KIEV, Ukraine — 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.
Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) immediately interjected, stopping the
conversation from further exploring McCarthy’s assertion, and swore the
Republicans present to secrecy.
House Majority Leader told Republicans in 2016 he thought Putin was paying Trump
(House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy and House Speaker Paul Ryan.AP) House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy told Republican colleagues in a private conversation last year that he thought Donald Trump was being paid by Russian President Vladimir Putin, according to a Washington Post report published Wednesday.
McCarthy made the comments to House Speaker Paul Ryan and other party leaders in Washington on June 15, 2016 — a month before Trump clinched the Republican nomination, and just after news reports surfaced that Russia had hacked into the Democratic National Committee.
“There’s two people I think Putin pays: Rohrabacher and Trump,” McCarthy said, the Post reported, citing a recording it obtained of the conversation. Dana Rohrabacher is a Republican congressman from California known for his staunchly pro-Russia views.
When some of his audience laughed at the comments, McCarthy added: “Swear to God,” the Post reported.
Ryan reportedly ended the conversation and insisted those present to not discuss it with the press.
“This is an off the record,” Ryan told staffers, laughing. “NO LEAKS…alright?! This is how we know we’re a real family here.”
Rep. Steve Scalise, the majority whip, chimed in: “That’s how you know that we’re tight.”
“What’s said in the family stays in the family,” Ryan said.
Spokespeople for both Ryan and McCarthy initially denied the conversation ever took place. But when the Post told them that there was a recording of the conversation, they said McCarthy's comments were a joke.
“This entire year-old exchange was clearly an attempt at humor,” Ryan’s spokesman, Brendan Buck, told the Post. “No one believed the majority leader was seriously asserting that Donald Trump or any of our members were being paid by the Russians. 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.”
After the Post report was published, McCarthy echoed Buck’s assertion that his comments were an "attempt at humor gone wrong.”
This was an attempt at humor gone wrong. No surprise @WashingtonPost tried to contort this into breaking news.
Ryan has been under pressure to endorse the creation of a special congressional committee to investigate whether the Trump campaign colluded with Russia during the 2016 election. That pressure has grown enormously since last Tuesday, when Trump fired FBI Director James Comey — who was leading the bureau’s probe into Russia’s election interference — and reportedly disclosed classified information to Russian diplomats in an Oval Office meeting the next day.
Ryan defended Trump’s decision to dismiss Comey, telling reporters he thought Trump “lost patience” in the FBI Director “and I think people in the Justice Department lost confidence in Comey himself.” The FBI’s Acting Director, Andrew McCabe, disputed claims that agents had been disillusioned with Comey’s leadership during a Senate Judiciary Hearing last week.
Republican lawmakers appeared to reach a tipping point on Tuesday night, when the New York Times reported that Trump had asked Comey to end the investigation into his former national security adviser, Michael Flynn. But the House Speaker confirmed on Wednesday that he still has full confidence in Trump, and asked why Comey had not resigned in protest if he felt that what Trump had asked of him was inappropriate.
“The last thing I’m going to do is pre-judge anything,” he said said in a press conference held at the Republican National Committee. “I’m a person who wants to get the facts."
Witches stealing milk is a common theme in many Ozark folk tales, as well as a lot of other European derived folklore. This kind of stealing is always done in a magical way, through the use of several techniques.
One such technique is the use of the milk-hare, described below by Vance Randolph:
“Another well-known tale is concerned with a witch who assumed the form of a swamp rabbit and lived on milk. A farmer saw this big rabbit sucking his cow and fired at it with a load of turkey shot; the animal was only about thirty feet off but seemed quite unharmed. The man rushed home and molded several slugs of silver, obtained by melting half dollars. Charging his shotgun with these, he fired again and killed the rabbit. A few hours later came the news that an old woman in the next holler had been shot to death; the doctor couldn’t find the bullet, but everybody knew that it must have been a silver slug that killed her.”
(15th century wall painting of the milk-hare)
Another technique involves milking a dishrag like you would an udder, thereby stealing milk from the neighbor’s cows. The rag is sometimes thrown over a knife stuck in the wall of the cabin, or over the pot rack as in the story below:
“A schoolmaster from Pea Ridge, Arkansas, used to tell the story of two young women who lived alone in a nearby farm. They owned no cattle and were never seen to do any milking but always had plenty of butter and homemade cheese. Finally a farmhand peeked in at their window and later swore that he saw these girls hang a dishcloth on the pot rack and squeeze several gallons of milk out of it. Turning about, he looked at the cows in a neighbor’s pasture and saw that their udders were gradually decreasing in size.”
