Trump's announcement follows the longest federal shutdown in US history, with over 800,000 federal workers unpaid and at times resorting to selling possessions to make ends meet.

President Donald Trump speaks from the Oval Office of the White House as he gives a prime-time address about border security Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2018, in Washington.
President Donald Trump speaks from the Oval Office of the White House as he gives a prime-time address about border security Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2018, in Washington. (Carlos Barria / AP)

President Donald Trump says he'll make a "major announcement" on the government shutdown and the southern border on Saturday afternoon as the standstill over his border wall continues.

The White House did not immediately provide details on Friday about what the president would be announcing, but a person familiar with the planning said Trump planned to outline a new deal with specific proposals that the administration believes could potentially pave the way to the shutdown's end. The person was not authorized to discuss the announcement and spoke on condition of anonymity.

The move — on Day 28 of a shutdown that has left hundreds of thousands of federal workers without paychecks — represents the first major overture by the president since January 8, when he delivered an Oval Office address making the public case for his border wall. 

Alexi Noelle reports from Pennsylvania.

The president and his aides have said he will not budge on his demand for $5.7 billion for his border wall. Democrats have panned the offer and said they will not negotiate until the government reopens.

An end in sight?

White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders declined to discuss what Trump might propose but said he was "going to continue looking for the solution" to end what the administration had repeatedly referred to as a "humanitarian and national security crisis at the border."

The shutdown is in retaliation for the Democratic-led House's refusal to approve his US-Mexico border wall project, and is having a deep impact across the country, where for almost a month FBI agents, museum workers, Coast Guard personnel and other officials have been either not at work or forced to work for nothing. Regular employees will get back pay eventually, while contractors will not.

The Democrats and the White House blame each other for the impasse, with neither side showing any sign of backing down soon.

Critics of Trump quickly pointed out that he made a trip himself to visit troops in Iraq during the shutdown, while a White House delegation is still booked to fly on official travel to the Davos international forum next week.

A crisis in the making

While few would argue that a humanitarian crisis is unfolding as the demand for entry by migrants and the Trump administration's hardline response overwhelm border resources, critics say Trump has badly exaggerated the security risks.

The Friday evening announcement came after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Friday canceled her plans to travel by commercial plane to visit US troops in Afghanistan, saying Trump had caused a security risk by talking about the trip. The White House said there was no such leak.

But it was the latest turn — and potentially the most dangerous — in the high-stakes brinkmanship between Trump and Pelosi, playing out against the stalled negotiations over how to end the partial government shutdown.

And it showed once again the willingness of the former hard-charging businessman to hit hard when challenged, as he was earlier this week when Pelosi suggested postponing his State of the Union address during the shutdown.

Julian Zelizer, a professor of history and public affairs at Princeton University, said it "gives new meaning" to tensions between the executive and legislative branches.

"There are public back and forths," he said, citing relations between past presidents and House speakers. "But this kind of tensions, preventing the speaker from visiting the troops and the speaker suggesting the White House leaked information about a crucial flight, this is one more example of where Trumpism brings us into new territory."

High stakes

The political stakes are high as the shutdown moves into a fifth week, with hundreds of thousands of federal workers going witho ut pay and no outward signs of resolution.

Sanders on Friday stressed the importance of a looming Tuesday deadline to process paychecks, when the government will need to decide if workers get another round of zeros on Friday's payday.

Next week, House Democrats will pass bills to try to fund the government, including one adding $1 billion to border security — to hire 75 immigration judges and improve infrastructure. The Senate, controlled by Republicans, has declined t o consider any bills unless Trump is prepared to sign them into law.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies