The Washington Post has a new blockbuster that puts the whole of the House Republican leadership into complicity with popular vote loser Donald Trump and his Russia ties, but mostly Speaker Paul Ryan. The Post notes that when Ryan and McCarthy were asked for comment, their spokespeople denied it ever happened—“Brendan Buck, a spokesman for Ryan, said: 'That never happened,' and Matt Sparks, a spokesman for McCarthy, said: 'The idea that McCarthy would assert this is absurd and false.'" Once they were informed by the Post that they had access to the recording, it all became a big joke, "a failed attempt at humor." Here's that lame humor:
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. [...]
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.
Before the conversation, McCarthy and Ryan had emerged from separate talks at the U.S. Capitol with Ukrainian Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman, who had described a Kremlin tactic of financing populist politicians to undercut Eastern European democratic institutions. [emphasis added]
This is also the day after the news of the Russian hack into the DNC broke. McCarthy told his (probably nervously) laughing colleagues, "Swear to God," according to the Post, and Ryan interjected "No leaks...This is how we know we're a real family here."
"We're a real family here." A real Republican family that would go on to back a deeply flawed and dangerous Republican front-runner and eventually president. Even when they had this knowledge, these doubts. You couldn't have a more blatant demonstration of party before country than that. They kept those concerns to themselves when speaking out could potentially have prevented Trump from getting the Republican nomination.
Then later, after he'd secured the nomination, Ryan, along with other Senate leaders, was warned by the CIA that Russia was helping the Trump campaign, a warning that Mitch McConnell squelched. And of course Paul Ryan acquiesced with, because they're "real family."