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Photo: Aaron P. Bernstein/Getty Images

Here we go again. On Tuesday at 11:30 am, President Trump plans to meet with Democratic leaders Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer to see if they can cut a deal to keep the government open. Over the past two days, we've emailed and spoken to more than a dozen Democrats and Republicans in close touch with leadership. None were optimistic that Tuesday's meeting could yield a durable deal.

The bottom line: The problem is simple: Trump wants $5 billion for his border wall, and Pelosi and Schumer don't want to give it to him.

  • Especially not Pelosi, who won't even commit to the $1.6 billion Schumer has already offered. She has offered a one-year funding extension at current levels ($1.3 billion for border security).
  • Pelosi is more ideologically progressive than Schumer, oversees a more progressive conference than he does, has a Speaker's vote on the floor in January, vehemently opposes Trump's immigration policies, and has no incentive to give Trump anything.

The two likeliest scenarios, according to these sources:

  • Possibility 1: A partial government shutdown (about 25% of the government). It's not clear how Trump would reopen the government, given Democrats are unlikely to pay for his wall.
  • Possibility 2: Yet another short-term funding extension to push the problem to next year.

A senior Democratic Senate aide summed up the week ahead: "Democrats aren't going to move on the $1.6 billion in the Homeland Security bill. A shutdown around the holiday makes no sense for the Republicans. And we have the backstop of Speaker Pelosi passing a continuing resolution [short-term funding extension] as her first act, putting Republicans in a terrible spot."

  • "My actual prediction out of the meeting is jumbled posturing from both sides leading to more chaos and an eventual continuing resolution," the source added.
  • Trump has wanted his border security money to come without restrictions — a sticking point with Democrats, who are willing to appropriate funds for border security measures, but not for Trump's wall.

Between the lines: Notice how quiet Republicans have been about the shutdown fight? It's because they don't want to deal with this right now; they want to go home for Christmas. They are united in their enthusiasm about getting out of town ASAP — and that leaves Trump with little leverage.

Behind the scenes: You'll hear Democrats say — and some Republicans, too, privately — that Trump should be happy with $1.6 billion for border security because that's what he asked for in his 2019 budget.

But here's an anecdote that illuminates the reality:

  • During a White House meeting in June, Republican Sens. Shelley Moore Capito and Richard Shelby discussed border security with Trump and several White House officials, including Budget Director Mick Mulvaney.
  • Capito told Trump they'd be able to deliver the $1.6 billion in wall funding he requested. According to a source with direct knowledge, Trump replied, "Who asked for $1.6 billion?" (The answer: Trump’s 2019 budget, which Mulvaney prepared.)

Go deeper:

Go deeper

Nathan Bomey, author of Closer
14 mins ago - Economy & Business

Tesla delays Cybertruck until 2023

Tesla debuts the Cybertruck in Hawthorne, Calif., on Nov. 21, 2019. Photo: Frederic J. Brown/AFP via Getty Images

Tesla is at risk of falling behind on one of the most critical products in the American auto industry: pickups.

Why it matters: Pickups are the most profitable segment in the business and account for the first, second and third best-selling vehicles in the country. Without a serious pickup strategy, Tesla could miss out on a huge source of future income.

Defense taking steps to mitigate civilian harm after botched airstrikes

Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin speaks during a news conference at the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia on Sept. 1, 2021. Photo: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin issued a directive Thursday to improve the U.S. military's approach to civilian harm mitigation and response, calling it a "strategic and a moral imperative."

Why it matters: The Pentagon has faced criticism for years for amassing civilian casualties in its missions, especially in the Middle East. New York Times investigations have found systemic failures in efforts to prevent civilian deaths, as well as a cover-up of a 2019 airstrike that killed dozens of women and children in Syria.

3 hours ago - World

Mapped: The world's most and least corrupt countries

Expand chart
Data: Transparency International; Map: Jared Whalen/Axios

The most corrupt governments in the world are in South Sudan, Syria and Somalia, according to Transparency International's annual index, while the "cleanest" are in Denmark, Finland and New Zealand.

  • Breaking it down: The U.S. is 27th, China 66th, India 85th, Brazil 96th and Russia 136th. Scroll over the map to see each country's ranking.