The New Yorker’s Ronan Farrow has a wild report that involves hush money, the National Enquirer, our magnanimous president, an affair, and a possible child from said affair. I feel tired, personally!
Here’s how the tale begins:
Late in 2015, a former Trump Tower doorman named Dino Sajudin met with a reporter from American Media, Inc., the publisher of the National Enquirer, at a McDonald’s in Pennsylvania. A few weeks earlier, Sajudin had signed a contract with A.M.I., agreeing to become a source and to accept thirty thousand dollars for exclusive rights to information he had been told: that Donald Trump, who had launched his Presidential campaign five months earlier, may have fathered a child with a former employee in the late nineteen-eighties. Sajudin declined to comment for this story. However, six current and former A.M.I. employees, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they feared legal retaliation by the company, said that Sajudin had told A.M.I. the names of the alleged mistress and child. Reporters at A.M.I. had spent weeks investigating the allegations, and Sajudin had passed a lie-detector test, during which he testified that high-level Trump employees, including Trump’s head of security, Matthew Calamari, had told him the story.
Trump was married during the years of the alleged affair. Ultimately, the New Yorker was unable to confirm the rumor—the mother and the child refused to speak to Farrow, while the Trump Organization denied the entire report and the child’s family called Sajudin’s account “completely false and ridiculous.”
Nonetheless, the report, true or not, further “establishes [America Media Inc’s] pattern of buying and burying stories that could be damaging to Trump during the Presidential campaign,” Farrow reports, noting that Sajudin’s claims about an alleged child are now the third story that Trump’s inner circle has tried to squelch during the campaign, and the second story that AMI—whose CEO, David Pecker, is a friend of Trump’s—has suppressed.
AMI threatened Sajudin with a million-dollar penalty for going public with the rumor, but lifted the contract after the election. Last year, AMI executive and Enquirer editor Dylan Howard said the tip “lacked any credibility.”
Before paying off Sajudin, AMI paid Playboy model Karen McDougal $150,000 for the exclusive right to publish her claim about an alleged affair with Trump, and then dropped the story. McDougal has sued over the contract, as has porn star Stormy Daniels, who was paid $130,000 by Trump’s lawyer ahead of the election to stay quiet about another alleged affair with Trump. (The F.B.I. raided Cohen’s office earlier this week. Whoops.)
Several AMI and longtime Enquirer employees who spoke to Farrow and the Associated Press, respectively, didn’t buy Howard’s excuse for holding back the story. “They said they were ordered by top editors to stop pursuing the story before completing potentially promising reporting threads,” the AP reported. “They said the publication didn’t pursue standard Enquirer reporting practices, such as exhaustive stake-outs or tabloid tactics designed to prove paternity.”
So, to recap: It seems like the grocery store tabloid rag that called Hillary Clinton a bisexual “secret sex freak” during the 2016 election paid a lot of money to keep politically relevant news out of the news cycle because its owner supports Donald Trump. And also, there may be another Trump among us.
Update 4/12, 3:50 pm: Sajudin told CNN in a statement: “I was instructed not to criticize President Trump’s former housekeeper due to a prior relationship she had with President Trump which produced a child.”