trump's tabloid
August 23, 2018

The National Enquirer used to have documents in its safe related to damaging stories about President Trump that it never published, people familiar with the matter told The Associated Press Thursday.

American Media Inc. CEO David Pecker, who publishes the Enquirer, is one of Trump's longtime friends. On Tuesday, Trump's former personal lawyer Michael Cohen pleaded guilty to campaign finance violations, and said he had been directed by Trump ahead of the 2016 presidential election to pay off two women who said they had affairs with him. Pecker, who reportedly has been granted immunity by federal prosecutors, also shared with prosecutors details of the payments Cohen made.

Right before the election, The Wall Street Journal published a story about Karen McDougal, a former Playboy model who said she had an affair with Trump. The Journal reported that the Enquirer bought her story with the intention of never running it, in order to protect Trump. Former employees told AP that the Enquirer made these "catch-and-kill deals" with lots of people so they could gain the trust of celebrities and then ask them for favors down the road.

AMI chief content officer Dylan Howard and Pecker, afraid someone would come to American Media Inc. looking for documents related to McDougal and the other deals, removed the paperwork from the safe sometime before Trump's inauguration, AP reports. It's unknown if the documents were destroyed or placed in a safe somewhere else. Read more about Trump's close connection to the Enquirer at The Associated Press. Catherine Garcia

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