People look at U.S. border patrol guards through the U.S.-Mexico border fence. Photo: Guillermo Arias/AFP/Getty Images

President Trump has set a Feb. 15 deadline for a deal to get his wall money, and he's signaled he'll declare a national emergency or use other executive powers if he can't get the money through Congress.

The big picture: White House officials I've spoken to claim that House Democrats have privately signaled they're willing to fund a border barrier. (They won't say who.) But even these same White House officials aren't trying to spin that the "conference" to negotiate border security will yield a breakthrough. As the NYT's Jonathan Martin put it: "This is not, to put it mildly, a build-the-wall crew."

A congressional Republican aide, reflecting a widely shared view, texted this prediction: "Next three weeks will be just a messaging war. WH will use proxies to hammer why the border is a national emergency. Dems will use the time to take a victory lap. ... Most likely outcome — no wall money. POTUS uses it to justify a national emergency. Appropriations process blows up for many years."

Between the lines: By declaring a national emergency, Trump would trigger the ability for the White House to move money around that Congress controlled — including Army Corps civil works projects and military construction projects. Members regard these monies as lifelines for their districts or states; Congress protects them zealously.

Go deeper: Trump's self-inflicted slump

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Opposition leader Leopoldo López flees Venezuela

Venezuelan opposition politician Leopoldo López outside the Spanish embassy in Caracas, in 2019. Photo: Juan Barreto/AFP via Getty Images

Leopoldo López, a former political prisoner and prominent Venezuelan opposition leader, has left the country, his Popular Will party confirmed in a statement Saturday.

Why it matters: He's been an influential force in the push to oust President Nicolás Maduro's regime and a mentor to opposition leader Juan Guaidó. He'd been in the Spanish ambassador's Caracas residence since escaping house arrest in April 2019 following a failed military uprising.

Obama: The rest of us have to live with the consequences of what Trump's done

Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Campaigning for Joe Biden at a car rally in Miami on Saturday, Barack Obama railed against President Trump's response to the coronavirus pandemic, saying "the rest of us have to live with the consequences of what he's done."

Driving the news: With less than two weeks before the election, the Biden campaign is drawing on the former president's popularity with Democrats to drive turnout and motivate voters.