The second-ranking Republican in the House of Representatives said in a recorded conversation last summer that he thought then-candidate Donald Trump was being paid by Russian President Vladimir Putin, the Washington Post reported Wednesday. Spokespeople insist he made the comment in jest.
House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) made the remark in a private conversation with fellow Republican leaders on June 15, according to the report. A month earlier, McCarthy had signed up as a Republican National Convention delegate for Trump.
The Post published a full transcript of the publication tape, but hereâ€™s the relevant portion from the original report:
â€śIâ€™ll guarantee you thatâ€™s what it isâ€¦The Russians hacked the DNC and got the opp [opposition] research that they had on Trump,â€ť McCarthy said with a laugh.
Ryan asked who the Russians â€śdeliveredâ€ť the opposition research to.
â€śThereâ€™sâ€¦ thereâ€™s two people, I think, Putin pays: Rohrabacher and Trump,â€ť McCarthy said, drawing some laughter. â€śSwear to God,â€ť McCarthy added.
â€śThis is an off the record,â€ť Ryan said.
Some lawmakers laughed at that.
â€śNo leaks, alright?,â€ť Ryan said, adding: â€śThis is how we know weâ€™re a real family here.â€ť
â€śThatâ€™s how you know that weâ€™re tight,â€ť Scalise said.
â€śWhatâ€™s said in the family stays in the family,â€ť Ryan added.https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/house-majority-leader-to-colleagues-in-2016-i-think-putin-pays-trump/2017/05/17/515f6f8a-3aff-11e7-8854-21f359183e8c_story.html?utm_term=.1a167a19b341