Remember that report about the National Enquirer having a literal safe full of Donald Trump-related stories it killed to protect him? Consider this part deux of the Trump Dirt in the Enquirer Vaults tale: The New York Times reports that prior to the 2016 election, Trump and his former lawyer Michael Cohen cooked up a plan to buy all the dirt the National Enquirer (and its parent company American Media, Inc.) had on him, dating back to the 1980s.
The plan was never realized. Instead, Cohen bought the silence of adult film star Stormy Daniels and Playboy model Karen McDougal—both of whom say they had affairs with Trump.
Still, the fact that they were considering buying 30 years worth of dirt hints that there was a treasure trove of juicy stories locked up in that vault, perhaps enough to theoretically swing the election out of Trump’s favor. For decades, Trump could depend on American Media and Enquirer head David Pecker to buy and bury—or “catch and kill”—stories that make Trump look like the nauseating goon we all know he is. The Times:
In August 2016, American Media acquired the rights to Ms. McDougal’s story in return for $150,000 and commitments to use its magazines to promote her career as a fitness specialist. But American Media never published her allegations about a relationship with Mr. Trump.
Trump is doing a great job of that all by himself, but stories such as Karen McDougal’s were a prime example of the “catch and kill” ethos.
But after the deal, Trump and Cohen grew paranoid about the safety of these secret dealings and dirt: What if Pecker leaves the company? What if the company went under? The New York Times notes that in a recording captured by Cohen, Trump had a particularly grim way of looking at the worst case scenario:
“Maybe he gets hit by a truck,” Mr. Trump said of Mr. Pecker in a conversation with Mr. Cohen, musing about an unfortunate mishap befalling his good friend.
Little did they know that the real problem they had to contend with was Pecker being granted immunity in a federal investigation of campaign finance violations against Cohen.
But a question lingers: Where’s the dirt now?
It is not known how much of the material on Mr. Trump is still in American Media’s possession or whether American Media destroyed any of it after the campaign. Prosecutors have not said whether they have obtained any of the material beyond that which pertains to Ms. McDougal and Ms. Clifford and the discussions about their arrangements.
People with knowledge of American Media’s operations, who would speak only on condition of anonymity, described the files on Mr. Trump as mostly older National Enquirer stories about Mr. Trump’s marital woes and lawsuits; related story notes and lists of sensitive sources; some tips about alleged affairs; and minutia, like allegations of unscrupulous golfing.
Whoever digs it up, please, feed it all to me.