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USA president Donald Trump is standing firm on his demand for $5 billion for a wall along the border with Mexico but has said it it would be a "Steel Barrier" now, instead of concrete as the partial government shutdown caused by a stalemate on its funding entered the 17th day.

But for now, both sides are sticking to their positions and negotiations over the weekend between Vice President Mike Pence and Democratic congressional staffers yielded little progress.

Trump maintains that more than $5 billion for a wall is necessary to secure the border. "We can call a national emergency and build it very quickly".

A short while after Sanders' tweet, Trump said in his own Twitter post that he will address the nation on Tuesday at 9 p.m. EST (0200 GMT Wednesday) to discuss what he called a humanitarian and national security crisis on the southern US border.

Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney told CNN he had "no idea" which past presidents told Trump they supported the wall.

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As the shutdown lurched into a third week, many Republicans watched nervously from the sidelines as hundreds of thousands of federal workers went without pay and government disruptions hit the lives of ordinary Americans. "I may do it", Trump said.

The White House did not return a request for comment on Monday night to clarify Trump's statement about the presidents.

White House counsel is reviewing whether the president has the ability to declare a national emergency in the current situation, Pence told reporters on Monday.

"Look, if Harry Truman couldn't nationalize the steel industry during wartime, this President doesn't have the power to declare an emergency and build a multibillion dollar wall on the border", Schiff said.

Illegal immigration has been a galvanizing issue for Trump's political base and Trump is making the calculus that the government shutdown is his best chance to pressure Democrats into ceding on funding for the border wall.

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Trump skipped a planned trip to Florida to stay in Washington during the Christmas and New Year's holidays after large chunks of the federal government were shuttered on December 22.

Democrats returned to Washington in the new year, taking control of the U.S. House of Representatives, and passed legislation to reopen all closed government agencies but did not include wall funding.

But Democrats have said there was no movement in the talks.

Eric Shultz, a spokesman for former president Barack Obama, pointed The Post to past remarks in which Obama spoke critically about the wall.

The President's decision to deliver a prime-time address and visit the southern border came after some of his allies warned him his arguments about immigration aren't resonating, according to two people familiar with the matter. Democrats say there has been no evidence of suspected terrorists coming through the southern border and that Trump has no grounds to declare a national emergency over the issue.

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