All the signs of a winding-down are there, although any such claim must be asterisked. It’s as likely as not that Trump will hear the news about flight delays and start boasting that another month of a shutdown will be great for Amtrak.

Continetti could have added “depressing poll numbers” (and not just for Trump’s job approval) and “Trump cabinet members getting skittish about letting this go on.” Ben Carson said yesterday that “We can continue to hope that our leaders will recognize that this is an easy problem to solve. I mean, just take your ego out of it.” Although his spokesman clarified later that he meant congressional leaders, not you-know-who.

The key player is McConnell since he controls what hits the floor in the Senate and he alone maybe could provide 20 Republican votes for a veto-proof majority to end the shutdown. We’re not at that point yet, but if you believe The Hill, McConnell warned Pence yesterday as clearly as he could that it’s time for this to end:

One GOP senator said lawmakers told Pence “the shutdown needs to come to an end, this is not a strategy that works [and] we never should have had a shutdown in the first place.”…

One of the most remarkable moments during the Senate luncheon came when McConnell told Pence that shuttering the government to try to secure funding for a border wall was not a smart approach.

“McConnell talked about how we need to bring this process to a close; we should never have had a shutdown; they don’t work; I’ve said this numerous times; I don’t know how many times I’ve told you there’s no education in the second kick of a mule,” said a GOP source familiar with the meeting.

There was tension within the caucus too, with Ron Johnson reportedly barking at McConnell at one point, “This is your fault,” and Mitt Romney and Thom Tillis having a “lively” exchange about how to vote on the two bills at the heart of yesterday’s Senate clusterfark. Speaking of which, this can’t be true, can it?

The White House’s new appetite for a negotiated resolution came after the administration managed to peel off just one Democratic vote — that of Sen. Joe Manchin (D, W.V.) — a fact that came as a particular surprise to Trump’s son-in-law and adviser Jared Kushner, who has touted his relationships with Democratic lawmakers but lacks deep experience on Capitol Hill.

How … how did he not know that, at best, he was going to get Manchin and Doug Jones and no one else? Everyone who follows politics knew! There aren’t enough red-state Democrats left to get to 60, certainly not ones who are facing reelection in the near term. It’s mind-bending that the president’s de facto chief of staff is so out of touch with political reality that he’d get caught off-guard on a big showcase vote in the middle of a shutdown.

Two questions now. One, obviously, is the timetable, the other is whether the government re-opens the hard way or the easy way. The “hard way” is with a veto-proof majority in both chambers of Congress, and that would be very, very hard. Even though McConnell would be doing Trump a political favor at this point by ending this, it’ll be seen as the ultimate stab-in-the-back by MAGA media. Trump was so close to total victory and then the RINO cucks stole it away. The “easy way” is for the government to re-open with Trump’s blessing, as he’s the only politician on either side of this fracas whose base is sufficiently loyal that they’d forgive him for blinking. Doing things the easy way would actually be in Trump’s self-interest inasmuch as it’ll reduce the (small) chance that Republican populists will withhold their votes from GOP Senate candidates next year in protest of their surrender in the shutdown. But the “easy way” is personally hard for him since it would mean he’d lose face; the “hard way,” in which he’s betrayed by congressional Republicans, let’s him save face but at great cost to the party and the Senate majority.

As we wait for news, here’s Grahamnesty looking and sounding completely defeated in discussing a temporary funding bill. Has anyone in Congress been roadblocked the past month as much as Graham has? He began the process trying to pitch both sides on a “DREAM for wall” deal. Wasn’t happening. Then he tried to put together a three-week funding bill so that negotiations could happen while the government re-opens. Trump wasn’t having it. Then he called on Trump to declare a national emergency. POTUS opted against that too. Now what?

Update: That was … fast.

Trump has opposed temporary funding bills to this point for the sensible reason that it’ll be hard to muster the political will for a second shutdown next month so soon after ending this one. What’s changed? If Republicans and Democrats spend three weeks bargaining and can’t make a deal as new funding runs out, what then?

Update: We have a deal. For a few weeks.

Congressional leaders and President Trump have reached a tentative deal to temporarily reopen the government and continue talks on Trump’s demand for border wall money, Capitol Hill officials said Friday.

With Trump’s approval, the pact would reopen shuttered government departments for the three weeks while leaving the issue of $5.7 billion for the U.S.-Mexico border wall to further talks.

Within the past hour WaPo published a new poll finding that Trump’s job approval had risen five points in the past three months to 58 percent. Among independents it was 10 points, up to 63 percent. Today’s “temporary” funding bill is, I assume, a permanent funding bill in practice: If they can’t reach a deal before three weeks are up — and they won’t, if Trump continues to insist on wall funding — then this probably ends next month with him declaring a national emergency to try to use Pentagon money to build the wall while agreeing to fund the government long-term.