US President Donald Trump claimed that he has the "absolute right" to declare a national emergency to force the construction of a border wall at a televised meeting in the White House on Wednesday.

Speaking at a signing ceremony for anti-human trafficking legislation, Trump threatened to bypass congress if he and the Democrats fail to reach an agreement on a southern wall with Mexico.

"My threshold will be if I can't make a deal with people that are unreasonable," the president added.

Despite this, Trump said he would prefer to reach a bipartisan agreement, like on new anti-human trafficking measures.

"So many good things are happening, but we have to take care of the border. I really believe the Democrats and the Republicans are working together."

He also used human trafficking as a justification for a border wall.

"We need a barrier. We have to stop people from coming in the way they come in. And if we don't have it - you can never have border security unless you have a steel barrier, a concrete wall."

The issue of border wall funding has led to a partial government shutdown which entered its 19th day on Wednesday.

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