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Paul Ryan lists Trump-era priorities as he insists Republicans have ‘mandate’

Speakers remarks at odds with president-elect as Trump tells CBS he plans to deport as many as three million people and fence may replace sections of wall

The wall that Donald Trump has promised to build on the US-Mexico border may in part be some fencing, the president-elect said in an interview released on Sunday, as the top Republican already in Washington hinted at disagreements and uncertainties for how they intend to govern together.

In an interview with CBSs 60 Minutes, Trump said there could be some fencing in his proposed wall, which would span nearly 2,000 miles and cost billions. On the campaign trail he promised that the barrier would be exclusively built of hardened concrete, rebar and steel.

Im very good at this, he told CBS. Its called construction.

Also on Sunday, Paul Ryan, speaker of the House and the lawmaker poised to write sweeping new legislation for the Republican-controlled government, said he believed his party had a mandate to reshape healthcare, taxes, regulations and border security for the Trump administration.

Discrepancies between Trumps promises and Ryans plans, however, suggested that the president-elect and his future Congress do not yet know how they will make such changes.

Ryan insisted, for instance, that Trumps priority would not be the mass deportation of millions of undocumented migrants.

That is not what our focus is, we are focused on securing the border before we get on any immigration, Ryan told CNNs State of the Union. We are not planning on erecting a deportation force, Donald Trumps not planning on that.

Trump has repeatedly promised a deportation force and in August said: Day one, my first hour in office, those people are gone! In his CBS interview, he said he would deport as many as 3 million people.

What we are going to do is get the people that are criminal and have criminal records, gang members, drug dealers, where a lot of these people, probably 2 million, it could be even 3 million, we are getting them out of our country or we are going to incarcerate, Trump said.

But were getting them out of our country, theyre here illegally.

In June, Ryan broke with Trump over a proposed ban on Muslims entering the US. On Sunday, Rudy Giuliani, one of the president-elects advisers, said the ban would now be imposed on a country-by-country basis.

The ban would be restricted to particular countries, the former New York mayor told CNN, naming Syria and Yemen. All the rest from countries that contain dangerous populations, they would be subject to extreme vetting.

Giuliani suggested the US could work with regimes in Egypt and Pakistan for pretty good vetting, but not a complete ban.

Speaker Ryan also said the Republican party, which until last year largely supported Barack Obamas free trade agenda with Asia, was not entirely behind Trumps promises to impose high tariffs on countries such as China and Mexico.

Not tariffs, not trade wars, Ryan said, instead saying he wanted to fix our taxes on border adjustments.

He maintained that the party would find common ground with the new president, saying: Hes trying to make America more competitive.

Ryan echoed Trump in suggesting that the party intended to keep some parts of Barack Obamas Affordable Care Act, while repealing the healthcare law itself.

A full repeal could mean as many as 20 million people losing health insurance. Ryan told CNN that people 26 and younger could, according to his proposals, stay on their parents plan, and that Congress would need to have a solution for pre-existing conditions. He also said the party would propose refundable tax credits that would lower the cost of coverage.

We would have a healthcare system in America where everyone, regardless of income and position, he said, would get to buy what you want to buy, not what the government is making you buy.

But Ryan refused to answer questions about whether women would still be able to have birth control covered.

Im not going to get into all the nitty gritty details about these things, he said, adding, Im not going to get into hypotheticals about legislation that hasnt even been written yet.

Giuliani also insisted that Trump would have no conflicts of interest in office, even if he hands control of his sprawling, international business to three of his children, who have acted as his closest advisers.

Once he gets into government they will not be they will not be advising, Giuliani said. There will have to be a wall between them with regard to government matters.

Ryan also expressed confidence in Trump and his entourage, which includes Steve Bannon, a former investor and far-right media chief executive whose website, Breitbart, has trafficked in openly racist, sexist, homophobic and antisemitic writing.

Ive never met the guy. Ive never met Steve Bannon, Ryan said. So I have no concerns. I trust Donald Trump.

I believe that Donald is going to have a great set of choices to make for staffing [the White House], Ryan continued. Hes a successful person, he surrounds himself with successful people. So Im confident hes going to do the same here.

He denounced the perpetrators of hate crimes and racist graffiti that have been reported since Trumps victory, saying: They are not Republicans and we dont want them.

We are pluralistic, we are inclusive, and will continue to be. I really think people should put their minds at ease.

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Paul Ryan deserts Trump campaign but won’t formally drop endorsement

A day after contentious debate, the speaker of the House tells congressional members you all need to do whats best for you in your district

Top Republican Paul Ryan deserted Donald Trump on Monday after an aggressive debate attack against Hillary Clinton failed to quell mounting disgust over his attitude toward women.

