Published: Thu, May 18, 2017
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

House GOP leader suggested Putin was paying Trump

A spokesman for the California Republican is calling the remarks "a failed attempt at humor".

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) said a year ago he believes Vladimir Putin pays President Trump.

Only a short time before the announcement of the special counsel came out, the Washington Post reported that Rep. Kevin McCarthy, the House Majority Leader (2nd behind Paul Ryan in the House GOP), said previous year that he thinks Vladimir Putin has Trump on the payroll.

"There's two people I think Putin pays: Rohrabacher and Trump", McCarthy told a gathering of lawmakers. The other person he refers to is Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, another California Republican, who has been an outspoken defender of Russian Federation and its leader, Vladimir Putin.

"The idea McCarthy would assert this is absurd and false", Matt Sparks told Fox News.

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After McCarthy said "I think Putin pays" Trump. That meeting came only a day after he fired FBI Director James Comey, who was leading the investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian Federation.

McCarthy told reporters while leaving the House floor Wednesday, immediately after the publication of the comments that it was a "bad attempt at joke".

The Washington Post has obtained a recording from a private meeting between House GOP leaders that happened on Capitol Hill on June 15th, 2016. "We've been very clear what our position is and what we would like to see done, but we're not looking to provoke anyone when everyone's playing really nice", the official said.

McCarthy and Ryan were allegedly speaking with fellow Republicans on June 11, 2016 when the House majority leader made the comment, prompting Ryan to swear those present to secrecy.

House Speaker Paul D. Ryan reportedly urged the comments to be kept private. That combined with the then-breaking news that Russian Federation had hacked the DNC sparked McCarthy's comments. "No one believes it to be true from any stretch of the fact".

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Ryan: "This is an off the record.[laughter].No leaks.[laughter].alright?!".

Unsurprisingly, both Ryan and McCarthy's offices first responded to the report by denying the conversation had ever transpired.

Rohrabacher is in reference to Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R-Calif., who reportedly has defended Putin and Russian Federation.

For his part, Adam Entous, the Post reporter who listened to an audio recording of the meeting, wrote that "it is hard to tell from the recording the extent to which the remarks were meant to be taken literally".

The Washington Post listened to the audio, and verified it on May 17, 2017.

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