Instant Alert: House Majority Leader told Republicans in 2016 he thought Putin was paying Trump

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  House Majority Leader told Republicans in 2016 he thought Putin was paying Trump by Mark Abadi and Natasha Bertrand on May 17, 2017, 6:37 PM Advertisement

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy told Republican colleagues in a private conversation last year that he thought Donald Trump was being paid by Russian President Vladimir Putin, according to a Washington Post report published Wednesday. McCarthy made the comments to House Speaker Paul Ryan and other party leaders in Washington in June 2016 — a month before Trump clinched the Republican nomination. “There’s two people I think Putin pays: Rohrabacher and Trump,” McCarthy said, the Post reported, citing a recording it obtained of the conversation. Dana Rohrabacher is a Republican congressman from California. When some of his audience laughed at the comments, McCarthy added: “Swear to God,” the Post reported. Ryan reportedly ended the conversation and insisted those present to not discuss it with the press. Spokespeople for both Ryan and McCarthy both said the majority leader’s comments were a joke. Ryan has been under pressure to endorse the creation of a special congressional committee to investigate whether the Trump campaign colluded with Russia during the 2016 election. That pressure has grown enormously since last Tuesday, when Trump fired FBI Director James Comey — who was leading the bureau’s probe into Russia’s election interference — and reportedly disclosed classified information to Russian diplomats in an Oval Office meeting the next day. Ryan defended Trump’s decision to dismiss Comey, telling reporters he thought Trump “lost patience” in the FBI Director “and I think people in the Justice Department lost confidence in Comey himself.” The FBI’s Acting Directr, Andrew McCabe, disputed claims that agents had been disillusioned with Comey’s leadership during a Senate Judiciary Hearing last week. Republican lawmakers appeared to reach a tipping point on Tuesday night, when the New York Times reported that Trump had asked Comey to end the investigation into his former national security adviser, Michael Flynn. But the House Speaker confirmed on Wednesday that he still has full confidence in Trump, and asked why Comey had not resigned in protest if he felt that what Trump had asked of him was inappropriate. “The last thing I’m going to do is pre-judge anything,” he said said in a press conference held at the Republican National Committee. “I’m a person who wants to get the facts.” 

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