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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

10 hours ago - Health

FDA advisory panel recommends Pfizer boosters for those 65 and older

A healthcare worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine at the Key Biscayne Community Center on Aug. 24, 2021. Photo: Eva Marie Uzcategui/Bloomberg via Getty Images

A key Food and Drug Administration advisory panel on Friday overwhelmingly voted against recommending Pfizer vaccine booster shots for younger Americans, but unanimously recommended approving the third shots for individuals 65 and older, as well as those at high-risk of severe COVID-19.

Why it matters: While the votes are non-binding, and the FDA must still make a final decision, Friday's move pours cold water on the Biden administration's plan to begin administering boosters to most individuals who received the Pfizer vaccine later this month.

11 hours ago - World

France recalls ambassadors from U.S. and Australia over submarine deal

Secretary of State Antony Blinken (L), French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian (C), and French ambassador to the U.S. Philippe Etienne. Photo: Nicholas Kamm/AFP via Getty Images

France has taken the extraordinary step of recalling its ambassadors to the U.S. and Australia after both countries blindsided their French allies with a new military pact and submarine contract, the French Foreign Ministry announced on Friday.

The backstory: While sealing an agreement with the U.S. and U.K. to acquire nuclear submarines, Australia ripped up an existing $90 billion submarine deal with France. That led senior French officials to accuse the U.S. of a "stab in the back."

Updated 11 hours ago - World

In reversal, Pentagon now says drone strike killed 10 Afghan civilians

Caskets for the dead are carried towards the gravesite as relatives and friends attend a mass funeral for members of a family that is said to have been killed in a U.S. drone airstrike, in Kabul on Aug. 30. Photo: Marcus Yam/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

A U.S. drone strike launched on Aug. 29 killed 10 civilians in Afghanistan, including seven children, rather than the Islamic State extremists the Biden administration claimed it targeted, the Pentagon said Friday.

Why it matters: U.S. Central Command said at the time that officials "know" the drone strike "disrupted an imminent ISIS-K threat" to Kabul's airport, and that they were "confident we successfully hit the target."