Leaked ‘bombshell’ FAIL: House majority leader explains him saying Putin ‘pays’ Trump was a bad joke

They’re reaching. They’re really reaching.

House Majority Leader McCarthy tells reporters his 2016 comment was nothing more than a joke.

The Washington Post’s attempt to turn a 2016 joke into a scoop prompted laughter and derision on social media, and even had CNN and far-left Salon scratching their heads.

The Post reported on a leak Wednesday that House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy “made a politically explosive assertion” that then-presidential candidate Donald Trump had accepted funds from Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“There’s two people I think Putin pays: [Rep. Dana] Rohrabacher and Trump,” the California Republican joked during a private June 15 meeting with other GOP leaders, including House Speaker Paul Ryan of Wisconsin.

The full relevant exchange, according to The Post, was:

McCarthy: The Russians hacked the DNC and got the opp [sic] research that they had on Trump.

McCarthy: laughs

[Crosstalk]

Ryan: The Russian’s [sic] hacked the DNC…

McHenry: …to get oppo…

Ryan: …on Trump and like delivered it to…to who?
[Unintelligible]

McCarthy: There’s…there’s two people, I think, Putin pays: Rohrabacher and Trump…[laughter]…swear to God.

Ryan: This is an off the record…[laughter]…NO LEAKS…[laughter]…alright?! [Laughter]

Ryan: This is how we know we’re a real family here.

 

Despite the “laughter,” the story was circulated though social media and taken literally until McCarthy confirmed it nothing more than an “attempt at a bad joke.”

NBC News reached out to McCarthy, who confirmed it was all in jest.

Ryan counselor Brendan Buck said no one took McCarthy’s comments seriously — seriously, it was a joke, people!

The Post later added that “It is difficult to tell from the recording the extent to which the remarks were meant to be taken literally.” Really? The transcript is replete with laughter, suggesting they were just having fun, letting off steam, and not making “a politically explosive assertion.”

Accordingly, Townhall political editor and frequent Fox News contributor Guy Benson tweeted:

Nonetheless, the best evidence that the guys were cracking jokes would be the actual recording — not a transcript. However, The Post hasn’t released the recording, possibly to keep the name of the person who recorded and leaked it secret. That person’s voice would obviously be louder and more distinct, assuming the recording device would be closer to him.

Reaction from social media was predictable. Most reactions were dismissive.

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But equally predictable there were those who cried conspiracy and wanted to believe McCarthy was serious then, but lying now.

Perhaps it’s time for everyone to remove their tin-foil hats and smell reality. It’s also time for The Post to fact-check itself in the interest of accurate reporting — and then award itself five Pinocchios.

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