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By Allan Smith

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.

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."