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Ryan reportedly ready to end Trump impasse

House Speaker Paul Ryan has begun telling confidants that he wants to end his standoff with Donald Trump in part because he’s worried the split has sharpened divisions in the Republican Party, according to two people close to the lawmaker.

Ryan aides say nothing has been decided about a possible Trump endorsement. But Trump’s campaign manager, Paul Manafort, told a small group of Republican lawmakers Thursday that he expects Ryan to endorse the party’s nominee as early as this week, according to two people in the meeting.

If Ryan were to endorse Trump, the move would end a nearly unprecedented standoff between the House speaker and his party’s presumptive presidential nominee, and remove the biggest remaining obstacle to Trump’s efforts to unite Republicans around his campaign.

In fact, Manafort told the gathering of Republican lawmakers that Ryan’s endorsement would put more pressure on the party’s remaining Trump holdouts to fall in line.

It would also link the speaker more directly to Trump, marking a significant break for a man who ran on a presidential ticket in 2012 with Mitt Romney — by far Trump’s loudest critic inside the party.

It’s not clear how Ryan, who said that he wasn’t interested in a “fake unification” of his party, would choreograph an endorsement after his initial public reluctance.

“There’s no update and we’ve not told the Trump campaign to expect an endorsement,” AshLee Strong, a Ryan spokeswoman, said in an email. “He’s also not told anyone he regrets anything.”

Ryan and Trump remain deeply divided over major policy issues, particularly free trade and immigration. The pair met only once in person during the standoff, in a closely watched encounter on May 12.

But behind the scenes over the past two weeks, there have been a series of meetings between Ryan and Trump aides on policy issues that could clear the way for Ryan’s endorsement.

Ryan’s chief of staff, David Hoppe, has been either attending or closely monitoring meetings away from Capitol Hill with Stephen Miller, a top Trump aide who used to work for Senator Jeff Sessions of Alabama, according to a person familiar with the meetings. Sessions was the first senator to endorse Trump.

The meetings have not yet involved other Republican congressional leadership offices. They are described by the person as a significant exchange of ideas, not just on broad political principles, but on individual issues and specific legislation.

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