Russia than anybody else, any other… probably any other president, period, but certainly the last three or four presidents.”
The investigation became a part of special counsel Robert Mueller’s inquiry into potential collusion between Russia and the Trump election campaign.
The New York Times said it was not clear if the investigation to determine whether Mr Trump was deliberately working for Russia or had unintentionally been influenced by Moscow was still being pursued.