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Paul Ryan spooked by leaked audio on Trump’s ties to Putin — and fears more to follow

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House Speaker Paul Ryan seems spooked by a recording that reveals he asked Republican lawmakers not to discuss concerns that then-candidate Donald Trump might have been paid off by Vladimir Putin.

A Washington Post report transcribed the recording of a June 15 meeting at the Capitol, where Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), the House Majority Leader, raised concerns that Trump and Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) might have accepted payment from the Russian president.

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Ryan, who had finally endorsed Trump 13 days earlier, can be heard on the recording asking Republicans who were present not to “leak” details of the conversation.

Now that the tape has been made public — although its origins are unclear — Ryan is worried others might surface.

“I’ve never seen anything like this,” Ryan told conservative talk radio host Hugh Hewitt. “There was somebody who taped a meeting a year ago where our majority leader cracked a joke and then they released the tape of that joke out just a few days ago and that’s a pretty bizarre thing to happen. So obviously that’s a cause of concern of ours.”

Hewitt asked Ryan if he believed the leaker was Evan McMullin, a Utah Republican and former CIA officer who ran an independent “never Trump” campaign for president.

“I’m not going to speculate on who it is,” Ryan said. “That’s the name that most people, you know, you hear about.”

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McMullin was a staffer for GOP Conference Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), who is also heard on the recording, and was present for many leadership meetings in Ryan’s office.

The Washington Post privately told Axios that McMullin was not the leaker, but he has previously alluded to McCarthy’s remarks at the meeting in a New York Times op-ed published in February.

“Suspect public comments like these led one senior Republican leader to dolefully inform his peers that he thought Mr. Trump was on the Kremlin’s payroll, suggesting that Mr. Trump had been compromised by Russian intelligence,” McMullin wrote.

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“Other leaders were surprised by their colleague’s frank assessment, but did not dispute it.”


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Navy captain fired by Trump over coronavirus letter tests positive for COVID-19: report

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According to a report from the New York Times, the Navy captain relieved of his duties by the Trump administration over a letter drawing attention to dangerous health conditions on his aircraft carrier has tested positive for COVID-19.

The report states, "Capt. Brett E. Crozier, the Navy captain who was removed from command of the coronavirus-stricken aircraft carrier U.S.S. Theodore Roosevelt, has tested positive for Covid-19, according to two Naval Academy classmates of Crozier’s who are close to him and his family."

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Georgia GOP governor orders several beaches to reopen days after acknowledging he’s woefully uneducated on coronavirus spread

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The Atlanta Journal Constitution reported today that Kemp is reopening Tybee Island and other beaches along the Georgia coast.

Local officials in several of Georgia’s coastal communities reacted with fury on Saturday after Gov. Brian Kemp’s shelter-in-place order simultaneously reopened several of the state’s most popular beaches.

The stupidity and lack of regard of human life on display in Republican-run states is beyond criminal and inhumane. In fact, there are no words to describe this. Because the longer these so-called “leaders” make decisions that are in the best interests of, I don’t know who, the longer it will take to come out of this pandemic that is claiming so many thousands of lives.

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Health care insurers expected to jack up premiums as much as 40 percent to recoup coronavirus losses

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Private health insurers are expected to raise premiums by as much as 40% to recoup the costs of coronavirus testing and treatment, according to a new analysis from Covered California, the state's health care marketplace.

This article first appeared in Salon.

Though it remains unclear how much the coronavirus crisis will ultimately cost in health care expenditures, insurers will be submitting their 2021 rates to state regulators next month. Analyzing a wide range of models, Covered California expects that this year's care associated with the virus will cost between $34 billion and $251 billion, or between 2% of premiums and 21% of premiums. The analysis estimates that insurers would price the costs at double the rate into their 2021 premiums, projecting increases that range from as little as 4% to more than 40% for the 170 million workers and individuals who have private plans.

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