The first hysterical report about this from Politico this afternoon set off an earthquake among media Twitter. The original tweet:

“Open” sounds very bad indeed, enough so for Trump superfan Ann Coulter to quip, “I wish he’d go back to attacking Nordstrom.” Then came this clarification from the White House:

That makes it sound like Trump wasn’t so much encouraging them as humoring them. I.e. if the Senate wants to put a comprehensive deal together, he’d be happy to review it as a courtesy — but he’s making no promises. NBC’s understanding of the exchange makes it sound that way also:

Sure, write up a bill, send it over to Reince, we’ll give it a look-see. Maybe the White House can use it as a jumping-off point for some more limited deal, like funding for the border wall in exchange for amnesty for DREAMers.

But then came this further bulletin from NBC, which made border hawks anxious again:

“That doesn’t sound like amnesty to me”? Er, well, depending on how Manchin explained the plan, it’s *possible* that a new comprehensive immigration bill would be stronger than the Gang of Eight. The key flaw in that bill, remember, was that it granted illegals probationary legalization without guaranteeing concrete improvements in enforcement first. If that flaw is corrected such that Trump gets the wall and E-Verify and more Border Patrol, say, and only when those things are in place do illegals get any form of legal status, that might be a deal worth considering. (For some border hawks, I mean. For others, amnesty is a dealbreaker no matter how many enforcement concessions are made.) Schumer and most Democrats are unlikely to agree to any “enforcement first” comprehensive deal, fearing that the GOP will back out of the amnesty part of it even if all the enforcement measures they’re asking for are implemented, but Schumer may not be able to prevent a dam break here. Red-state Democrats like Manchin who are up for reelection in 2018 might find a comprehensive bill that’s heavy on border security quite attractive, as it would give them some cred with Republicans back home and would let them boast to liberals in their own party that they finally got the GOP to agree to some form of legalization for illegals. It may very well be that what Manchin proposed didn’t sound like a traditional amnesty, where illegals get their new status up front while the right is made to wait on border improvements — again.

But … it also may not be. Maybe Manchin ran through the Gang of Eight bill with him and Trump really did sound like he’d consider it. I can’t believe Bannon or Miller would let that happen, but I’ve always thought Trump was well positioned for a more limited deal involving DREAMers. Could be he’s open to amnesty for adults too if the price is right. Here’s what happened in Manchin’s own words, per NBC:

There are a lot of things he could have said there — no path to citizenship, ever; no comprehensive deals, ever; enforcement first, then we’ll talk about legalization separately. Instead all he said, according to Manchin, was that they should get to work on it and he’ll review it. Not a disaster, but not terrific. Amnesty ain’t licked yet.

Speaking of which, via CNN, here’s Steve King still wondering why DACA wasn’t rescinded on day one by executive order. By one estimate, more than 14,000 DREAMers have had their amnesty under Obama’s executive order extended during the 20 days of the Trump administration.