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Evan Vucci / AP

Tim Phillips, president of Americans for Prosperity, told me minutes after House Republicans passed the American Health Care Act that he gives the most credit for shepherding the revised bill through the house to Mike Pence.

Like other well-funded conservative groups including Club for Growth and Heritage, Phillips' group (the grassroots wing of the Koch Brothers' network), fought the original bill proposed by the White House and Republican leadership.

Turning point: "Just before Easter break when Vice President Pence began floating the compromise language on an opt out waiver for states," Phillips says. "He relentlessly worked the phones and did individual meetings with members, especially the conservative members in the Freedom Caucus and outside groups."

The nervous stretch: For a nervous couple weeks there was no legislative language, only a concept. "Normally, everything would stop right there because you don't trust people in this business," Phillips says. "But most members, and certainly outside groups, trusted Mike Pence. They were willing to say 'let's talk and we are interested even though you don't have language.'"

Why the trust? Phillips says it's because Pence himself took so many Freedom Caucus-style votes when he was a member of the House in the early 2000s — votes that resonate with today's ultra conservative members: bucking Karl Rove and Tom DeLay on No Child Left Behind and Medicare Part D.

What Mark Meadows says: "At the end of the day, it was the personal involvement of the President and Vice President which allowed every member to start to share that trust."

Go deeper

13 mins ago - World

U.S: Nord Stream 2 "will not move forward" if Russia invades Ukraine

U.S. State Department spokesperson Ned Price during a press briefing at the State Department in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday. Photo: Kevin Lamarque/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

The U.S. will make sure the Nord Stream 2 pipeline between Russia and Germany won't go ahead if Russian troops invade Ukraine, State Department spokesperson Ned Price told NPR on Wednesday.

Why it matters: Germany's ambassador to the U.S. appeared to support Price's strong rhetoric on the strategically significant pipeline that would circumvent Ukrainian transit infrastructure and deliver Russian gas directly to Germany, eliminating one of the last deterrents Ukraine has against an invasion, per Axios' Zachary Basu.

Scoop: Stephanie Ruhle to replace Brian Williams on MSNBC

Photo: Nathan Congleton/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images via Getty Images

MSNBC will soon announce plans to move morning anchor Stephanie Ruhle to the 11 pm ET hour that Brian Williams turned into an elite destination, two sources familiar with the move tell Axios.

Details: The 9 am ET hour, currently hosted by Ruhle, will become part of MSNBC's flagship morning show, "Morning Joe," which currently runs from 6 am to 9 am ET.

Oath Keepers leader denied bail on Capitol riot sedition charge

Oath Keepers co-founder Elmer Stewart Rhodes. Photo: Susan Walsh/AP

A federal judge ordered Oath Keepers leader Stewart Rhodes to remain jailed Wednesday until trial on charges stemming from the Capitol riot.

Why it matters: The judge said the most prominent far-right figure charged in the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection had access to weapons and his alleged "continued advocacy for violence against the federal government" gave credence to prosecutors' view that, if released, Rhodes could endanger others.