Shutdown looms as Trump, Congress bicker on immigration, border wall

The southern border wall has been a pillar of President Donald Trump's message from the start.

"We definitely, desperately need the wall," Trump said. And recently it has been a sticking point on immigration negotiations. The president said that any bill on DACA must also fund for the border wall.

But during an interview with Fox News, White House Chief of Staff John Kelly said he told Democratic lawmakers the president hasn't always been fully informed while promising to build the structure along the entire Mexico border.

"I pointed out to all of the members in the room that they all say things during the course of campaigns that may or may not be fully informed," Kelly said.

Kelly insisted the commander-in-chief is committed to building large sections of the wall. Although the White House acknowledged that the Mexican government isn't going to pay for it. Kelly said that Trump has "evolved" in the way he looks at things.  

Democrats and Republicans are trying to strike a deal for protections of young undocumented immigrants known as DREAMers to avoid a federal government shutdown.

"It makes no sense for Democrats to try and bring us to a shutdown," Speaker Paul Ryan said.

Others in the GOP said they want a clear message from the Oval Office.

Trump has "not yet indicated what measure he's willing to sign," Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said.

In the meantime, the White House is rejecting Sen. Jeff Flake's criticism of the president's attitude toward the media.

"It is a testament to the condition of our democracy that our own president uses words infamously spoken by Joseph Stalin to describe his enemies," Flake said on the floor of the Senate.

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders fired back, "He's not criticizing the president because he's against oppression—he's criticizing the president because he has terrible poll numbers."

Trump also criticized Russia. In a Reuters interview, Trump said Moscow is helping North Korea evade international sanctions.

But Kelly did not confirm that Trump has spoken directly with leader Kim Jong Un.

"There are open channels," Kelly said. "But I'd prefer not to comment on that."