Ronan Farrow is shedding new light on the lengths the National Enquirer reportedly took ahead of the 2016 presidential election to kill potentially damaging stories about Donald Trump.
Farrow has detailed these efforts in his new book, Catch and Kill, and opened up about the sheer size of the secrets that the tabloid kept under wraps. In an appearance on The Late Show, Farrow told host Stephen Colbert that there were close to 60 items kept under wraps, which included five affairs and sexual misconduct cases.
Farrow told Colbert that the National Enquirer would acquire the rights to stories that were damaging to Trump and other powerful people, paying money to sources with the intention of keeping it quiet rather than publishing it.
“It is used in this plot both literally in the sense that I’m following a trail of clues from the National Enquirer working to smear victims of Harvey Weinstein and bury stories for him, all the way up to the top, if you will, to the collaboration between President Trump and the National Enquirer,” Farrow said, via Mashable.
Farrow had already detailed the lengths the tabloid took to keep these stories about Trump from getting out ahead of the 2016 election, writing how the order was sent out across parent company American Media, Inc. to physically destroy documents that had been kept in a physical safe about Donald Trump.
As Politico reported, the order to destroy the documents went out on the same day the National Enquirer was asked to comment on a story about how it paid $150,000 to former Playboy model Karen McDougal in the scheme Farrow described to “catch and kill” potentially damaging stories. The outlet also published a series of stories damaging to Trump’s political opponents across the 2016 election, including conspiracy theories about Hillary Clinton’s health and allegations of affairs from Ted Cruz.
These payments eventually came to light during the trial of Donald Trump’s former personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, who pleaded guilty to charges that he illegally withheld these payments, which constitute campaign contributions since they were meant to help Trump’s chances of winning the election.
Donald Trump himself was named in Cohen’s plea deal as Cohen said that Trump personally ordered him to make the payments. Legal experts believe that Trump could face potential indictment himself once he is out of office and no longer protected by the Justice Department’s policy not to indict a sitting president.