(Image of a witch milking a rag over the handle of an axe)
All manner of objects have been known to be used for this kind of magical milking. There’s a folk tale about a farmer who couldn’t get any milk from his prized cow, so suspecting his neighbor as being a witch he crept over to their house one morning and saw the old woman that lived there milking the handle of a spoon. The remedy according to this folk tale was that the farmer was able to get a few drops of milk from the cow that he then put into a frying pan on the stove. As the milk heated up he could hear the woman next door screaming and hollering. Once all the milk had burned up the farmer heard a knock at his door. It was the old woman come to borrow some tallow for a bad burn on her leg. The farmer refused and never had any more problems milking his cow.
I’d like to give a couple European variants of the milk stealing tradition. One comes from Iceland and it’s an object called a “tilberi” described below from the Museum of Icelandic Sorcery and Witchcraft:
“If a woman wants to create a tilberi she has to dig up a human rib in a graveyard early on Whitsunday, wrap it in grey wool and preserve it between her breasts. The next three Sundays at communion she has to spit the holy wine on the bundle which will then come alive. Then the woman has to carve a nipple inside her thigh on which the tilberi will hang on and nourish itself.
(A modern interpretation of the tilberi)
"When it is fully grown the woman can send it into the neighbouring pastures to steal milk from cows and sheep. When the woman becomes old the tilberi becomes a burden and the only way she can get rid of it, is to order it to gather all the sheepdropping in three highland pastures. Eager to get back on the nipple the tilberi will overexert itself and explode, leaving only a human rib beside the heap of droppings.
"The milk-stealing tilberi is the only magic in Icelandic folklore that can only be performed by women. A fully grown tilberi could lie across a sheep´s back and suck two tits at the same time and when it would roll back to its farm it would spew the milk into its mother churn.
"The butter made from the milk would fall into little pieces if the magical sign smjörhnútur (butterknot) was drawn on it.”
There’s also a similar tradition in Scandinavian countries of the troll-hare or troll-cat, used to steal milk. They are often made of bundles of wool with wooden knitting needles for legs, or sometimes the troll-hare is made from a sieve filled with wool then given legs. I talk about the troll-hare more in my post, “Rabbit Lore”.
W.F. Ryan in their book “The Bathhouse at Midnight” shares some milk-stealing lore from Eastern Europe and Russia:
“Witches, like kolduny, were reputed to be able to turn themselves and others into animals and even inanimate objects, and, as in other parts of Europe, were commonly accused of milking someone else’s cows. Dal’s, Tolkovyi slovar’, s.v. gadit’ recorded the name gadunitsa for witches in Archangel province who both stole milk and could turn into magpies. In the trans-Baikal they would steal the milk while in the shape of dogs. One way of dealing with milk-stealing witches in Belorussia was to put a strainer in a pot, pour in holy water, bring to the boil, stirring all the time with a blessed willow twig - as the heat increased so would the heat in the breast of the witch and she would come running begging for forgiveness.”
In Ireland W.B. Yeats collected a story about milk stealing that’s featured in his “Fairy and Folk Tales of the Irish Peasantry”:
“Not far from Rathmullen lived, last spring, a family called Hanlon; and in a farmhouse, some fields distant, people named Dogherty. Both families had good cows, but the Hanlons were fortunate in possessing a Kerry cow that gave more milk and yellower butter than the others.
"Grace Dogherty, a young girl, who was more admired than loved in the neighbourhood, took much interest in the Kerry cow, and appeared one night at Mrs. Hanlon’s door with the modest request–
”‘Will you let me milk your Moiley cow?’ “'An’ why wad you wish to milk wee Moiley, Grace, dear,’ inquired Mrs. Hanlon. ”'Oh, just becase you’re sae throng at the present time.’ “'Thank you kindly, Grace, but I’m no too throng to do my ain work. I’ll no trouble you to milk.’
"The girl turned away with a discontented air; but the next evening, and the next, found her at the cow-house door with the same request.
"At length Mrs. Hanlon, not knowing well how to persist in her refusal, yielded, and permitted Grace to milk the Kerry cow.
"She soon had reason to regret her want of firmness. Moiley gave no milk to her owner.
"When this melancholy state of things lasted for three days, the Hanlons applied to a certain Mark McCarrion, who lived near Binion.
”'That cow has been milked by someone with an evil eye,’ said he. 'Will she give you a wee drop, do you think? The full of a pint measure wad do.’
“'Oh, ay, Mark, dear; I’ll get that much milk frae her, any way.’
”'Weel, Mrs. Hanlon, lock the door, an’ get nine new pins that was never used in clothes, an’ put them into a saucepan wi’ the pint o’ milk. Set them on the fire, an’ let them come to the boil.’
“The nine pins soon began to simmer in Moiley’s milk.
"Rapid steps were heard approaching the door, agitated knocks followed, and Grace Dogherty’s high-toned voice was raised in eager entreaty.
