WASHINGTON—President Trump said Sunday he doesn’t believe congressional negotiators will strike a deal over border-wall funding that he could accept and vowed that he would build a wall anyway, using emergency powers if need be.
Mr. Trump, in an interview, assessed the chances of whether a newly formed group of 17 lawmakers could craft a deal before the next government-funding lapse, in less than three weeks: “I personally think it’s less than 50-50, but you have a lot of very good people on that board.”
He made his comments as hundreds of thousands of federal employees prepared to head back to work Monday following the president’s move Friday to reopen the government after the 35-day partial shutdown, even without funding for his long-promised wall along the border with Mexico. The group of 17 lawmakers is now tasked with hashing out a longer-term deal on border security and, potentially, broader immigration issues.
Both topics are politically charged and difficult to navigate, just as they were in late December, when Mr. Trump first refused to sign any spending bills that didn’t include at least $5.7 billion to go toward building a border wall.
Asked if he would accept less than $5.7 billion in the next round of negotiations, Mr. Trump said: “I doubt it,” adding, “I have to do it right.”
Democrats are firmly opposed to the concept of a physical wall, but they have been willing to fund replacement fencing, levees and bollard barriers, in addition to more immigration judges, border agents and technology.