After "Long And Very Good" Call With Xi, Trump Says China Trade Deal "Moving Along Well"

Update (3:30 pm ET): For all those wondering why Republicans didn't manage to force through border wall funding when they held unilateral control over Washington...well.

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One day after reviving his threats to close the Southern border and withhold billions of dollars in aid to Central America, President Trump took to twitter Saturday morning - as he so often does - to continue his attacks on intransigent Democrats, demanding that the party leadership drop its "presidential harassment" and start focusing on "crime and our military".

In an unusual move, Trump inadvertently signaled publicly for the first time that he might be open to cutting a deal, after repeatedly insisted that he wouldn't accept anything less than $5 billion for wall. Though the White House has already reportedly broached a compromise (including a funding plan that would have set aside $2.5 billion for a "wall or fence" and other border-security improvements), which the Democrats have presumably rejected.

While the border-security battle has captivated the Washington press corp over the past week, the administration is preparing for the beginning of formal negotiations with the Chinese over striking a trade deal. Trump tweeted that he had a "long and very good" call with President Xi, and that "a deal is moving along very well."

Xi confirmed as much during a statement to China's state media, where he said he hoped the US and China could "meet each other half way" to strike a "mutually beneficial" agreement as soon as possible.

  • CHINA'S PRESIDENT XI SPOKE WITH TRUMP BY TELEPHONE ON DEC. 29 - CHINESE STATE MEDIA
  • XI SAYS TEAMS FROM BOTH SIDES HAVE BEEN ACTIVELY WORKING TO IMPLEMENT CONSENSUS REACHED WITH TRUMP - CHINESE STATE MEDIA
  • XI SAYS HOPES TEAMS FROM BOTH SIDES CAN MEET EACH OTHER HALF WAY, REACH AGREEMENT THAT IS MUTUALLY BENEFICIAL AS SOON AS POSSIBLE - CHINESE STATE MEDIA
  • XI SAYS HOPES TO WORK WITH U.S. TO STRENGTHEN COOPERATION IN ISSUES RELATED TO ECONOMY, TRADE, MILITARY, LAW ENFORCEMENT - CHINESE STATE MEDIA
  • XI SAYS HOPES TO MAINTAIN COMMUNICATION, COORDINATION WITH U.S. ON MAJOR GLOBAL, REGIONAL ISSUES- CHINESE STATE MEDIA
  • XI SAYS HOPES TO PUSH FORWARD COORDINATED, COOPERATIVE, STABLE SINO-U.S. RELATIONSHIP - CHINESE STATE MEDIA
  • XI REITERATES CHINA ENCOURAGES, SUPPORTS NORTH KOREA, U.S. TO CONTINUE TALKS, ACHIEVE POSITIVE RESULTS- CHINESE STATE MEDIA
  • XI SAYS AT PRESENT CHINA, U.S. RELATIONSHIP IS AT IMPORTANT STAGE- CHINESE STATE MEDIA

A team of mid-level administration officials will travel to Beijing during the week of Jan. 7 to begin face-to-face talks with the Chinese. The team will reportedly be led by Deputy US Trade Representative Jeffrey Gerrish and will include David Malpass, Treasury under secretary for international affairs.

Meanwhile, as the partial shutdown enters its seventh day, the EPA, the Coast Guard and other agencies included in the nine departments affected by the shutdown are preparing to furlough even more workers.

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