- The Washington Times
Thursday, May 18, 2017

Rep. Charlie Dent said Thursday that the leaked transcript of House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy talking about Russian payments to then-presidential candidate Donald Trump last year wasn’t a serious comment.

“I didn’t talk to Kevin McCarthy about it, but I know Kevin, he’s a pretty funny guy, to be honest with you. And I think he, like many members of Congress, will make a facetious or irreverent comment from time to time,” Mr. Dent, Pennsylvania Republican, said on CNN.

“So I’ll have a conversation with Kevin about it. Again, there are a lot of serious issues here we’re dealing with. I don’t think that’s one of them,” he said.

The leaked transcript from a dinner last June reports Mr. McCarthy as saying, “There’s two people I think Putin pays: Rohrabacher and Trump.”

Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, California Republican, has been a defender of both Russian President Vladimir Putin and other officials from the country.

House Speaker Paul D. Ryan reportedly urged the comments to be kept private.

Mr. McCarthytweeted Wednesday, “This was an attempt at humor gone wrong.”

Mr. Ryan’s spokesman also said the exchange was “clearly an attempt at humor.”

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