Sources within House Republican leadership told Breitbart News on Thursday that they believe former 2016 presidential candidate Evan McMullin may have spied on them last year, while he was policy director of the House Republican Conference.
Suspicions arose after the Washington Post‘s Adam Entous reported Wednesday that House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) “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.”
The story was treated by other news outlets as a potential “smoking gun” implicating Trump. A closer look, however, raises serious questions about the story, as well as its sources.
The Post based its reporting on an audio recording of a conversation between McCarthy and Reps. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), Steve Scalise (R-LA), and Patrick McHenry (R-NC) on June 15, 2016.
It is not clear who recorded the conversation, or what kind of device was used. (Entous did not return a request for comment.)
The Post did not post the actual audio recording for readers to listen to and judge for themselves. Instead, it posted a supposed transcript of the recording, riddled with typographical errors that would be atypical for the Post, at least in an important story.
(The Post routinely accuses conservative journalists like James O’Keefe — falsely — of editing their videos in a misleading manner. In 2012, the Post‘s media critic, Erik Wemple, mocked O’Keefe: “A great deal of work is required to heavily edit surreptitious encounters with folks throughout the professional world.” Yet now the Post has published a blockbuster story based on audio that may be edited deceptively — and there is no way to know.)
On Wednesday evening, Entous told Lawrence O’Donnell on MSNBC: “The source, which basically let us listen to the recording, has not provided us with the audio for us to release, otherwise I think we would. So I have listened to it, and some of my colleagues have listened to it several times … There’s about four of us that listened to it.”
He did not say how they had listened to it — whether over the telephone, or in a voice mail, or as an email attachment.
The Post does not appear ever to have had the audio in its possession. Entous merely wrote that the audio “was listened to and verified by The Washington Post.”
The term “verified” could mean anything — it could simply mean the audio Entous heard matched the transcript. It does not mean that the Post had confirmed that the audio was unedited, nor does it mean that the Post confirmed the authenticity of the recording with the people present.
Curiously, the dateline on Entous’s story was Kiev, the capital of Ukraine. McCarthy and Ryan held talks earlier that day with Ukrainian Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman on Capitol Hill. None of the Post reporters involved in the story — including “Andrew Roth in Moscow, Michael Birnbaum in Brussels and Robert Costa in Washington” — is based in Ukraine. It is …read more