- Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump’s former lawyer, reportedly reviewed and approved National Enquirer stories to make sure they portrayed Trump as positively as possible.
- The parent company of the National Enquirer, a tabloid, is owned by a close friend of Trump’s.
- Prosecutors are examining Cohen’s efforts to kill negative stories about Trump as part of an investigation into whether Cohen violated campaign finance laws.
The tabloid newspaper the National Enquirer sent drafts of stories about President Donald Trump for approval from his personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, both during his presidential campaign and into his presidency, The Washington Post reported.
According to three sources who spoke to The Post, the Enquirer would share both articles and covers written about Trump with Cohen, who also served as Trump’s “fixer” and managed access to him.
“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,” one the sources told The Post. Another source said that most of the time, Cohen suggested more flattering headlines and photos for stories.
When asked for comment by The Post, the National Enquirer flatly denied that any stories were sent to Cohen for approval, or that Trump’s team had any involvement in the Enquirer’s editorial decisions.
Trump has had a decades-long friendship with David Pecker, the head of the American Media Inc., which owns the National Enquirer and other gossip magazines.
The Enquirer, which officially endorsed Trump in the campaign and has published a slew of pro-Trump articles, is being examined by federal prosecutors investigating Cohen for alleged campaign finance violations and bank fraud.
Investigators in New York have subpoenaed American Media Inc. for information related to it’s $US150,000 payment for the rights to a story about an alleged affair between Trump and Playboy model Karen McDougal, The Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday.
The payment constituted a “catch-and-kill,” which is when a paper pays for exclusive rights to a story without publishing it to ensure that it never gets released.
Prosecutors are looking into whether Cohen violated campaign finance laws by spending money to “catch-and-kill” potentially damaging stories about Trump during the 2016 election.
Cohen, who had been Trump’s loyal right-hand-man for years, is now rumoured to be turning on the president and preparing to cut a deal with federal authorities. He has not yet been charged with a crime.
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