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'NothingGate': WaPo's new 'exclusive' Trump-Russia scoop comes up short

The Washington Post is out tonight with another bombshell “exclusive”:

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Wow. This sounds pretty bad, doesn’t it? More from WaPo:

A month before Donald Trump clinched the Republican nomination, one of his closest allies in Congress — House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy — made a politically explosive assertion in a private conversation on Capitol Hill with his fellow GOP leaders: that Trump could be the beneficiary of payments from Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“There’s two people I think Putin pays: Rohrabacher and Trump,” McCarthy (R-Calif.) said, according to a recording of the June 15, 2016 exchange, which was listened to and verified by The Washington Post. Rep. Dana Rohrabacher is a Californian Republican known in Congress as a fervent defender of Putin and Russia.

House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) immediately interjected, stopping the conversation from further exploring McCarthy’s assertion, and swore the Republicans present to secrecy.

Here’s the thing, though: The transcript tells a somewhat different story:

https://twitter.com/fmanjoo/status/864966286127714304

https://twitter.com/lachlan/status/864975073052110848

That’s a lot of “laughter” for such a serious conversation …

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Ryan spokesman Brendan Buck, who was quoted in the article as saying that the conversation “never happened,” took to Twitter to clarify:

Seems reasonable.

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The transcript certainly suggests it was just a joke.

https://twitter.com/lachlan/status/864965403751088128

https://twitter.com/byrdinator/status/864971785183404032

https://twitter.com/byrdinator/status/864973626323415042

https://twitter.com/Wokieleaksalt/status/864977092689227776

Rep. Rohrbacher has reportedly confirmed that they weren’t being serious:

Rep. McCarthy has chimed in as well:

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Now, this argument could be made:

And assuming Trump gets wind of this article, he may very well fail to see the humor in the conversation:

https://twitter.com/formerftt/status/864969529608343552

And maybe this wasn’t McCarthy’s finest moment:

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https://twitter.com/Wokieleaksalt/status/864976745308590081

But still. Do better, WaPo.

https://twitter.com/DanFosterType/status/864974721724690432

https://twitter.com/DanFosterType/status/864976912707407873

Editor’s note: This post has been updated with additional tweets.

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