Trump addresses the nation, Democrats respond

By Veronica Rocha, Brian Ries, Meg Wagner and Amanda Wills, CNN

Updated 10:32 p.m. ET, January 8, 2019
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8:16 p.m. ET, January 8, 2019

Trump has been told national emergency declaration "probably won't work," source says

From CNN's Jim Acosta

(Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
(Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

President Trump has been working the phones and asking for advice from friends and aides in recent days about whether he should declare an emergency at the border in order to secure funding for his wall, a source close to the President said.

Here's what they're telling them: Trump has been told by several of his allies and advisers that declaration "probably won't work" from a legal standpoint, the source said. This doesn't mean he's closed the door to the possibility but this is the feedback he's received. Trump is urgently looking for a political win to sell to his base as he has become increasingly concerned about the Mueller report, the source added.  

A separate source and adviser to Trump said the President has been receiving advice telling him he should declare that state of emergency so he has something to sell to his base. If it goes to the courts, Trump can say he tried. 

This adviser put the stakes for Trump in very stark terms: If he doesn't get his wall, this adviser said, "it will absolutely be something that we have to deal with in the reelection." The adviser said Trump runs the risk of projecting weakness to his base should he fail in securing the funding for his wall. "At some point you're either a chief executive or not."

6:36 p.m. ET, January 8, 2019

Trump will urge Democrats to return to negotiating table in tonight's speech, source says

From CNN's Jim Acosta

President Trump will urge Democrats to come back to the negotiating table to reopen the government and address the “crisis” at the border in his prime-time speech tonight, according to a GOP source familiar with the address.

Trump is expected to address the nation at 9 p.m. ET from the Oval Office.

5:43 p.m. ET, January 8, 2019

The Trump campaign is fundraising off of tonight’s address

From CNN's Betsy Klein

 (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
 (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

President Trump is fundraising off tonight’s address to the nation.

The Trump campaign sent an email to his supporters this afternoon, asking to help raise $500,000 today.

"I want to know who stood with me when it mattered most so I’ve asked my team to send me a list of EVERY AMERICAN PATRIOT who donates to the Official Secure the Border Fund," the email said, citing the President.
4:19 p.m. ET, January 8, 2019

Facts about the border you need to know before tonight's address

Chris Kleponis - Pool/Getty Images
Chris Kleponis - Pool/Getty Images

President Trump will address the nation tonight, on the 18th day of the government shutdown. Funding for parts of the government lapsed last month after lawmakers couldn't reach a deal as the President demanded funding for his long-promised border wall.

During the shutdown, Trump himself and administration officials have repeatedly made calls for border security. In doing so, some officials have touted misleading statistics and unclear claims.

We've set the record straight on some of these. Here are the facts that you need to know before tonight's address:

  • Only 12 non-US citizens on the terror watch list were stopped at the border last year. Vice President Mike Pence misleadingly claimed that nearly 4,000 terrorists were caught trying to enter the US last year. The truth is just 12 individuals who are not US citizens and are on the terror watch list were encountered on the southern border between October 2017 and October 2018. The vast majority tried to enter through airports.
  • The majority of hard narcotics the US seizes come through ports of entry. The Trump administration gave a border security presentation last week. It cited a "dramatic spike in illegal drugs at the southern border" as a reason to build a physical wall. However, the majority of hard narcotics seized by Customs and Border Protection come through ports of entry either in packages, cargo or with people who attempt to enter the US legally.
  • About 800 people with gang ties were stopped at the US border. The same security presentation said "6,000 gang members" were "apprehended at the southern border and removed by ICE." The way this number is presented appears to be misleading. Immigration and Customs Enforcement removed or deported 5,872 gang members in fiscal year 2018, per its latest numbers. And the latest statistics for fiscal year 2018 (which do not include the month of September) show that Border Patrol apprehended 808 people affiliated with gangs at the border and across the nation. The way this category is worded could leave readers under the impression that 6,000 gang members were arrested solely at the Southwest border.
  • A lot of people crossing the border with criminal records committed nonviolent crimes. The border security presentation stressed that "17,000 adults at the southern border with existing criminal records" were arrested in fiscal year 2018. This was in a section of the presentation claiming that officials are "fighting an influx of dangerous people." But it should be noted that large portions of the immigrants being arrested at the Southwest border committed nonviolent crimes, like illegal entry or re-entry and driving under the influence of alcohol.
  • While border apprehensions increased in October and November, they didn't surge in an unprecedented fashion as the administration is claiming. Pence claimed Tuesday that 60,000 people were attempting to enter the county illegally. The Trump administration has also repeatedly pointed to recent figures to back up its claim that there is a border crisis. But of the 62,456 individuals who were apprehended or deemed inadmissible at the southern border in November, 10,600 presented themselves at legal US ports of entry and were ultimately deemed inadmissible, according to CBP statistics. Same goes for the 60,722 figure for October. It includes 9,771 who showed up at legal US ports of entry and were subsequently deemed inadmissible into the country.
10:45 a.m. ET, January 8, 2019

Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer will give the Democratic response tonight


Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer will deliver a response to President Trump’s address tonight.

Their remarks will come sometime after the conclusion of Trump's 9 p.m. ET speech.

9:56 a.m. ET, January 8, 2019

Jared Kushner is telling senators that public support will shift toward Trump after speech

From CNN's Manu Raju

Negotiations around the ongoing government shutdown are still at a standstill, but there's work going on behind the scenes.

Among those making calls to senators is Trump administration official Jared Kushner, who has called at least one Democratic senator, according to a source briefed on the matter.

Kushner’s message: Public support will grow for the border wall after Trump’s speech tonight and his Thursday visit to the border.

The hope is to rally GOP support and pick up at least one Democratic defector, the source said.   

2:36 p.m. ET, January 8, 2019

Fact check: Pence says 4,000 terrorists were caught trying to enter the US. But only 12 were at the border.

Froim CNN's Betsy Klein

Vice President Mike Pence on Tuesday misleadingly claimed that nearly 4,000 "known or suspected terrorists" were caught trying to enter the US as he made the Trump administration's push for a southern border wall.

"Nearly 4,000 known or suspected terrorists were apprehended attempting to come into the United States through various means in the last year," Pence said on ABC's "Good Morning America."

But here's the thing: That number, however, is deeply misleading as justification for a wall on the southern border.

According to a senior administration official familiar with Customs and Border Protection data, just 12 non-US citizens on the terror watch were encountered on the southern border between October 2017 and October 2018.

That data concerns individuals attempting to travel to the US by air, sea or land, and includes those who made efforts to obtain visas from embassies and consulates around the world.

In July 2017, the State Department said there was "no credible information that any member of a terrorist group has traveled through Mexico to gain access to the United States." The vast majority of those 4,000 individuals attempted to enter by air.

CLARIFICATION: This post has been updated to reflect that the individuals encountered at the border on the terror watchlist were non-US citizens.

9:23 a.m. ET, January 8, 2019

Trump will address the nation tonight

From CNN's Jeremy Diamond

President Trump will seize the power of the bully pulpit tonight amid the ongoing government shutdown, making his case for border wall funding in a prime-time Oval Office address.

The President tweeted that his 9 p.m. ET speech will be about "the Humanitarian and National Security crisis on our Southern border."

After the speech, on Thursday, Trump is scheduled to visit the border.

The back-to-back events reflect a new attempt by the President to cast the deadlock over immigration as a national security crisis, a characterization that Democrats reject but which the President's aides believe will bolster support for a border wall.