Last year House Majority Leader, Kevin McCarthy, claimed in a private meeting with his GOP colleagues that Donald Trump was likely receiving payments from Russian President Vladimir Putin. 

‘There’s two people I think Putin pays: Rohrabacher and Trump,’ McCarthy said in the meeting on June 15, 2016, just a month before Trump won the Republican nomination. 

The audio was listened to and verified by The Washington Post, who revealed the transcript of the audio on Wednesday.  

In the conversation, McCarthy was referring to Dana Rohrabacher, who is a Californian Republican known in Congress as a defender of Putin.

A few of McCarthy’s colleagues laughed at his comment after which he added: ‘Swear to God.’

Last year House Majority Leader, Kevin McCarthy, claimed in a private meeting with his GOP colleagues that Donald Trump was likely receiving payments from Russian President Vladimir Putin

Last year House Majority Leader, Kevin McCarthy, claimed in a private meeting with his GOP colleagues that Donald Trump was likely receiving payments from Russian President Vladimir Putin

Last year House Majority Leader, Kevin McCarthy, claimed in a private meeting with his GOP colleagues that Donald Trump was likely receiving payments from Russian President Vladimir Putin

The exchange shows that Republicans in the House discussed Russia's involvement in the 2016 election and Trump's relationship to Putin, but chose to keep their concerns secret

The exchange shows that Republicans in the House discussed Russia's involvement in the 2016 election and Trump's relationship to Putin, but chose to keep their concerns secret

The conversation came just a day after the Post reported that Russian government hackers had penetrated the computer network of the Democratic National Committee

The conversation came just a day after the Post reported that Russian government hackers had penetrated the computer network of the Democratic National Committee

‘There’s two people I think Putin pays: Rohrabacher and Trump,’ McCarthy said in the meeting on June 15, 2016, just a month before Trump won the Republican nomination. A few of McCarthy’s colleagues laughed at his comment after which he added: ‘Swear to God’

House Speaker Paul Ryan was also among GOP leaders in the conversation. 

He immediately told the lawmakers to keep the conversation private.

‘No leaks…This is how we know we’re a real family here,’ Ryan said, according to the audio’s transcript. 

‘What’s said in the family stays in the family,’ Ryan added. 

The conversation came just a day after the Post reported that Russian government hackers had penetrated the computer network of the Democratic National Committee. 

The exchange shows that Republicans in the House discussed Russia’s involvement in the 2016 election and Trump’s relationship to Putin, but chose to keep their concerns secret.

Ryan’s spokesperson, Brendan Buck, told the Post that the exchange was merely an ‘attempt at humor’. 

‘No one believed the majority leader was seriously asserting that Donald Trump or any of our members were being paid by the Russians,’ Buck added. 

Matt Sparks, a spokesman for McCarthy, also called the remarks ‘a failed attempt at humor’.

House Speaker Paul Ryan was also among GOP leaders in the conversation. He immediately told the lawmakers to keep the conversation private. Ryan's spokesperson, Brendan Buck, told the Post that the exchange was merely an 'attempt at humor'

House Speaker Paul Ryan was also among GOP leaders in the conversation. He immediately told the lawmakers to keep the conversation private. Ryan's spokesperson, Brendan Buck, told the Post that the exchange was merely an 'attempt at humor'

House Speaker Paul Ryan was also among GOP leaders in the conversation. He immediately told the lawmakers to keep the conversation private. Ryan’s spokesperson, Brendan Buck, told the Post that the exchange was merely an ‘attempt at humor’

Not long after the Post's report surfaced, McCarthy took a jab at the newspaper in a tweet (pictured)

Not long after the Post's report surfaced, McCarthy took a jab at the newspaper in a tweet (pictured)

Not long after the Post’s report surfaced, McCarthy took a jab at the newspaper in a tweet (pictured)

Not long after the Post’s report surfaced, McCarthy took a jab at the newspaper in a tweet. 

‘This was an attempt at humor gone wrong. No surprise @WashingtonPost tried to contort this into breaking news,’ McCarthy tweeted. 

