House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy told Republican colleagues last year, in remarks caught on a recording and obtained by The Washington Post: "There's two people I think Putin pays: [Dana] Rohrabacher and Trump."
Rohrabacher, a California Republican, is perhaps Putin's most outspoken defender on Capitol Hill.
What happened next: Some lawmakers laughed, McCarthy added "Swear to God," and House Speaker Paul Ryan cut the conversation short and told the people in the room, "No leaks, alright? This is how we know we're a real family here."
McCarthy responds: McCarthy told an MSNBC producer Wednesday he had been making "a bad attempt at a joke."