President Donald Trump’s lengthy past of abusive and exploitative behavior targeting everyone from women at parties to contractors and more is well documented, and for much of the journey, the gossip rag the National Enquirer has been by the eventual president’s side. Now, prominent journalist Ronan Farrow is alleging in his new book Catch and Kill that the publication went so far that they shredded significant portions of secret documents that they’d accumulated covering potentially reputation-damaging stories about Trump — although at this point, is there much that would even tear his base away from him?
Either way, the great shred operation inside the offices of American Media Inc. (otherwise known as AMI, which has owned the Enquirer for some time, although it’s now being sold) got underway after the Wall Street Journal called them for comment about a scoop they were developing covering the very true story that the publication had paid former Playboy model Karen McDougal for the publication rights to her story of an affair with Trump and then never published it. The result, as has been well rehashed elsewhere by now, is that Trump and his campaign got to avoid public scrutiny of his affairs for a little while longer.
A little further down the line chronologically, POLITICO explains, based off Farrow’s reporting:
‘American Media, Inc. and the National Enquirer shredded sensitive Donald Trump-related documents that had been held in a top-secret safe right before Trump was elected in 2016.’
Apparently — on the very same day as that call from the Journal — then editor in chief Dylan Howard ordered a staff member to “get everything out of the safe” and asserted that “we need to get a shredder down there.” Apparently, the operation was successful. One anonymous then-employee told Farrow that on that day, trash collectors picked up “a larger than customary volume of refuse.” Additionally, an employee who’d gotten “jumpy” eventually went to check on the safe down the line, and found that what was stored there didn’t match a list Howard had previously put together of all the Trump dirt they had.
This scandal has relevance well beyond the level of the salacious headline. The payments that the Enquirer helped with violated federal campaign finance laws considering they constituted secret, massive donations meant to prop up the Trump campaign operation.
Trump’s former longtime fixer Michael Cohen is currently serving a three year jail sentence for his role in the scheme, and the Enquirer‘s publisher David Pecker was granted immunity from criminal charges in exchange for cooperating with prosecutors. Over the years, he’d apparently helped “kill” at least ten fully fleshed out Trump stories and helped bury many more leads.
Unsurprisingly, AMI collectively and Howard in particular have flipped out at Farrow’s latest allegations. Howard’s attorney’s law firm has been sending threatening letters to booksellers and says they’re considering “all legal options and jurisdictions.” AMI adds that Farrow’s story is supposedly “driven by unsubstantiated allegations from questionable sources and while these stories may be dramatic, they are completely untrue.” If it’s so wrong, why don’t they simply produce the evidence to prove as much? What have they got to hide?
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