House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-California) once confided to his colleagues that he thought Donald Trump was on Vladimir Putin’s payroll.
The remarks surfaced in a new Washington Post report published on Wednesday that alleges the lead Republican criticized both then-candidate Trump and fellow Republican Congressman Dana Rohrabacher (R-California) of being paid by the Russian president.
“There’s two people I think Putin pays: Rohrabacher and Trump,” Rep. McCarthy said during a meeting with fellow Republican lawmakers, referring to the friendliness and deference his fellow California Republican and the soon-to-be GOP presidential nominee both showed the Putin regime.
House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wisconsin) quickly shushed his colleague, and told all other members present at the meeting — which took place just before Donald Trump clinched the Republican Party’s presidential nomination last August — that they were sworn to secrecy.
“No leaks…This is how we know we’re a real family here,” Ryan told his fellow Congressional leaders.
According to the Post, the meeting itself was held after both Ryan and McCarthy both attended separate talks held by Ukrainian Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman, who told U.S. lawmakers that the Kremlin would often pay populist politicians in various countries in an ongoing campaign aimed at destabilizing Eastern European democracies.
In his comments to his fellow Republicans, Rep. McCarthy reportedly alluded to Groysman’s talk in the context of Russian meddling in the 2016 election, adding “swear to God” when his colleagues laughed at the reference.
As of this writing, Rep. McCarthy’s office has not yet responded to the Post‘s report on the recording.
Tom Cahill is a senior editor for the Resistance Report based in the Pacific Northwest. He specializes in coverage of political, economic, and environmental news. You can contact him via email at [email protected], or follow him on Facebook by clicking here.