In it, but not of it. TPM DC

Hours after the Senate gaveled in from its seven-week recess, one Republican leader was already laying the groundwork for passing a three-month stopgap spending bill that would get the Senate back on the campaign trail and out of Washington sooner than later.

There is only one problem, some conservatives in the House of Representatives may fight tooth and nail against it.

The inability of the GOP-controlled House and Senate to pass the suite of appropriations bills to fund the government because of deep party divisions is one of the great ironies of this Congress. Riders and disagreements within his own conference had kept House Speaker Paul Ryan from being able to even pass a budget in the House, delaying the appropriations process. In the Senate, disagreements on Zika funding have poisoned the well and halted the funding process.

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When congressional Republicans left Washington on July 14, there was still time for Donald Trump to settle down and emerge with a real nuts and bolts campaign and a presidential temperament. After months of ducking questions in the hall about their wild man candidate, Republicans left Washington two months ago with a faint hope that they'd return to find a more favorable presidential news cycle.

There were a few small reasons to believe things could be moving in their direction. FBI Director James Comey's rebuke of Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton's handling of private email had given Trump a narrow lead over Clinton in an LA Times poll. And while an NBC poll had Clinton winning in six out of seven key battlegrounds, a Quinnipiac poll out that same week showed Trump surging ahead in the must-win states of Pennsylvania and Florida.

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There was quite the hype going into Donald Trump's immigration speech Wednesday night. Trump and a fresh-faced campaign manager had kept us on the edge of our seats. There was a last-minute diplomatic meeting with the president of Mexico for goodness sake. There was a press conference hours before his address in which Trump himself said the words "I happen to have a tremendous feeling for Mexican Americans."

This, many Republicans hoped, sounded like a candidate who was going to shift, change, soften, moderate ... PIVOT, if you will (sorry, we had to say it).

It was all a ruse, though. What we were left with was the Trump we have always known. He wants a border wall, he is certain Mexico will pay for it and he gave no indication that he wouldn't deport the 11 million undocumented immigrants living in the country.

So what happened? How did we come to believe Trump might reform his policies ahead of the general election? We didn't create this. Here are the clues over the last two weeks that set the stage for the big Trump speech in Phoenix that turned out not to be so big at all:

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On Tuesday morning, Maine Gov. Paul LePage surprised a lot of people when he admitted he may not have what it takes to finish his second term as governor.

“I think some things I’ve been asked to do are beyond my ability," LePage told Maine radio station WVOM. "I’m not going to say that I’m not going to finish it. I’m not saying that I am going to finish it.”

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It's been a long time coming, but Wednesday Donald Trump's campaign is promising the candidate will unveil a new and detailed immigration plan that will clarify a year of flip-flops, ambiguity and policies that even many in his own party dismissed on their face as unserious.

What we know is that Trump plans to continue talking about his border wall, as well as ending sanctuary cities, but there are still big blanks to fill in including the very serious question of what Trump plans to do with the estimated 11 million immigrants still living in this country illegally.

In recent days, Trump's surrogates have remained vague about what Trump will actually say. Asked repeatedly if Trump will continue to continue to promote his deportation force in Wednesday's speech, his campaign manager Kellyanne Conway told Bloomberg Monday that Trump "has not talked about that in a very long time," but that voters will have to wait until the speech to know for sure.

Some early reporting indicates that we might not get much clarity at all from the much-hyped speech. CNN's Jim Acosta reported that a senior aide told him that Trump plans to secure the border now and postpone conversations about what to do beyond that for a few years.

But, let's pretend for a second that Trump is indeed going to fill in the blanks. Here is what you will want to be watching for.

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In his congressional office, Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL) keeps a series of drafts on immigration reform at the ready. They are proposals– many bipartisan–that he's painstakingly hammered out with colleagues over the years, reflections of the compromises that are possible if the Republican-controlled House ever wanted to prioritize immigration reform.

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Donald Trump’s latest line of attack against Hillary Clinton is putting Republicans in an awkward position, with even the GOPers out stumping for his campaign squirming when pressed whether they agree with his claim that Clinton is a "bigot."

As Clinton this week ramped up her attacks on Trump’s connections to the alt-right movement, the GOP nominee countered by explicitly labeling her a “bigot,” first in a speech slamming her "bigotry" earlier this month and then during an interview with Anderson Cooper Thursday evening where he said, “She is a bigot."

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In a not unexpected move, immigrant advocates filed a lawsuit Thursday taking on a federal court ruling that blocked President Obama's 2014 executive actions providing deportation relief to certain undocumented immigrants.

The lawsuit argues that the federal judge who blocked the implementation of the programs -- Andrew Hanen, a conservative in southern Texas -- did not have the authority to impose a nationwide injunction. Because the Supreme Court was evenly divided when Hanen’s order was appealed to the eight justices, the new lawsuit could open the door for Obama's actions to go back into effect for at least some undocumented immigrants living in other parts of the country.

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