In a conversation they assume is private, Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) tells Steve Scalise (R-LA), Paul Ryan (R-WI), and Cathy Rodgers (R-WA) that he is certain Vladimir Putin pays Donald Trump and Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA).
The four talk about how Putin turned Ukraine against itself and about Russia starting a propaganda war in the US. Then they agree not to tell anyone what they’ve talked about.
A recording of their conversation leaks in May 2017.
Ryan: “Russia is trying to turn Ukraine against itself.”
Rodgers: “Yes. And that’s…it’s sophisticated and it’s, uh…”
Ryan: “And guess, guess who’s the only one taking a strong stand up against it? We are.”
Rodgers: “We’re not…we’re not…but, we’re not.”
McCarthy [referring to DNC hacking]:“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.”
Ryan: “The Russians hacked the DNC…
McHenry: “…to get oppo…”
Ryan: “On Trump and like delivered it to…to who?”
McCarthy: “There’s… there’s two people, I think, Putin pays: Rohrabacher and Trump…[laughter]…Swear to God.”
Ryan: “This is an off the record…[laughter]…No leaks…[laughter]…alright?!. This is how we know we’re a real family here.”
Scalise: “That’s how you know that we’re tight.”
Ryan: “What’s said in the family stays in the family.”
When Ryan’s team is made aware that The Washington Post knows about the meeting, they strongly deny such a meeting ever took place. The story changes after the Post adds that they have a recording, to which Ryan’s spokesperson responds “It was clearly an attempt at humor.”
Photo: Public Domain