I Have a Theory About Steve Bannon and AHCA

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Hear me out. Today Breitbart News published an audio recording of Paul Ryan disowning Donald Trump during the campaign:

In the Oct. 10, 2016 call, from right after the Access Hollywood tape of Trump was leaked in the weeks leading up to the election, Ryan does not specify that he will never defend Trump on just the Access Hollywood tape—he says clearly he is done with Trump altogether.

“I am not going to defend Donald Trump—not now, not in the future,” Ryan says in the audio, obtained by Breitbart News and published here for the first time ever.

This isn’t really big news. We pretty much knew this was what Ryan said back when he said it. But apparently Breitbart has been holding onto this recording until the time came when they could get the maximum mileage from giving Ryan’s remarks another news cycle. That turned out to be today, right after the Congressional Budget Office had released a devastating report on Ryan’s health care bill.

Then, a few hours later, someone in the White House leaked an internal analysis that says Ryan’s bill is even worse than the CBO says it is—quite a feat, given that the CBO trashed the bill pretty comprehensively.

We know that Breitbart and Steve Bannon have long loathed Paul Ryan. So…maybe this was all orchestrated by Bannon? Wait for the CBO wrecking crew to come through, and then release both an embarrassing audiotape of Ryan and an embarrassing White House analysis that confirms just how bad Ryan’s bill is.

Was Trump in on this—waiting until just the right moment to take his revenge on Ryan for insufficient loyalty during the campaign? Or is this Bannon acting on his own? Or just a coincidence? I’m not sure. But one way or another, it sure seems like a coordinated effort to doom Ryan’s bill and wreck his reputation with his own caucus.

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"It's that we're screwed with or without him if we can't show the public that what we do matters for the long term," writes Mother Jones CEO Monika Bauerlein as she kicks off our drive to raise $350,000 in donations from readers by July 17.

This is a big one for us. So, as we ask you to consider supporting our team's journalism, we thought we'd slow down and check in about where Mother Jones is and where we're going after the chaotic last several years. This comparatively slow moment is also an urgent one for Mother Jones: You can read more in "Slow News Is Good News," and if you're able to, please support our team's hard-hitting journalism and help us reach our big $350,000 goal with a donation today.

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