WSJ: Trump Asked AMI Boss to Make Karen McDougal Story ‘Go Away’

Just when you thought there was nothing left to say about Donald Trump’s “hush money” cover-ups of sexual affairs with Playboy centerfold model Karen McDougal, and AVN Hall of Famer Stormy Daniels, a new Wall Street Journal report reveals that Trump’s involvement in the illegal schemes was even deeper than previously reported. 

The report by investigative journalists Joe Palazzolo and Michael Rothfeld is adapted from their upcoming book The Fixers, which tells the story of the various henchmen—such as his now-imprisoned former lawyer Michael Cohen—who carry out Trump’s dirty work on his behalf.

Much of that work involves, according to the Journal, chasing down and suppressing information about Trump’s personal behavior that mat reflect poorly on him—such as his extramarital affairs. Or as the two reporters put it, to create for Trump “a particular version of himself—one that often bore little resemblance to reality.”

According to  Palazzolo and Rothfeld’s report, back in August of 2015, just two months after Trump officially announced his candidacy for president, Trump and Cohen met in Trump’s office with David Pecker—CEO of American Media Inc., parent company of the National Enquirer. 

At that meeting, “Pecker offered to use the Enquirer—in coordination with Mr. Cohen—to intercept harmful stories and ensure they never surfaced,” according to the Journal report.

One of those “harmful stories” was McDougal’s claim that she had a months-long sexual affair with Trump in 2006 and 2007, slightly more than a year after he wed his third wife, Melania, and shortly after their son Barron Trump was born.

When he got word that McDougal was planning to go public with her story, Trump personally phoned Pecker.

“Can you make this go away?” Trump asked the Enquirer boss. 

And Pecker did, indeed, make the story go away. The Enquirer shelled out $150,000 for McDougal’s story, then simply buried it, in what that tabloid business refers to as a “catch and kill” deal. McDougal in 2018 sued Trump and Pecker to be released from her agreement with the Enquirer, eventually settling the case. 

The Journal report also revealed that after media reports uncovered Cohen’s $130,000 payment to Daniels, to keep her silent about her one-off sexual encounter with Trump in 2006, Trump went through an elaborate charade to demonstrate his innocence in front of his wife.

With Melania listening in on the call, Trump phoned Cohen.

“Michael, did you really pay $130,000 to Stormy Daniels?” Trump asked his fixer. “Why didn’t you tell me about it?”

Cohen “picked up the cue,” the Journal reported. The lawyer told his then-boss “he’d planned to tell him after the election but had thought it safer to keep Mr. Trump out of it.” 

In his later statements to prosecutors as well as public testimony, Cohen admitted that the payoff to Daniels was hardly a surprise to Trump. In fact, Trump told him to “get it done” and directed the payoffs of both Daniels and McDougal every step of the way.

Photo By Glenn Francis / Wikimedia Commons