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Trump seeking new designs for steel wall barrier

Associated Press logoAssociated Press 1/6/2019 By CATHERINE LUCEY and LISA MASCARO, Associated Press
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WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on the government shutdown (all times local):

10:25 a.m.

President Donald Trump says he plans to call the heads of U.S. Steel and other steel companies to come up with a new design for the barrier he's insisting must be built along the southern border.

That's despite the fact that his administration has already spent millions constructing wall prototypes near the border in San Diego.

Trump had once vowed to build a concrete border wall, but now says the barrier will be made of steel slats.

He tells reporters as he departs the White House for meetings at Camp David that he'll be asking the companies to design "a beautiful steel product" and "we'll use that as our barrier."

Trump's demand for billions for the barrier has forced a partial government shutdown that is now in its third week.

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9:55 a.m.

President Donald Trump says he doesn't expect anything to come out of a second day of negotiations between top administration officials and senior congressional staff trying to end the partial government shutdown now in its third week.

Trump insists to reporters as he departs the White House for staff meetings at Camp David that he feels the pain of hundreds of thousands of federal workers who aren't being paid. A day earlier, he had tweeted he didn't care that "most of the workers not getting paid are Democrats."

Trump is still digging in his heels, demanding billions for a border barrier that Democrats won't provide.

Trump says he's still mulling declaring a national emergency to try to circumvent Congress.

This is a breaking news story; please check back for additional updates. The AP's earlier story is below:

WASHINGTON — A first round of talks between White House officials and congressional aides has made little progress toward ending the government shutdown, with each side accusing the other of giving no ground.

More discussions were planned for Sunday, while President Donald Trump, who did not attend the negotiating session, was scheduled to be at Camp David for a retreat with White House staff on border security and other topics.

With the talks stalled, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said House Democrats intend to start passing individual bills to reopen agencies. The first would be the Treasury Department, to ensure people receive their tax refunds.

"Not much headway made today," Trump tweeted on Saturday after receiving a briefing from the team led by Vice President Mike Pence.

Democrats said the White House did not budge on the president's key demand, $5.6 billion to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. The White House said money was not discussed in depth, but the administration was clear about the need for a wall and the goal of resolving the shutdown all at once, not piecemeal.

Acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney, in an interview with CNN's "State of the Union," accused Democrats of being there to "stall." Democrats familiar with the meeting said the White House position was "untenable."

Vice President Mike Pence, left, White House legislative affairs aide Ja'Ron Smith, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, second row left, White House Senior Adviser Jared Kushner, and others, walk down the steps of the Eisenhower Executive Office building, on the White House complex, after a meeting with staff members of House and Senate leadership, Saturday, Jan. 5, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon) © The Associated Press Vice President Mike Pence, left, White House legislative affairs aide Ja'Ron Smith, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, second row left, White House Senior Adviser Jared Kushner, and others, walk down the steps of the Eisenhower Executive Office building, on the White House complex, after a meeting with staff members of House and Senate leadership, Saturday, Jan. 5, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

A White House official said the meeting included a briefing on border security by Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen. Democrats sought written details from the Department of Homeland Security on their budget needs; the White House said it would provide that.

Mulvaney said Trump was willing to forgo a concrete wall for steel or other materials.

"If he has to give up a concrete wall, replace it with a steel fence in order to do that so that Democrats can say, 'See? He's not building a wall anymore,' that should help us move in the right direction," Mulvaney told NBC's "Meet the Press."

The president has suggested his definition of the wall is flexible, referring to slats and other "border things." Democrats have made clear they see a wall as immoral and ineffective and prefer other types of border security funded at already agreed upon levels.

Trump had campaigned on the promise that Mexico would pay for the wall. Mexico has refused. He's now demanding the money from Congress.

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