The speaker of the House told congressional colleagues on a conference call that he would no longer defend Trump or campaign with him. He urged them to do whats best for you to save the partys majority and avoid giving Hillary Clinton a blank check in the White House, though stressed he was not yet formally unendorsing the partys official nominee.

A CNN poll showed 57% of respondents felt Clinton had won the second debate, as a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal survey taken over the weekend showed her leading Trump by 11 points among likely voters. She is 5.8 points ahead in polling averages calculated by Real Clear Politics, a position that translates into a base of 260 of the 270 electoral votes needed to win the presidency, with 165 relatively solid for Trump and 113 to play for.

Trump immediately fired back at Ryan on Twitter. Paul Ryan should spend more time on balancing the budget, jobs and illegal immigration and not waste his time on fighting Republican nominee, wrote Trump in a blast at the House speaker with whom he has long had a rocky relationship.

Ryan dragged his heels on endorsing Trump after the real estate developer clinched the Republican nomination in May and disinvited him from a joint appearance in Wisconsin on Saturday in the aftermath of the leaked remarks Trump made about women.

As Clinton climbed the steps to board her plane in Westchester, New York, on Monday to depart for a campaign rally in Detroit, a reporter shouted a question about whether she believed Trump would show up for the final debate. Laughing, she replied: Yes.

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Ryan trashes Putin but won’t call out Trump for praising him

Washington (CNN)House Speaker Paul Ryan, pressed about Donald Trump’s praise of the strongman Russian leader, trashed Vladimir Putin, but wouldn’t criticize the GOP presidential nominee.

“Vladimir Putin is an aggressor that does not share our interests,” Ryan told reporters at his weekly news conference on Capitol Hill, before listing what he viewed as the Russian leaders’ transgressions.
    “Vladimir Putin is violating the sovereignty of neighboring countries. It certainly appears that he is conducting state-sponsored cyber-attacks on what appears to be our political system. That is not acting in our interest. And that is an adversarial stance and he is acting like an adversary,” he said.
    But when CNN pressed the speaker if he had concerns about Trump’s high regard for Putin, Ryan dodged.
    “I made my points about Putin clear right there. I’ll just leave it at that,” he said.
    Trump’s remarks about Putin were among a series of controversial statements the real estate businessman made at a national security forum hosted Wednesday by NBC News. He noted Putin’s high approval rating was at 82% and told moderator Matt Lauer he was a better leader than President Barack Obama.
    “I mean, the man has very strong control over a country. And that’s a very different system and I don’t happen to like the system. But certainly in that system he’s been a leader, far more than our president has been a leader,” he said.
    Ryan has had a sometimes-rocky relationship with Trump. He initially held back an endorsement when he became the nominee in May and has criticized the businessman periodically when he’s voiced views that the speaker believes are detrimental to the party.
    But when asked again about the latest things Trump has said about military leaders and the other issues if he is reconsidering his support now, the speaker bristled.
    “You think I’m going to stand up here and be election pundit? I’ve got other things to do in this job,” Ryan said.
    Trump is the GOP nominee “because he won our nomination fair and square,” Ryan said, repeating his past remarks on Trump. “I’m not going to sit up here and do the tit-for-tat on what Donald said last night or the night before and Hillary vs. Donald.”
    Ryan also seemed to give some cover to Trump when he was asked if the presidential candidate should present a detailed proposal to battle the terror group ISIS.
    “We have a plan to defeat ISIS,” referring to a proposal that is part of Ryan’s “Better Way” policy agenda. He added about his own 67 point plan, “look at what we are offering in conjunction with our nominee.”

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    Join, or die: Paul Ryan signals desire to put party unity ahead of Trump anxiety

    House speaker says this election is too important to go in at half strength ahead of Trumps meeting with Republican leadership on Capitol Hill on Thursday

    After declining to endorse Donald Trump last week, Paul Ryan on Wednesday said he hoped an upcoming meeting with the presumptive Republican nominee would begin the process of unifying the party in order to defeat Hillary Clinton in November.

    Addressing reporters on Wednesday, one day before Trump is to meet Ryan and other Republicans on Capitol Hill, the House speaker said the stakes were too high to gloss over and fail to address the lingering differences within the party.

    To pretend were unified as a party after coming through a very bruising primary, which just ended like a week ago, to pretend were unified without actually unifying, then we go into the fall at half strength, Ryan said at his weekly press conference.

