Thanks to the ubiquity of recording devices and the duplicitousness of members of the GOP, we now know that top Republican congressmen were discussing potential collusion between Trump and Putin before he was even nominated. They didn’t care then and they don’t care now.
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The Washington Post has obtained a recording from a private meeting between House GOP leaders that happened on Capitol Hill on June 15th, 2016. The Post was able to listen to, verify and transcribe the recording and let’s just say, it looks pretty bad.
Four people are identified in the transcript: Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, House Majority Whip Steve Scalise and Conference Chair Cathy McMorris Rogers. Ryan and McCarthy discuss their meetings with the Prime Minister of Ukraine that day. They talk about Russia funding populist politicians to destabilize Europe’s democracies, and then they shift to how it could be happening here. They mention the incredibly sophisticated propaganda machine that Russia is using, and then talk turns to the DNC hacking that was reported the day before. McCarthy says that he thinks two people in politics are on Putin’s payroll: Californian Republican Representative Dana Rohrabacher, who is known for defending Putin, and Donald Trump. He laughs, but then says, “swear to god.” Ryan then insists that this is just between them, right?
From the report:
When initially asked to comment on the exchange, 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.”
After being told that The Post would cite a recording of the exchange, Buck, speaking for the GOP House leadership, said: “This entire year-old exchange was clearly an attempt at humor.
Does this recording show that they wouldn’t mind if Trump was working with Russia? Not at all. It mostly shows that they understood the gravity of Russia’s political operations, and that once Trump was president, they decided to ignore it and drag their feet on the investigation.
This recording makes it clear—top Republicans know exactly what they’re doing: putting party before country.
Click the GIZMODO link above and read the transcript of the little GOP gaggle.