Speed Reads

Michael Cohen on trial

The National Enquirer goes after Michael Cohen, which seems kind of ominous for Trump's 'fixer'

"If the National Enquirer is a weathervane for unfolding events in Trumpland, embattled lawyer Michael Cohen may be heading for a rendezvous with a bus," Doug Stanglin writes at USA Today. The Enquirer and its parent company, American Media Inc., have offered very favorable coverage to President Trump and thrashed Trump's rivals. AMI's chairman, David Pecker, is a longtime friend of Trump's and one of the members of the company's four-person board used to be chief financial officer at Trump's casino business. As CNN's Jake Tapper noted Sunday, "people who have been in President Trump's sights frequently end up being attacked on the front page of the National Enquirer."

The two-page article mostly summarizes the legal travails of Cohen, Trump's longtime personal lawyer and fixer, and it suggests that Trump "is in the hot seat because of his lawyer." Cohen "is under the spotlight, as scandals swirl around his boss, and some are questioning Cohen's role, alleging blackmail, threats, hush-money payoffs ― and even collusion with Russia," the Enquirer says. In one slightly intriguing claim, the tabloid says that "sources speculate Cohen led an effort to suppress the release of the video — and any related NBC story" — of Trump making vulgar brags about assaulting women on the Access Hollywood bus.

If the tabloid suggests Cohen is about to get thrown under a bus, the Enquirer has Trump's back. The cover claims that Trump "passed polygraph proving no Russia collusion," but inside, it only cites a Florida lie detective named Michael Sylvestre who ran Trump's televised claim that he did not collude with Russia through "the world-renowned DecepTech Voice Stress Analysis Machine." Sylvestre found "HUGE" anger but no dishonesty on Trump's part. Oddly, the Enquirer didn't ask him to run the same test with Cohen.