Paul Ryan's treachery—abetting sabotage of the investigation into Trump as a potential Russian asset
In May of 2017, an obscure transcript surfaced quoting a rather revelatory conversation that took place between several GOP lawmakers in June 2016. Then-House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy told then-Speaker Paul Ryan and others, “There’s two people I think Putin pays: Rohrabacher and Trump,” referring to California Rep. Dana Rohrabacher and the soon-to-be Republican nominee for president. As the others laughed, Ryan shut down the conversation quickly, saying, “No leaks. . . . This is how we know we’re a real family here.”
That summer 2016 chat came on the heels of news reports that Russian government hackers had penetrated the DNC. But the Washington Post’s initial report of the interaction came nearly a year later, the same month that former acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe now says top congressional leaders were briefed about the FBI’s counterintelligence investigation into Trump.
When Today’s Savannah Guthrie asked McCabe Tuesday if any of those leaders took issue with the FBI trying to determine whether Trump was a Russian agent, McCabe bluntly responded, “No one objected, not on legal grounds, not on constitutional grounds, and not based on the facts.”
That means Speaker Ryan, along with his Senate counterpart, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, and the two GOP Intelligence Committee chairs, Rep. Devin Nunes of California and Sen. Richard Burr of North Carolina, knew the FBI not only suspected Trump of being a Russian agent, but also had enough actionable intelligence to open an investigation into the matter.
In the meantime, Ryan’s office was fielding questions from reporters about what exactly he had meant a year earlier when he instructed his top lieutenants to keep it in the family, saying, “NO LEAKS” (as it reads in the transcript). In a statement, Ryan spokesperson Brendan Buck tried to pass off the exchange as a joke. “This entire year-old exchange was clearly an attempt at humor,” he said. “What’s more, the speaker and leadership team have repeatedly spoken out against Russia’s interference in our election, and the House continues to investigate that activity.”
Ryan, however, would go on to support chairman Nunes along with Trump’s entire House hatchet team—Reps. Mark Meadows of North Carolina, Jim Jordan of Ohio, and others—in every harebrained scheme they concocted to dismantle that critical FBI probe. Whenever Nunes found a new reason to obtain classified documents related to the probe, Ryan was there for him.