Evan McMullin, who was the policy director to the House Republican Conference at the time confirmed the conversation. 

He told the Post that it’s true McCarthy said ‘he thought candidate Trump was on the Kremlin’s payroll’. 

‘Speaker Ryan was concerned about that leaking,’ McMullin added.  

The 2016 exchange was revealed during a week when Trump’s White House was battered by disclosures about his contacts with the Russians and his firing of former FBI Director James Comey.

The Justice Department bowed to pressure on Wednesday and named a special counsel to lead an investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.

Former FBI Director Robert Mueller, who served a decade and was then reappointed by President Obama, will lead the probe.

A defiant Trump responded by saying: ‘As I have stated many times, a thorough investigation will confirm what we already know – there was no collusion between my campaign and any foreign entity.’

The Justice Department announced that Mueller would serve as special counsel, and would have ‘all appropriate resources’ to carry out the probe.

The White House has spent weeks batting back efforts to install an independent outsider to lead the Russia probe, saying there are already sufficient probes. 

But Democrats in Congress have been pushing for an independent investigation that would be free from interference from Trump administration officials, as well as a special congressional commission that might probe deeper into charges that Russia tried to sway the election through hacking and other means. 

On Wednesday, the Justice Department named former FBI Director Robert Mueller as special counsel to lead an investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election

On Wednesday, the Justice Department named former FBI Director Robert Mueller as special counsel to lead an investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election

The 2016 exchange was revealed during a week when Trump's White House was battered by the firing of former FBI Director James Comey (pictured)

The 2016 exchange was revealed during a week when Trump's White House was battered by the firing of former FBI Director James Comey (pictured)

The 2016 exchange was revealed during a week when Trump’s White House was battered by the firing of former FBI Director James Comey (right). The Justice Department named former FBI Director Robert Mueller (left) as special counsel to lead investigation into Russia

On Wednesday night, Trump said he hoped the investigation would be speedy after saying 'there was no collusion between my campaign and any foreign entity'

On Wednesday night, Trump said he hoped the investigation would be speedy after saying 'there was no collusion between my campaign and any foreign entity'

On Wednesday night, Trump said he hoped the investigation would be speedy after saying ‘there was no collusion between my campaign and any foreign entity’

On Wednesday night, Trump said he hoped the investigation would be speedy. 

Putin also said on Wednesday that Trump had not passed any secrets onto Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov during a meeting in Washington last week and that he could prove it.

Unnamed sources told the Post last week that Trump had passed on highly restricted ‘code word’ information during his Oval Office meeting with Lavrov and Sergey Kislyak, the Russian ambassador to the US.

And Trump took to Twitter to defend himself against the onslaught of criticism on Tuesday.

‘As President I wanted to share with Russia (at an openly scheduled W.H. meeting) which I have the absolute right to do, facts pertaining to terrorism and airline flight safety. Humanitarian reasons, plus I want Russia to greatly step up their fight against ISIS & terrorism,’ Trump said in two tweets.

Trump’s tweets seemingly confirm what the Post first reported early Monday evening. 

But speaking at a news conference alongside Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni, Putin quipped that Lavrov had not passed what he said were the non-existent secrets onto him either.

The Russian strongman complained about what he said were signs of ‘political schizophrenia’ in the United States. 

Backing up Trump, Putin said the US president wasn’t being allowed to do his job properly.

‘It’s hard to imagine what else can these people who generate such nonsense and rubbish can dream up next,’ Putin complained.

Then he mocked the uproar that has thrown the White House into a tailspin.

‘I spoke to him (Lavrov) today,’ said Putin, smiling. 

‘I’ll be forced to issue him with a reprimand because he did not share these secrets with us. Not with me, nor with representatives of Russia’s intelligence services. It was very bad of him.’

It isn’t at all clear that the Russians would be able to produce a document that would disprove the Post’s bombshell report that Trump passed on ‘highly classified’ information to Lavrov.

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