President Trump has some things he wants to hide from the American public, based on a new report.
According to The New York Times, Trump and then-attorney Michael Cohen had a plan before the 2016 election to buy the rights to all the negative stories National Enquirer had collected on him, dating back to the 1980s.
The deal reportedly never went through, but it would have allowed Trump to own all the stories that the Enquirer’s parent company, American Media Inc., had purchased rights to but chosen not to publish—a practice called “catch and kill.”
David Pecker, Trump ally and chairman of American Media, had ordered his staff to “protect” Trump from “troublesome stories,” reports the Times, “in some cases by buying up stories about him and filing it away.” This includes burying the story of Trump’s affair with former Playboy model Karen McDougal. American Media bought the rights to the story in return for $150,000 and “commitments to use its magazines to promote her career as a fitness specialist” in August 2016.
The stories in question spanned a number of themes, including marriage problems, alleged affairs, lawsuits, and even “minutia, like allegations of unscrupulous golfing.” They were reportedly kept in a safe until shortly before Trump’s inauguration. It is unclear whether they were then destroyed or moved to a different location.
The existence of such a plan was first hinted at last month when Cohen’s lawyer released a recording of a conversation between Cohen and Trump. In the recording, Cohen is heard saying, “I need to open up a company for the transfer of all of that info, regarding our friend David,” referring to David Pecker.
Pecker has been granted immunity for providing information about Cohen and Trump in the ongoing investigation into the payments to Karen McDougal and Stormy Daniels, according to a report from The Wall Street Journal last week.