Sen. Graham says Trump is 'slowing down' Syria withdrawal

Sen. Lindsey Graham told reporters Sunday after a lunch with President Trump that plans to withdraw 2,000 U.S. troops from Syria are "slowing down in a smart way."

Graham, a South Carolina Republican, said outside the White House that talks about removing military personnel from the country are in a "pause situation."

The senator said Trump told him "some things I didn't know" about his plans in Syria "that make me feel a lot better about where we're headed" in the Middle Eastern country.

Graham, a close ally of the president, was an outspoken critic of Trump's sudden decision to announce the withdrawal of troops from Syria. Trump did so after declaring on Twitter that ISIS was defeated, something that military leaders countered. Shortly after that announcement, Defense Secretary James Mattis filed his resignation letter.

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Lindsey Graham and President Trump
US President Donald Trump (R) jokes with US Senator Chuck Grassley (L), R-Iowa,that he likes Sen. Lindsey Graham(L) R-SC during a meeting with Republican members of the Senate about immigration at the White House in Washington, DC, on January 4, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / JIM WATSON (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 04: (AFP OUT) U.S. President Donald Trump (3rd L) speaks as (L-R) Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC) listen during a meeting in the Roosevelt Room of the White House January 4, 2018 in Washington, DC. President Trump met with Republican members of the Senate to discuss immigration. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) scratches his brow as he stands behind President Donald Trump during an event with Republican lawmakers to mark passage of sweeping tax overhaul legislation at the White House in Washington, U.S., December 20, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham joins U.S. President Donald Trump for a meeting with some of his fellow Senate Republicans at the White House in Washington, U.S. December 5, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham joins U.S. President Donald Trump for a meeting with some of his fellow Senate Republicans at the White House in Washington, U.S. December 5, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
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Trump and Graham discussed the government shutdown and said the border wall, funding for which led the president to refrain from signing off on a temporary funding agreement to prevent the shutdown, has become a euphemism for border security. The comment echoed outgoing White House Chief of Staff John Kelly's comments to the Los Angeles Times.

Trump was "upbeat," in a "very good mood," and is "receptive to making a deal" with Democrats to end the shutdown, Graham said. When asked when that would be, Graham replied: "Don't know."

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