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Top Republican recorded suggesting that Putin pays Trump

In exchange first reported by the Washington Post, House majority leader suggested to members that Trump was in Putins payroll but contends it was a joke

In a 2016 exchange with fellow members of House leadership, majority commander Kevin McCarthy were of the view that Donald Trump was on Vladimir Putins payroll.

In an exchange first reported by the Washington Post, McCarthy said: Therestheres two people, I envision, Putin pays:[ California Representative Dana] Rohrabacher and Trump[ laughter] swear to God.

According to the transcript, loudspeaker Paul Ryan immediately responded: This is an off the record[ laughter] NO LEAKS[ laughter] alright ?!

On Wednesday night, Ryans spokesman, Brendan Buck, said in a statement to the Guardian: This entire year-old exchange was clearly an endeavor at humor. No one belief the majority commander was severely be affirmed that Donald Trump or any of our members were being paid by the Russians.

He added: Whats more, the speaker and leadership squad are systematically communicated out against Russias interference in our election, and the House continues to investigate that activity.

Both Buck and a spokesman for McCarthy initially denied the remarks; the Washington Post listened to and verified an audio recording of those discussions. McCarthys spokesman did not respond to the Guardian for a request for statement. Nonetheless, he tweeted:This was an attempt at humor going well. No astonish @WashingtonPost tried to wring this into breaking news.

Kevin McCarthy (@ GOPLeader)

This was an attempt at humor going well. No astonish @WashingtonPost tried to wring this into breaking news.

May 17, 2017

Trumps ties to Russia have been the subject of bipartisan regard and, on Wednesday, deputy us attorney general Rod Rosenstein appointed a special counsel to investigate those as well as Russian attempts to influence the 2016 election.

The conversation went shortly after both McCarthy and Ryan had been briefed by the Ukrainian prime minister, Volodymyr Groysman, about Russian to make efforts to undermine democratic institutions in eastern Europe, and a period after it was reported that Russia had successfully hacked the DNC.

At the time, Ryan had still not endorsed Trump but McCarthy had already signed up to become a Trump delegate to the RNC and formally endorsed the real estate developers campaign.

At least some Democrats raised concerns about the statement. California congressman Eric Swalwell, a member of the House intelligence committee, said the remark raised questions about whether the majority commander has additional information on such relationships the president had with chairman Putin.

If it was said they had their own concerns and so far they have done nothing to address concerns about the presidents ties to Russia, Swalwell told reporters. So I just want to know, were these concerns based on separate information that the majority commander had or had been told?

Rohrabacher, who has a history of expressing support for the Putin regime and has been described as Putins favorite congressman, told the Guardian Wednesday night that McCarthy reassured him it was a joke.

He said that the majority commander approached him on the floor during votes on Wednesday evening is so that he knew that the remark was intended as a joke.

Kevin didnt mean any harm, Im sure, mentioned Rohrabacher told reporters.

You have to be very careful when youre using humor, Rohrabacher mentioned, recollecting a joke he made during a hearing.

I remember I was trying to make fun of the scientist who claimed that moo-cow farts make global warming, Rohrabacher mentioned. And so at a hearing I mentioned, Oh do you think maybe the dinosaurs vanished because of fossil flatulence?

To this day, he mentioned environmentalists still fault him for expressed his belief that dinosaur flatulence killed the dinosaurs.

Read more: http :// www.theguardian.com/ us

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