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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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    Dallas Morning News breaks GOP endorsement streak with anti-Trump op-ed

    Washington (CNN)The Dallas Morning News editorial board said Tuesday they would not give their blessing to Donald Trump in 2016, ending a streak of endorsing every Republican presidential nominee since 1968.

    In an editorial titled “Donald Trump is no Republican,” the paper’s editors rebuked the GOP hopeful, advising Texas voters that Trump is “not qualified to serve as president and does not deserve your vote.”
      They argue that Trump “inexplicably” won the primary despite being “the one who thumbed his nose at conservative orthodoxy altogether. Trump is — or has been — at odds with nearly every GOP ideal that this newspaper holds dear,” they wrote. “Donald Trump is no Republican and certainly no conservative.”
      The Morning News, which backed Ohio Gov. John Kasich during the primaries, cited Trump’s “authoritarian streak that should horrify limited-government advocates” and his “open admiration of Russia’s Vladimir Putin” as “alarming” reasons to oppose his candidacy. They also criticized the real estate mogul’s economic policies, saying that “his protectionism would likely force the U.S. into trade wars, increase the deficit, and sink the U.S. economy back into a recession.”
      “His ideas are so far from Republicanism that they have spawned a new description: Trumpism.”
      And without mentioning Trump’s rival, Democrat Hillary Clinton, the paper made clear it would not be getting behind Trump’s movement.
      “We have no interest in a Republican nominee for whom all principles are negotiable, nor in a Republican Party that is willing to trade away principle for pursuit of electoral victory. Trump doesn’t reflect Republican ideals of the past; we are certain he shouldn’t reflect the GOP of the future.”
      CNN has reached out to the Trump campaign for comment on the Morning News’ editorial, but did not immediately receive a response.
      In late July, another prominent Texas newspaper with a history of conservative political endorsements — the Houston Chronicle — also made headlines when it endorsed Clinton and labeled Trump a “danger to the Republican Party” in an op-ed.

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      Prominent Latino withdraws support from Donald Trump

      Washington (CNN)A prominent Latino surrogate for Donald Trump announced Thursday he had officially withdrawn his support from the Republican presidential nominee after the real estate mogul resumed his hard-line immigration position in a major policy speech in Arizona.

      Latino Partnership for Conservative Principles President Alfonso Aguilar told CNN he felt disappointed and misled by Trump and his campaign after recent speculation the Republican nominee would soften his stance on undocumented immigrants.
        “For the last two months, he said he was not going to deport people without criminal records,” Aguilar told CNN’s Carol Costello on “Newsroom.” “And then we heard yesterday, and I was totally disappointed — not surprised, but disappointed — and slightly misled, because he gave the impression and the campaign gave the impression until yesterday morning that he was going to deal with the undocumented in a compassionate way.”
        Trump on Wednesday returned to the same immigration rhetoric that saw him clinch the GOP nomination, telling an audience in Phoenix that there would be “no amnesty” for undocumented migrants living in the United States under his presidency.
        Aguilar, who has been critical of Trump’s tone and posture on race and immigration in the past, slammed Trump for his plan, with Aguilar describing it as being “even worse than what he initially proposed.”
        “They’re going to leave the country, self-deport or be removed, and there’s no guarantee that they will return,” Aguilar said. “I mean that speech was a restrictionist speech. And I just think he’s embraced Jeff Sessions and people like Ann Coulter and forgotten about building a coalition to win this election. I’m so sorry, but I just can’t be part of that.”
        But Aguilar remained adamant that he would still not vote for Democratic presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton, in November.
        “I mean, people who think that she’s (Clinton) committed to immigration reform, she’s misleading them just like Donald Trump misled us,” Aguilar said. “So, look, I don’t think we have a good choice right now. I think I have to talk to our coalition of leaders and figure out, you know, what our next step is, but certainly, it’s not going to be to support Trump nor Hillary Clinton.”
        Aguilar’s announcement follows a report by Politico on Wednesday that high-profile Latino Trump surrogates, including Trump National Hispanic Advisory Council member Jacob Monty, were wavering in their support after the address at the Phoenix Convention Center.
        Monty also officially distanced himself from the Republican Party’s standard-bearer Thursday, telling CNN he had stepped down from the council.
        “We need more security but when he called for the deportation of (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) recipients, that is just unrealistic, cruel, (and) not productive for the economy because they’re working, they’re going to school,” Monty told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer on Thursday. “And the biggest thing for me was when he completely punted on the issue of what to do with the 11 million, when we discussed that with him.”
        Monty added, “And when I saw that, I had to resign because I’m not going to be a prop for his image like the president of Mexico was yesterday.”
        Monty said he too was not prepared to vote for Clinton and had decided not to vote for either of the candidates at the top of the ticket, supporting Republicans further down the ballot instead.

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        Donald Trump’s immigration policy: Then and now

        Austin, Texas (CNN)Donald Trump launched his presidential campaign by promising to build a “great, great wall” on the US southern border — and make Mexico pay for it — while painting undocumented Mexican immigrants as criminals and rapists.

