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The April 28, 2022 Lincoln Project video Laughing includes an audio clip of someone quoting the current US House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy as follows:

"There's... there's two people, I think, Putin pays: Rohrabacher and Trump."

The first likely refers to Dana Rohrabacher

Rohrabacher has expressed strong pro-Russia and pro-Putin opinions, which have raised questions about his relationship with Vladimir Putin and the Russian government.

and the second likely refers to the previous US president.

But the ~30 second video doesn't seem to provide any more information as to who is purportedly quoting McCarthy nor anything about the time and context in which this was said.

So I'd like to ask:

Question: From when & where is Kevin McCarthy quoted as saying "There's...there's two people I think, Putin pays: Rohrabacher and Trump...[laughter]...Swear to God."? Both the quote, and the original setting in which McCarthy purportedly said this.

Note that the presence of "[laughter]" in the quote indicates this involves humor and I'm not asking about the factuality of the statement by this prominent US politician. I'm asking about the time and place it was made and also in which it was quoted, since the audio is of someone else, not McCarthy.


Screenshot of the video showing the quote:

screnshot from The Lincoln Project video "Laughing" https://youtu.be/9Y5OykjQC7A

The only notes below the video say:

There's two Kevin McCarthys: Kevin on the phone, and Kevin in person. Neither will be Speaker of the House.

1 Answer 1

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According to the Washington Post, it’s a recording of a June 15th, 2016 meeting held at the Capitol between senior Republicans, including McCarthy, Paul Ryan, Steve Scalise, Evan McMullin, Patrick McHenry and Cathy McMorris Rodgers, as well as at least one other unidentified individual. McCarthy and Ryan had just held separate talks with the then Ukrainian Prime Minister, who “described a Kremlin tactic of financing populist politicians to undercut Eastern European democratic institutions.”

A transcript of the conversation can be found here:

McCarthy: The Russians hacked the DNC and got the opp research that they had on Trump.
McCarthy: laughs
[Crosstalk]
Ryan: The Russian’s 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]

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