Amateur hour

future present past

The Trump campaign really thought running for president was exactly like doing PR for a reality TV show. Amateurs!

Federal investigators looking into President Donald Trump‘s former lawyer Michael Cohen have been digging into payments made to women who claimed to have had affairs with Trump in the past. Now, it appears that American Media Inc., the publisher of the National Enquirer who made one of those payments, could be in trouble as well, according to The New York Times.

In 2016, A.M.I. paid former Playboy model Karen McDougal $150,000 for her story about a relationship she said she had with Trump from 2006 to 2007. The deal gave A.M.I. the rights to the story, which they chose to sit on, effectively keeping the allegations under wraps. The deal also included an arrangement for McDougal to publish columns in A.M.I.’s publications, which she claims they did not fulfill.

Prosecutors are now looking at whether A.M.I.’s behavior crossed the line from journalism into political activity, given that they spent money on something that is believed to be for the benefit of Trump’s campaign. McDougal, in a lawsuit, claims that her attorney at the time, Keith Davidson, had been in touch with Cohen regarding the status of the agreement.


Via the Washington Post:

During the presidential campaign, National Enquirer executives sent digital copies of the tabloid’s articles and cover images related to Donald Trump and his political opponents to Trump’s attorney Michael Cohen in advance of publication, according to three people with knowledge of the matter — an unusual practice that speaks to the close relationship between Trump and David Pecker, chief executive of American Media Inc., the Enquirer’s parent company.

Although the company strongly denies ever sharing such material before publication, these three individuals say the sharing of material continued after Trump took office.

“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,” said one of the people with knowledge of the practice.

During the 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,” this person added.