        More than a year later, Trump, now the Republican nominee, is preparing to wade back into the heated immigration debate. This time, though, he appears poised to lay out a more nuanced immigration policy — one that could foll back some of the unapologetically blunt proposals that helped carry him to victory in the GOP primaries.
          The real estate mogul and his new campaign leadership have dodged questions in recent days about whether Trump will abandon the promises he made on illegal immigration that attracted Republican primary voters to his campaign in droves, notably his promise to deport all estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants living in the US.
          That’s fueling questions that Trump may be on the verge of a big flip-flop something the candidate is denying.
          Here’s a look at the various ways he’s approached his trademark policy issue.

          Deportation policy

          While denying that he is “flip flopping,” Trump and his campaign have made it clear in recent days they are mulling what to do with the undocumented immigrants living in the US.
          “The first thing we’re gonna do, if and when I win, is we’re gonna get rid of all the bad ones. We’ve got gang members, we have killers we have a lot of bad people that have to get out of this country,” Trump said Monday night on Fox News. “As far as everybody else, we’re going to go through the process.”
          His newly minted campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway, said Tuesday morning on Fox the campaign wants “to be fair to everyone” and said the campaign is making sure not to “rush through a speech let alone a plan.”
          “It’s a very complex issue,” Conway said.
          But Trump’s calls to deport all estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants were anything but equivocal as he campaigned for the Republican nomination.
          In the first month of his campaign, Trump vowed to deport all undocumented immigrants and then allow “the good ones” to reenter legally.
          “We have a law. You’re supposed to come in legally. I would get people out and I would have an expedited way of getting ’em back into the country so they can be legal,” Trump told CNN’s Dana Bash in July 2015.
          A month later, Trump said on NBC’s “Meet the Press” that while those “good ones” could come back in through an “expedited” process, they must first be deported.
          “They have to go,” Trump has said repeatedly on the trail. “We either have a country or we don’t have a country.”
          Trump pressed on with his commitment to this plan at hundreds of rallies where his supporters frequently cited Trump’s hardline stance on immigration as the rallying cry that drew them to Trump’s unconventional candidacy.
          Trump continued to rise in the polls and — despite repeated questions from the media about the financial cost of his plan and the need to deport immigrants whom he vowed to allow back into the country — stuck to his controversial plan.
          “We’re rounding ’em up in a very humane way, in a very nice way,” Trump said in September on “60 Minutes” discussing how he would implement the deportation plan. “And by the way, I know it doesn’t sound nice. But not everything is nice.”
          In November, Trump explained he would deploy a “deportation force” to carry out his plans to detain and eject millions of people from the US and cited President Dwight Eisenhower’s injection of manpower and funding to deport undocumented immigrants in 1954.

          Building the wall

          If there’s one illegal immigration prescription for which Trump has unwaveringly stood by, it’s his pledge to build a wall on the southern border.
          While Trump has since specified that the wall would not stretch through areas of the border that already have natural borders, Trump has stuck by his promise, which has become a rallying cry at virtually all of his rallies.
          “And who’s going to pay for the wall?” Trump regularly asks his supporters at campaign rallies, to which the crowds respond “Mexico!”
          Trump even forced a change in the Republican Party’s official platform to call for the building of a physical wall along the border with Mexico.
          “That is why we support building a wall along our southern border and protecting all ports of entry. The border wall must cover the entirety of the southern border and must be sufficient to stop both vehicular and pedestrian traffic,” the official GOP platform now reads.
          Trump, who earned the endorsement of the union representing about 16,500 border patrol agents, the Border Patrol Council, has also vowed to boost funding and resources to enforcement activities at the southern border.
          Trump has also vowed his wall will include “a big, fat beautiful door right in the middle of the wall” to allow immigrants to come into the US legally.

          Signs of change

          While Trump remains stalwart in his promise to build the border wall and continues to decry the crimes committed by some undocumented immigrants living in the US, Trump has tweaked his rhetoric since becoming the Republican nominee — suggesting potential changes to his deportation policy.
          In a June interview with Bloomberg, Trump rejected the characterization of his deportation plan as “mass deportations.”
          “I would not call it mass deportations,” Trump said, without hinting at whether he was rejecting the terminology or the policy.
          Instead, he added, “We’re going to get rid of a lot of bad dudes who are here … that I can tell you.”
          The inklings of change on that issue came just as Trump began to pivot away from his proposed blanket ban on Muslims entering the country. The billionaire has yet to refute that policy but has instead pushed for banning people from countries with heavy terrorist activity and where the US government cannot adequately vet visa applicants.
          Trump was set to deliver a major speech on illegal immigration this week, but his campaign decided to postpone the address as it continues to craft its policy and the language to deliver it.
          Trump met Saturday with an advisory group of Hispanic supporters — including businesspeople, politicians and community leaders — and emerged vowing to “come up with a fair but firm process” for addressing the issue of about 11 million undocumented immigrants residing in the US.
          Trump even pointed Monday night on Fox News to the deportations of undocumented immigrants under both President George W. Bush and President Barack Obama and said “I’m gonna do the same thing,” which, if true, would leave hardline anti-illegal immigration activists who have supported Trump thoroughly disappointed.
          Asked Sunday whether Trump was changing his mind on establishing a deportation force to round up the millions of undocumented immigrants living in the U.S., Conway, Trump’s new campaign manager, responded simply, “To be determined.”

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