”'Let me in, Mrs. Hanlon!’ she cried. 'Tak off that cruel pot! Tak out them pins, for they’re pricking holes in my heart, an’ I’ll never offer to touch milk of yours again.’“
It seems that wherever there are people who rely on the milk their cows produce to have money and food that there are legends like this. We tend to forget today just how important animals were to our ancestors, and how important they are to so many people still today. It’s interesting to look at some of the old charm books like the "Long Lost Friend” of Hohman or the “Romanus-Büchlein” and see just how many of the remedies and charms were for livestock. When we talk about magical work that brings prosperity and luck to a family it’s often today in a monetary sense, whereas in ages past it would have been directly aimed at the health and safety of livestock.
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All the Way Pride Playbill signed by Bryan Cranston
If/Then Playbill signed by James Snyder, Jenn Colella, Ryann Redmond, Janet Krupin and Jason Tam
Mary Poppins playbill signed by the cast
Mamma Mia playbill signed by Laurie Veldheer and others
Shrek the Musical Tour playbill signed by Haven Burton
Book of Mormon tour playbill signed by Gavin Creel and others
Seminar Playbill signed by Alan Rickman, Lily Rabe, Jerry O’Connell, Hamish Linklater, and Hettienne Park
Nathaniel Hackmann signed Les Mis Jean Valjean understudy slip
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time playbill signed by Alex Sharp and one other
Spirit Control playbill signed by Jeremy Sisto and others
Aladdin Playbill signed by Adam Jacobs, and a couple of others
Hairpsray Playbill signed by Kate Loprest
If/Then playbill signed by Jackie Burns, LaChanze, and James Snyder
Jekyll & Hyde Playbill signed by Robert Cuccioli, Christianne Noll, and Lubra Mason
The Rink signed by Chita Rivera
Singin’ In the Rain Playbill signed by the cast
Hedwig and the Angry Inch Playbill signed by Lena Hall
The Book of Mormon Tour playbill signed by the cast
Ghost National Tour Playbill signed by the cast
Kinky Boots Cd insert signed by Annaleigh Ashford
Spelling Bee photo signed by Jesse Tyler Fergusen, and Sarah Sultzberg
Mystery of Edwin Drood signed by Janine DiVita
After Midnight Signed by babyface
Rock of Ages Pride Playbill signed by Carrie St. Louis, Aaron C. FInley, and more!
American idiot tour signed playbill
Jonathan Freeman signed Jafar photo
Arthur Darvill signed Doctor Who photo
Mystery of Edwin Drood signed by Justin Greer
Motown Playbill signed by the cast
Once Playbill signed by Paul Nolan
A Civil War Christmas signed by Alice Ripley
Lion King signed production shot
Charissa Hogeland signed Veronica slip Heathers the Musical
Bonnie & Clyde Wanted Poster
Bullets Over Broadway souvenir program
Nikki M James signed headshot
Laura Bell Bundy signed photo
Sister Act program
Pippin Playbill signed by many of the original company including Patina Miller, Matthew James Thomas, Terrence Mann, and Rachel Bay Jones among others
Godspell Playbill signed by Lindsay Mendez, Anna Maria Perez de Tagle, and Morgan James
Newsies Trading Cards (Ephraim Sykes (x2), Jess LeProtto, Andy Richardson, Ryan Breslin, Jeremy Jordan, Evan Kasprzak (Signed), Brendan Stimson, Ben Fankhauser, Garett Hawe, Kyle Coffman, and Michael Fatica)
Newsies closing night gift paper machete vase made with the newspapers from the show
Laura Osnes signed headshot (has creases and damage)
Rondi Reed signed photo
Spamalot opening night frame
Alice Ripley CD brand new
On an Average Day programme signed by Kyle MacLaughlin and Woody Harrelson
Hairspray playbill trading card signed Dick Latessa
Felicia Finley signed CD
Phantom of the Opera 25th Anniversary Playbill
Hairspray Closing Night Playbill
Wicked 10th anniversary playbill
Pippin Post Card given out at the cast recording session
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One Man, Two Guvnors
How to Succeed in Business without really trying
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Beauty and the Beast
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Additonal Items not pictured
Alice Ripley signed Next to Normal magnet
Newsies understudy slips (opening night cast sheet, Jack as Evan, Julian as Ryan Steele, Julian as Mike Faist, Michael Fatica as Mike Faist, Caitlyn as Julie, Cailtyn as Laurie, Jack as Garett, Fatica as Breslin, Laurie as Katherine, JP as Buttons (headshot & bio slip), papermill slip Michael McArthur as Corey Humemrston, Fatica as Tommy, Breslin as Davey, Sheet with JP as Iain Jack as Clay Julian as Aaron and Jeremy Greenbaum headshot and bio on the bottom announcing him as Davey