Last month Palmer Report brought you the intel community buzz that Republican Party leadership had been caught on tape acknowledging that they knew Russia was funding Donald Trump’s campaign (link). This week a tape leaked in which GOP House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy asserted as much, and GOP Speaker Paul Ryan swore him to silence (link). This felt like a mere warning shot though, and sure enough, Ryan himself is now hinting that there are more damaging tapes to come.
Paul Ryan made this acknowledgment when he was trying to shift the topic to who might be to blame for the leak of the recordings, as documented by The Hill (link). Some have pointed the finger at Evan McMullin, who was a staffer in those House meetings before he ultimately broke with the Republicans to run against Donald Trump as a third party candidate. Ryan isn’t quite willing to formally accuse McMullin of it. But he his trying to play the victim by saying he’s concerned that the leaker might release more damaging recordings.
Read between the lines here: Ryan has realized that whoever made this secret recording, that person was also present during other such conversations. Ryan knows that he and his colleagues said more suspicious and/or incriminating things about Donald Trump and Russia than what’s on the one leaked tape, and he knows any such recordings will be released eventually. So he’s trying to frame things in advance such that he can further play the victim when those tapes surface, making him and his party look even worse.
We knew this couldn’t have been the only tape when it leaked this week. As we told you last month (link), both Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell are said to have been caught on tape discussing Russia funding the Trump campaign, and in more damaging fashion than what was said on the leaked tape. To be clear, we have no idea if McMullin is the source. But this is going to get a whole lot worse for the Republican leadership.
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Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report