McCarthy: Comment that Putin is paying Trump was bad joke

McCarthy: Comment that Putin is paying Trump was bad joke

McCarthy: Comment that Putin is paying Trump was bad joke

A year ago while Donald Trump was working to win the Republican nomination, one of his closest allies, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, told fellow GOP leaders in a private conversation on Capitol Hill that he believed Trump might be receiving payments from Russian President Vladmir Putin.

The Post reports that, in a conversation with other House GOP leaders June 15, 2016, McCarthy remarked, "There's two people I think Putin pays: Rohrabacher and Trump".

"There's two people I think Putin pays: [California Republican Dana] Rohrabacher and Trump", McCarthy said, according to the report. Trump stated his admiration for Putin during the presidential campaign.

Spokespeople for Ryan and McCarthy told the Post, respectively: "That never happened", and "The idea that McCarthy would assert this is absurd and false".

McCarthy didn't say "I think Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is paying Trump" because that wouldn't have been amusing because it wouldn't have made any sense.

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According to the transcript, speaker Paul Ryan immediately responded: "This is an off the record ..."

McCarthy also tweeted: "This was an attempt at humor gone wrong".

Rep. Dana Rohrabacher is an Orange County Republican who is a staunch defender of Putin.

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House Speaker Paul Ryan was more muted and formal: "I welcome his role at the Department of Justice". US President Donald Trump says he's been treated more unfairly than any politician in history.

After McCarthy made his comment, some Republican lawmakers were heard laughing, and McCarthy added: "Swear to God". "The trouble is, when you ever try to be amusing, it is really taken seriously by a third party, and that's what's happened here", Rohrabacher said.

You can read the full story online at The Washington Post and in tomorrow's print edition of The Californian. Not at all. It mostly shows that they understood the gravity of Russia's political operations, and that once Trump was president, they made a decision to ignore it and drag their feet on the investigation.

"Eh, nonsense", said New York Rep. Chris Collins waving it off, who then added, on further pressing: "So who said what?"

Asked whether he still has confidence in Trump, McCarthy replied, "100 percent". A spokesman for McCarthy says the remark was a bad joke.

After a pair of blockbuster reports this week about Donald Trump's possible ties with Russia, including sharing "highly classified" intel with the Russian ambassador, Republicans in Congress have come under increased pressure to distance themselves from the White House.

"This is an off-the-record", Ryan said.

Despite McCarthy's claims, Ryan continued on as a good GOP soldier and insisted on the importance of keeping this between those in the know.

It's not clear from the context whether or not McCarthy truly thought the Russians had paid the Trump campaign or was being sarcastic.

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