WASHINGTON (AP) — In an extraordinary display of internal discord, the chairman of the Republican Party's rules committee is accusing top GOP officials of "a breach of our trust" by improperly trying to impede a proposed change in bylaws that would make it harder for party leaders to nominate a fresh candidate for president.

Bruce Ash, RNC committeeman from Arizona, wrote the harshly worded email to the other 55 members of the GOP rules committee that he chairs. The confidential email, obtained by The Associated Press on Saturday, was written days before party officials gather in Hollywood, Florida, for preliminary discussions about what rules the GOP will use at its presidential nominating convention this July.

In the email, Ash says party leaders improperly left the proposed rules change off the agenda of a GOP meeting set for this week in Florida.

In a later email, GOP counsel John Ryder says the proposal will be on the agenda but that changing the rule is "not a good idea."

Some top Republicans consider the party's two leading presidential contenders, billionaire Donald Trump and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, to be likely November election losers and have discussed how to replace them with alternatives at the summer convention in Cleveland, Ohio.

Trump has bitterly clashed with party leaders over rules that he claims have been rigged against him, a charge party leaders deny.

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