( CNN) House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy says his assertion last year that Russian President Vladimir Putin was paying President Donald Trump was simply a bad attempt at humor.

“That’s all there is to it, ” McCarthy added. “No one believes it to be true.”

The Post reported McCarthy said in a dialogue with fellow Republican leaders: “There’s two people I belief Putin pays: Rohrabacher and Trump, ” according to sound recordings of the June 2016 exchange.