Top Republican recorded suggesting that Putin pays Trump

House majority leader Kevin McCarthy.

House majority leader Kevin McCarthy. Photograph: Aaron P. Bernstein/Reuters

In a 2016 conversation with fellow members of House leadership, majority leader Kevin McCarthy suggested that Donald Trump was on Vladimir Putin’s payroll.

In an exchange first reported by the Washington Post, McCarthy said: “There’s…there’s two people, I think, Putin pays: [California Representative Dana] Rohrabacher and Trump…[laughter]…swear to God.”

According to the transcript, speaker Paul Ryan immediately responded: “This is an off the record … [laughter] … NO LEAKS … [laughter] … alright?!”

On Wednesday night, Ryan’s spokesman, Brendan Buck, said in a statement to the Guardian: “This entire year-old exchange was clearly an attempt at humor. No one believed the majority leader was seriously asserting that Donald Trump or any of our members were being paid by the Russians.”

He added: “What’s more, the speaker and leadership team have repeatedly spoken out against Russia’s interference in our election, and the House continues to investigate that activity.”

Both Buck and a spokesman for McCarthy initially denied the remarks; the Washington Post listened to and verified an audio recording of the conversation. McCarthy’s spokesman did not respond to the Guardian for a request for comment. However, he tweeted: “This was an attempt at humor gone wrong. No surprise @WashingtonPost tried to contort this into breaking news.”

Trump’s ties to Russia have been the subject of bipartisan concern and, on Wednesday, deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein appointed a special counsel to investigate those as well as Russian attempts to influence the 2016 election.

The conversation came shortly after both McCarthy and Ryan had been briefed by the Ukrainian prime minister, Volodymyr Groysman, about Russian attempts to undermine democratic institutions in eastern Europe, and a day after it was reported that Russia had successfully hacked the DNC.

At the time, Ryan had still not endorsed Trump but McCarthy had already signed up to become a Trump delegate to the RNC and formally endorsed the real estate developer’s campaign.

At least some Democrats raised concerns about the statement. California congressman Eric Swalwell, a member of the House intelligence committee, said the remark raised questions about whether the majority leader has additional information on the “relationship the president had with president Putin”.

“If it was said they had their own concerns and so far they have done nothing to address concerns about the president’s ties to Russia,” Swalwell told reporters. “So I just want to know, were these concerns based on separate information that the majority leader had or had been told?”

Rohrabacher, who has a history of expressing support for the Putin regime and has been described as “Putin’s favorite congressman”, told the Guardian Wednesday night that McCarthy reassured him it was a joke.

He said that the majority leader approached him on the floor during votes on Wednesday evening to ensure that he knew that the remark was intended as a joke.

“Kevin didn’t mean any harm, I’m sure,” said Rohrabacher told reporters.

“You have to be very careful when you’re using humor,” Rohrabacher said, recalling a joke he made during a hearing.

“I remember I was trying to make fun of the scientist who claimed that cow farts make global warming,” Rohrabacher said. “And so at a hearing I said, ‘Oh do you think maybe the dinosaurs disappeared because of dinosaur flatulence?’”

To this day, he said environmentalists still fault him for believing “that dinosaur flatulence killed the dinosaurs”.


Apple Pays $200 Million for Topsy

Apple Inc. has acquired Topsy Labs Inc., a company that specializes in Twitter search, monitoring and analytics. The deal is worth about $200 million, media sources are reporting.

For those unfamiliar with the Topsy site, it is a resource allowing users to slice and dice all tweets dating back to the very beginning in 2006.

On the site, users can sort through the estimated 500 million or so tweets made a day in a variety of ways.

Search, Analytics and Trends

Topsy’s data collection is basically divided into three categories:


By searching for a particular term or group of terms you can see the number of times it has occurred on Twitter over the past hour, day, seven days, 12 days or 30 days. You can also ask Topsy the number of all time mentions for a term. Then specify whether you are looking for the term in a link, tweet, photo or video. Or ask whether it was mentioned by a user considered to be an influencer.


By entering up to three terms (brand names would be one example) you can determine comparatively how mentions of these terms have compared over the past month. If you choose Coke, Pepsi and Starbucks, for example (pictured above), you’ll see how popular each term was with Twitter users recently.


You can also discover whether specific terms are trending with a large number of Twitter users. Simply enter your term in the social trends section. Then select the top 100, 1,000, 5,000 or 20,000 mentions. You can again select the kind of content you are seeking in tweets on the topic.

In this video overview, Topsy co-founder and chief scientist Rishab Aiyer Ghosh explains how Topsy sorts data results:

Apple’s Plans Remain Undefined

Apple has not been specific about its plans for the Topsy purchase. However, The Wall Street Journal, which first reported the sale, has speculated. The analytics company’s technology will likely be incorporated into the company’s products.

The service could be used to:

  • Help Apple recommend top trending TV shows, songs and movies to iTune customers.
  • Enhance the functionality of Siri, the virtual assistant built into Apple’s mobile operating system for the iPhone.
  • Provide more data for companies running campaigns with iAd, which sells ads in apps run on the iPhone, iPad and iPod.

In general, Topsy could help Apple better monitor social conversations about all its products.

Bottom line: More data can benefit any company big or small, and analytics tools like Topsy can help companies make sense of conversations already going on in social media.

Image: Topsy


IBM Revenue Beats Estimates as Shift to Cloud Pays Off

IBM Revenue Beats Estimates as Shift to Cloud Pays Off

International Business Machines Corp’s quarterly revenue beat analysts’ expectations as the company’s shift to high-growth areas such as cloud-based services begins to yield results.

IBM also stood by its full-year forecast for adjusted earnings of at least $13.50 per share, dispelling any concerns about the impact from Britain’s vote to leave the European Union.

“Investors were a little bit nervous about the guidance, and they’ll find a little relief that the company maintained that, despite some headwinds associated with their high sales exposure to Europe,” said Edward Jones analyst Bill Kreher.

IBM receives nearly a third of its revenue from Europe, Middle East and Africa.

Chief Executive Ginni Rometty’s push towards cloud-based services, security software and data analytics seems to have paid off with a 12 percent rise in revenue from “strategic imperatives” in the second quarter.

Cloud revenue jumped 30 percent, compared with 34 percent in the preceding quarter.

“For us, it’s not about being the biggest cloud, that’s not our goal, our goal is to have the best hybrid capabilities,” Chief Financial Officer Martin Schroeter said in an interview.

Total revenue dropped 2.8 percent to $20.24 billion for the quarter ended June 30 from a year earlier, hurt by a fall in its traditional hardware businesses.

The company’s global business services revenue, which includes consulting, fell 2 percent, while its systems unit, which includes systems hardware, dropped 23.2 percent.

However, the company’s 17th straight quarterly revenue decline was not as steep as expected. The average analyst estimate was $20.02 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Net income fell to $2.50 billion, or $2.61 per share, from $3.45 billion, or $3.50 per share.

Excluding items, IBM earned $2.95 per share, beating average analyst estimate of $2.89.

IBM’s shares, which had risen 16 percent this year through Monday, were up 0.7 percent in extended trading.

© Thomson Reuters 2016

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