Mulvaney says Trump will use executive authority if Congress won't fund wall
(CNN) -- Acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney maintained Sunday that President Donald Trump will use his executive authority to get funding for a wall on the southern border if he doesn't get it through Congress.
Mulvaney, speaking on "Fox News Sunday" two days after Trump agreed to reopen the federal government despite not receiving any money for his wall, also suggested that Trump, for now, is sticking to his request for $5.7 billion.
"I think ultimately he'll be judged by what happens at the end of this process, not by what happened this week," Mulvaney said.
He said the $5.7 billion request is for the construction of a wall along 243 miles "where we need it the most and where we need it the quickest."
"This is not something where he's married to a number," Mulvaney argued, noting the request is based on what the experts say is needed. He repeatedly declined to answer a direct question about whether the President would take less than $5.7 billion.
"At the end of the day, the President is going to secure the border, one way or another," Mulvaney said, referring to the use of executive action.
"There are some pots of money that are easier to get to than others," he said, adding that the administration has looked at ways to mitigate the likely court challenge to an emergency declaration.
In announcing his support for the measure reopening the federal government for three weeks, Trump said he had "a very powerful alternative, but I'm not going to use it at this time."
"If we don't get a fair deal from Congress, the government will either shut down on February 15 again, or I will use the powers afforded to me under the laws and the Constitution of the United States to address this emergency," Trump said. "We will have great security."