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A six-month budget truce stitched together by Congress in March could unravel if Republican leaders vying to replace U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Paul Ryan indulge party conservatives who want to renege on critical parts of the pact. "That's what the Constitution clearly spells out". They're starting by targeting 25 GOP-held seats where Democrat Clinton received more votes than Republican President Donald Trump in 2016. If the Mueller findings are damning enough, however, at least a few of the more moderate GOP senators will abandon him-as will some percentage of Trump-friendly but not Trump-fanatical voters.

"It's no longer firmly in their control", history professor Michelle Nickerson, of Loyola University in Chicago, told AFP.

Although Ryan gave warm speeches about compassion, his biggest fear was not that the poor might go without food or health care but, as he once said, that the "safety net" might "become a hammock that lulls able-bodied citizens into lives of complacency and dependency".

"There's a willingness" to embrace populism, she added.

It's uncertain whether Trump will intervene or for whom, though many suspect it would be McCarthy.

And while Mr Bannon's ouster a year ago suggested the establishment was striking back, other signals defied that narrative.

Ryan has been driven by two priorities throughout his career: slashing taxes on the best-off Americans and eviscerating social-welfare and safety-net programs in the name of "entitlement reform". We are proud of Paul and the work he has achieved over the years.

In a daring speech on the Senate floor last October, Republican Senator Jeff Flake warned that the coarseness of the Trump era was becoming the "new normal" - a flash of "destructive politics" that could set the conservative cause back a generation.

Given the current shake-up, that appears to not be the case this year.

They include prominent traditionalists like Senator Bob Corker, congressmen Ed Royce, Mr Bob Goodlatte, and centrists Charlie Dent and Mr Dave Reichert.

Amodei was probably the most people in their own considerations, whilst others contested if Ryan might, like a lame-duck speaker, lead the chamber departure any meaningful laws - though a slight legislative agenda beforehand lets incumbents to concentrate more on re election as chief season warms up.

"If there are successful candidates modelling themselves after Trump, that's a sign that the party is moving in Trump's direction".

However, Louisiana's Scalise has indicated he won't challenge McCarthy if the California lawmaker seeks the speakership.

A self-styled budget expert, Ryan had made the tax cuts Congress delivered previous year a centerpiece of his small-government agenda and a personal cause, even though they helped skyrocket projected annual deficits toward $1 trillion.

"This is the nightmare scenario", said former Rep. Thomas Davis, a Virginia Republican.

In an early morning tweet and later in comments at the White House, Trump attempted to cloud the timing of military action - a day after indicating it was imminent - and said a final decision had not yet been made.