House Majority Leader to Colleagues in 2016: ‘I think Putin pays’ Trump

Adam Entous – The Washington Post:

A month before Donald Trump clinched the Republican nomination, one of his closest allies in Congress — House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy — made a politically explosive assertion in a private conversation on Capitol Hill with his fellow GOP leaders: that Trump could be the beneficiary of payments from Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“There’s two people I think Putin pays: Rohrabacher and Trump,” McCarthy (R-Calif.) said, according to a recording of the June 15, 2016 exchange, which was listened to and verified by The Washington Post. Rep. Dana Rohrabacher is a Californian Republican known in Congress as a fervent defender of Putin and Russia.

House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) immediately interjected, stopping the conversation from further exploring McCarthy’s assertion, and swore the Republicans present to secrecy.

There are many forms of payment. Some involve tangible assets, like money. Others, harder to see and track, involve intangibles such as long-term favors or the abstention of malice. Or a well-timed leak of distracting, potentially damning emails just before a national election. Who knows which Trump benefited from? Maybe Majority Leader McCarthy can explain, now that his comments are out in the open.

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