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Trump suggests he will declare national emergency over border wall

The border wall that separates the United States from Mexico runs along a neighborhood on January 27, 2019 in Tecate, Mexico. (Photo by AFP)

President Donald Trump has suggested that he would declare a national emergency in order to get funding to build his proposed wall along US-Mexico border.

Speaking to reporters at a White House anti-human-trafficking event on Friday, Trump said there was a "good chance" he would make such a declaration during his State of the Union address on Tuesday.

US President Donald Trump speaks during a meeting to discuss fighting human trafficking on the southern border on February 1, 2019 in Washington, DC. (Photo by AFP) 

"I think there's a good chance that we'll have to do that. But we will at the same time be building, regardless, we're building a wall. And we're building a lot of wall. But I can do it a lot faster the other way."

"Well, I'm saying listen closely to the State of the Union. I think you'll find it very exciting," Trump said when asked again about the same issue.

The declaration, which he has threatened for weeks, could help free up billions of dollars in construction money for the wall.

The president had made similar comments earlier in an interview with The New York Times published Thursday.

"I'll continue to build the wall and we'll get the wall finished," he said. "Now whether or not I declare a national emergency -- that you'll see."

On January 25, Trump signed legislation to temporarily end the longest government shutdown, dropping his previous insistence on immediate funding for wall construction.

The spending bill Trump and Democrats agreed to does not contain the $5.7 billion he needs for the wall.

The president's comments on Friday came a day after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said there was not going to be any wall money in any deal congressional negotiators reach to avert another government shutdown.

Speaking to reporters on Thursday, Pelosi said she would allow a vote on any agreement the conference committee reaches in the next few weeks, but, "There’s not going to be any wall money in the legislation.”

In his Tuesday address, Trump will also talk about areas where Republicans and Democrats may be able to find agreement, a senior White House official told Reuters.

"Together we can break decades of political stalemate, we can bridge old divisions, heal old wounds, build new coalitions, forge new solutions and unlock the extraordinary promise of America’s future. The decision is ours to make," Trump will say.

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