Trump throws off 'shackles' with attacks on GOP, Clinton
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Abandoned by many in his party, Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpJustice Department preparing for Mueller report as soon as next week: reports Smollett lawyers declare 'Empire' star innocent Pelosi asks members to support resolution against emergency declaration MORE is embracing open warfare against his Republican critics and making clear he intends to hold nothing back in the final weeks of the presidential race.

Trump set the tone with a tweet early Tuesday morning, declaring himself a candidate unbound.


“It is so nice that the shackles have been taken off me and I can now fight for America the way I want to,” he wrote.

He quickly made good on that promise, starting new fights with House Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanThe Hill's 12:30 Report: Sanders set to shake up 2020 race McCabe: No one in 'Gang of Eight' objected to FBI probe into Trump Unscripted Trump keeps audience guessing in Rose Garden MORE (R-Wis.) and Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainMellman: Where are good faith and integrity? GOP senator says Republicans didn't control Senate when they held majority Pence met with silence after mentioning Trump in Munich speech MORE (R-Ariz.), and releasing a campaign ad that questions the health of his Democratic opponent, Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonFBI’s top lawyer believed Hillary Clinton should face charges, but was talked out of it Harris adds key Clinton aide, women of color to 2020 campaign: report Democrats more likely Trump's foil, than to foil Trump MORE.

“Disloyal R's are far more difficult than Crooked Hillary. They come at you from all sides. They don’t know how to win - I will teach them!” he said on Twitter. “With the exception of cheating [Sen.] Bernie [Sanders, I-Vt.] out of the nom the Dems have always proven to be far more loyal to each other than the Republicans!” 

Trump is blasting GOP critics with renewed vigor following the announcement by Ryan he can no longer defend the nominee and will focus on Republicans in congressional races.

That statement, made on a conference call, shattered an uneasy truce between the top elected Republican official and Trump, who is now accusing the party of undermining his campaign.

“Despite winning the second debate in a landslide (every poll), it is hard to do well when Paul Ryan and others give zero support!” Trump tweeted. 

Trump added that Ryan is a “very weak and ineffective leader,” citing reports that some Republicans were furious with the Speaker’s decision. 

After attacking Ryan, Trump took aim at the “very foul mouthed” Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), who retracted his endorsement of the businessman over the weekend.

“[He] begged for my support during his primary (I gave, he won), then dropped me over locker room remarks!” Trump said on Twitter.

Congressional Republicans are scrambling to distance themselves from Trump after The Washington Post released audio from 2005 of Trump making sexually explicit comments about groping women.

Though it’s too soon to tell the full impact of the controversy on down-ballot races, 49 percent of voters said in an NBC/Wall Street Journal poll that Democrats should control Congress. 

Several Republicans over the weekend withdrew their support of Trump while others called for him to step aside from the White House race for the good of the party. 

With his back against the wall, Trump released an ad Tuesday that shows Clinton coughing and being helped into a car after stumbling as she left a 9/11 memorial ceremony.

"Hillary Clinton doesn't have the fortitude, strength or stamina to lead in our world. Don’t let her fail us again," the ad says. 

Trump’s tactics threaten to plunge the GOP into intraparty warfare ahead of the elections, with potentially catastrophic results for the Republican majorities in the House and Senate. 

A spokesman for Ryan tried to lower the temperature Tuesday, arguing it would be better for the party if Republicans focused their attacks on Democrats. 

"Paul Ryan is focusing the next month on defeating Democrats, and all Republicans running for office should probably do the same," the spokesman said.

The friction comes at a time when Trump’s national support appears to be plunging. 

A poll from NBC News and The Wall Street Journal released Monday gave Clinton an 11-point lead nationally.

Though Trump would likely face an uphill climb to close that gap, Trump communication adviser Jason Miller dismissed the poll as an “outlier.”

“I love the fact that NBC seems to now be getting into the business of breaking the news and then also having the polls magically pop up,” he told Fox News’s Megyn Kelly on Monday evening.

Trump and his supporters have fueled talk for months that the election could be stolen from him because the polls are “rigged.” The candidate doubled down on that warning during a rally Monday in Pennsylvania. 

“I hear these horror shows, and we have to make sure that this election is not stolen from us and is not taken away from us,” Trump said. “And everybody knows what I'm talking about.”