House Speaker Paul Ryan seems spooked by a recording that reveals he asked Republican lawmakers not to discuss concerns that then-candidate Donald Trump might have been paid off by Vladimir Putin. A Washington Post report transcribed the recording of a June 15 meeting at the Capitol, where Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), the House Majority Leader, raised concerns that Trump and Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) might have accepted payment from the Russian president. Ryan, who had finally endorsed Trump 13 days earlier, can be heard on the recording asking Republicans who were present not to “leak” details of the conversation. Now that the tape has been made public – although its origins are unclear – Ryan is worried others might surface.
“It’s the same story as always,” he told KYCH Radio during a telephone interview. “There’s always somebody out there aiming to make Republicans look like the bad guys. They never get tired of it, not even after they lose the presidential election. You know, some people just don’t know when to quit. They think that persistence is going to compensate for the lack of arguments and truth. Just recently, someone broke wind about how the president suffers from dementia and how he has Alzheimer’s. When that didn’t work, when they didn’t get the reaction they wanted, they came up with this new story about how I was involved in something between Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump. These folks have a vivid imagination, I’ll give them that.”
“Are you trying to say that that’s not your voice on the recording, that someone faked it to make it sound like you?” the host asked Ryan. He replied, “What I’m saying is, we’re way past the point of tapes and audio recordings right now. All that stuff is irrelevant because we’re well aware of the age we live in. Everybody has a smartphone and we all know what those tiny supercomputers can do. So, we’re always making jokes with all sorts of nonsense in case somebody is trying to get us to talk about stuff they think we don’t want to talk about. There is nothing we don’t want to talk about, which is why we horse around all the time. That makes any and all tapes that someone thinks they have against us completely irrelevant and, more importantly – inadmissible in court. You never know who might be listening, so you might as well talk about any and all things.”
“And in case anyone is wondering – yes, by that I also mean the whole Donald Trump-James Comey-Hillary Clinton thing that somebody – once again – very cleverly tried to make a huge thing out of. That entire situation is also completely irrelevant and it doesn’t prove anything, other than the fact that someone went through a lot of trouble to try to make Donald Trump look like the bad guy. As a matter of fact, they’re trying to make all of us look bad, it’s not just limited to the president. I mean, come on – do you really expect someone to believe that Donald Trump chooses to use memos and paper when everyone knows he built an empire by saying everything he has to say directly to someone’s face? That’s the first mistake they made – they forgot that Donald Trump is too smart to leave a paper trail, just like we’re too smart to be caught on tape. It just doesn’t happen,” Ryan concluded.