Let’s set the Wayback Machine for Spring 2016. Donald Trump is a month away from clinching the nomination while Speaker Ryan and House Majority Leader McCarthy are discussing the situation in the Ukraine. Let’s listen in!

Hah. A funny, funny joke, right? That’s the official reaction from Speaker Ryan’s office after he first lied about the remark ever being spoken, according to the Washington Post.

When initially asked to comment on the exchange, Brendan Buck, a spokesman for Ryan, said: “That never happened,” and Matt Sparks, a spokesman for McCarthy, said: “The idea that McCarthy would assert this is absurd and false.”

Then the Post told them they had a transcript. The hacks told the Post the transcripts were fake. Then the Post told the hacks they had the tape. Without so much as a gulp, the hacks changed the story again.

After being told that The Post would cite a recording of the exchange, Buck, speaking for the GOP House leadership, said: “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. 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.”

“This was a failed attempt at humor,” Sparks said.

A failed attempt at humor by a failed political party to protect a failed president?

Oooh. Funny.