One of Donald Trump‘s closest allies reportedly claimed that he was receiving payments from Vladimir Putin only a month before he secured the Republican presidential nomination.
Kevin McCarthy, the Congress majority leader, is said to have made the explosive claim during a meeting on Capitol Hill with other GOP leaders in June 2016.
According to The Washington Post, McCarthy said: ‘There’s two people I think Putin pays: Rohrabacher and Trump.’
Rohrbacher refers to Californian Republican Dana Rohrbacher, who is renowned for his fervent support of both Russia and Vladimir Putin.
House Speaker Paul Ryan was also reportedly present at the meeting, but he immediately ordered McCarthy to stop further elaborating on his claims and swore the other Republicans present to secrecy.
The potentially explosive story comes only a day after Putin definitely dismissed claims that he is closely linked with President Trump and accused his critics of whipping up ‘anti-Russia sentiment’.
During the same press briefing, Putin also claimed that he was able to provide a record of the exchange between Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Trump, who is accused of leaking classified intelligence.
He said: ‘If the US administration finds it possible, we are ready to provide a recording of the conversation between Lavrov and Trump to the US Congress and Senate.’