During the 2016 presidential campaign, National Enquirer executives sent stories covering then-presidential candidate Donald Trump and his political opponents to Trump’s attorney, Michael Cohen. Only with Cohen’s blessing would the stories be published, the Washington Post reveals.
The Washington Post talked to three individuals familiar with the process, or rather, familiar with the close relationship between Trump and David Pecker, chief executive of American Media Inc., the National Enquirer‘s parent company.
“Since Trump’s become president and even before, [Pecker] openly just has been willing to turn the magazine and the cover over to the Trump machine,” one of Washington Post’s sources said.
Furthermore, the same source said, during the presidential campaign, “if it was a story specifically about Trump, then it was sent over to Michael, and as long as there were no objections from him, the story could be published.”
National Enquirer‘s alleged sharing of material with the Trump campaign, and the president’s lawyer, Michael Cohen, does not only highlight the support the tabloid has offered to Trump, it also implicates Cohen in a crime, the Washington Post noted, adding that prosecutors are looking into whether Cohen broke campaign finance laws.
Earlier this week, as CNBC reported, prosecutors subpoenaed the National Enquirer‘s parent company, American Media Inc. This was also in relation to Michael Cohen; the publisher was subpoenaed for records related to a $150,000 payment made to ex-Playboy model Karen McDougal.
In April, 2014, the Justice Department announced that President Trump’s personal attorney, Michael Cohen, had been under criminal investigation for months, as CNN noted, because of his business dealings.
Dylan Howard, the Vice President and Chief Content Officer at American Media Inc. called Washington Post’s allegations “completely false.”
As the Inquisitr reported in December, 2017, Howard was accused of sexual misconduct, after 12 former employees had alleged he forced women to watch and listen to pornographic material in the newsroom, discussed female employees’ sex lives, and described his own sexual encounters in detail.
In a statement to the Washington Post, Howard said that the National Enquirer had “made a very public endorsement of Trump,” but added that the president has never been consulted on editorial decisions in any way.
According to the Washington Post‘s sources, however, Trump suggested stories to the outlet, and had access to certain articles in advance of publication. For instance, according to Washington Post’s source, then-presidential candidate Donald Trump had read one of the stories about Hillary Clinton’s health before publication.
Particularly interested in stories about political opponent Hillary Clinton’s health, Donald Trump, through his fixer and personal attorney Michael Cohen, approved at least two cover stories about Clinton’s health.
Chief executive of American Media Inc., David Pecker, and Donald Trump have known each other for decades, according to the Washington Post, so the tabloid’s help to Trump during the 2016 election did not come as a surprise, especially considering the pair’s relationship had reportedly intensified around that time.