    This election is too important to go into an election at half strength. That means that we need a real unification of our party. Which, look, after a tough primary thats going to take some effort.

    Ryan stunned many in Washington with his announcement last week that he was not yet ready to support Trump, laying bare an unprecedented distance between the highest ranking Republican in the nation and the partys presumptive nominee, who for the next six months will serve as its standard bearer in the general election.

    At least a few rank-and-file members stood up in a closed-door Republican conference meeting to express their discomfort with Ryans declaration, according to a source in the room. There were others who were instead supportive of Ryans statement, reflecting the deepening chasm among Republicans who are damned if they embrace Trump and damned if they dont.

    Some House Republicans have stated publicly that they will not back Trump as the nominee, particularly those from key battleground states, such as Illeana Ros-Lehtinen and Carlos Curbelo of Florida and Scott Rigell of Virginia. At the same time, there are those Republicans hailing from more conservative districts who are under growing pressure to rally around Trump.

    Trump struck a conciliatory tone toward Ryan during an interview on Wednesday, telling conservative radio host Don Imus the House speaker is a very good person [who] loves the party and loves the country.

    Maybe more than anything else, we have to get to know each other, Trump said. I really think probably well come out with something thats going to be good, I hope, otherwise Ill just continue on the path that I continue on.

    Trump is scheduled to meet Republican leaders in Congress on Thursday, including a separate meeting with Ryan and Reince Priebus, the chairman of the Republican National Committee.

    Ryan has routinely criticized Trumps controversial statements, from banning Muslim immigration into the US to the real estate moguls initial refusal to disavow the endorsement of a former Ku Klux Klan leader, David Duke. The two men also have vast policy differences, ranging from entitlement reform to trade to immigration.

    Ryan was mum on what he would need to hear from Trump in order for the billionaire to secure his confidence, confessing that they had met only once, in 2012, when Ryan was Mitt Romneys vice-presidential nominee.

    I dont really know him, Ryan said. We just need to get to know each other and we as a leadership team are enjoying the fact that we have a chance to meet with him.

    Ryans counterpart Mitch McConnell, the Republican majority leader in the Senate, issued a tepid endorsement of Trump following the crushing victory in the Indiana primary last week that forced his only remaining rivals, Texas senator Ted Cruz and Ohio governor John Kasich, out of the race.

    While at least three Republican senators Ben Sasse of Nebraska, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Dean Heller of Nevada have come out against Trump, others returning to Washington after a weeklong recess appeared resigned to accepting him as the nominee.

    Marco Rubio, the Florida senator who engaged in a bitter feud with Trump while competing for the Republican nomination, said on Tuesday he would honor the pledge he signed as a candidate to support the nominee. Even so, he maintained his prior criticisms and reservations about Trump and declined to explicitly say if he would vote for him in November.

    Senator Kelly Ayotte, who faces a tough re-election fight in New Hampshire, also sought to walk a fine line by stating she would support and vote for Trump but not offer him a formal endorsement.

    Republicans are defending 24 Senate seats in November, many of which are in states won by Barack Obama in previous election cycles. Trump also risks potentially expanding the competitive electoral map to states such as Arizona, where Senator John McCain recently confessed at a private fundraiser that having the former reality TV star at the top of the ticket would make his re-election the race of my life.

    Senator Pat Toomey, once thought to be in a more comfortable race in Pennsylvania, responded to Trumps nomination by penning an op-ed in one of his home states newspapers seeking to distance himself from many of Trumps outlandish proposals and comments toward women, immigrants and Muslims.

    Trump was not my first, second, or third choice. I object to much in his manner and his policies, Toomey wrote. Winning the nomination is a great accomplishment, but it does not mean party members check their judgment at the door.

    Even so, Toomey added he was inclined to support the nominee of his party.

    Other influential Republicans were more openly prepared to embrace Trump, including Richard Burr of North Carolina, the Senate intelligence committee chief, and Bob Corker of Tennessee, the chairman of the Senate foreign relations committee.

    Corker downplayed Trumps brash demeanor, telling reporters that Republican primary voters wanted a personality and someone who is irreverent but that the campaign had now entered a second phase, drilling down on policy.

    When people say Never this or never that, I think a better place to be is to chill and let the campaign evolve a little bit and see where the candidate ends up, Corker said.

    Susan Collins, a senator from Maine who has often broken with her party on key issues, said she expected to eventually support Trump as long as he could assume the role of a more serious general election candidate.

    He needs to reach out to Republicans, articulate more clearly what a Trump presidency would look like, and he needs to tone down and abandon the personal insults that have marred his campaign, she said.

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