The Trump administration just cannot seem to catch a break.
Just a day after The New York Times published its history-bending report alleging President Donald Trump asked former FBI Director James Comey to shut down the investigation into Michael Flynn’s ties with Russia, another recently surfaced report revealed how a high-ranking Republican official once talked about Trump being on Russian President Vladimir Putin’s payroll.
In yet another bombshell revelation, The Washington Post unearthed an audio recording of House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy having a private conversation with fellow GOP leaders, including House Speaker Paul Ryan, on Capitol Hill.
The discussion took place on June 15, 2016 — the day Ukrainian Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman was visiting Washington and reportedly met both McCarthy and Ryan separately. It was also a month before the Republican Party officially crowned Trump as their presidential nominee.
“There’s two people I think Putin pays: Rohrabacher and Trump,” McCarthy said in the recording listened to and verified by The Washington Post.
The other GOP official whom McCarthy mentioned, California Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, has been a strong defender of Russia. In fact, he even suggested Washington has been too harsh on Kremlin and that U.S. should work more closely with Moscow.
Since the DNC hacking scandal was still fresh at the time, McCarthy also mentioned how Russia could be meddling in the election.
“I’ll guarantee you that’s what it is … The Russians hacked the DNC and got the opp [opposition] research that they had on Trump,” he said with a laugh, prompting the same reaction from the other Republicans in the room.
The comment about Trump and Rohrabacher came after Ryan asked to whom the Russians had “delivered” the opposition research, leading the House speaker to say it was an “off the record” conversation and instructing his colleague to keep this conversation a secret.
“No leaks, all right? This is how we know we're a real family here,” Ryan reportedly said. “What’s said in the family stays in the family.”
Unsurprisingly, both Ryan and McCarthy’s offices first responded to the report by denying the conversation had ever transpired. However, when they were made aware of the audio evidence, their representatives said it was all just a joke.
During an interview with NBC, McCarthy insisted he was trying to be funny but did not succeed.
National security might be a joke to politicians like Paul Ryan and Kevin McCarthy, but the threat of Russian interference in the U.S. government is nothing to scoff at, considering the consequences.
Kevin McCarthy is a huge leaker. Remember when he admitted to taking down Hillary's poll numbers thru Benghazi hearings? LOL— Robin (@puppymnkey) May 18, 2017
Banner/thumbnail credit: Reuters