House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy( R-Calif .) told colleagues last year that he believes Russian President Vladimir Putin “pays” Donald Trump, according to an audio recording obtained by The Washington Post.

The California congressman, who endorsed Trump during the campaign, attained the bombshell assertion in dialogue with fellow lawmakers — including House Speaker Paul Ryan( R-Wis .) — a few months before the election.

” There’s two people I believe Putin pays: Rohrabacher and Trump ,” McCarthy told, according to the recording. Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, another Republican from California, is a fierce defender of Russia and Putin.

” Swear to God ,” McCarthy added, after some of the lawmakers giggled at the statement.

According to the Post, Ryan speedily interjected and recommended the lawmakers to keep the conversation private.

” No leaks . … This is how we know we’re a real household here ,” the speaker said.

Representatives for both McCarthy and Ryan disputed the nature of the conversation.

McCarthy called it” an attempt at humor gone wrong .” Brendan Buck, a spokesman for Ryan, called the Post’s account “dumb.”

” He was just kidding. No one took it severely ,” Buck said of McCarthy.

The recording, a transcript of which has been published here by the Post, arrives amid reports that the Department of Justice has appointed former FBI Director Robert Mueller to serve as special counsel overseeing the investigation into Russian influence in the 2016 presidential election.

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