- Jonathan Ernst/Reuters
- President Donald Trump and his former longtime lawyer Michael Cohen devised a plan to purchase decades of dirt The National Enquirer built up, The New York Times reported Thursday.
- The plan was never finalized, the publication reported.
- Last week, Cohen pleaded guilty to eight counts of federal felonies, including two campaign-finance violations stemming from hush payments to two women who alleged affairs with Trump.
President Donald Trump and his former longtime lawyer Michael Cohen devised a plan to purchase more than 30 years of dirt The National Enquirer built up on the future president prior to the 2016 presidential election, The New York Times reported Thursday.
That plan was never finalized, The Times reported, adding that it was hinted to during a secret recording Cohen made of Trump in September 2016 that was seized by the FBI. It was then released publicly by Cohen’s attorney, Lanny Davis, last month.
The September 2016 conversation featured the two men discussing a plan to buy the rights to former Playboy model Karen McDougal’s story. McDougal says she has an affair with Trump years ago.
American Media Inc., which owns The Enquirer and whose CEO, David Pecker, is close with Trump, purchased McDougal’s story for $$150,000 in August 2016 but never ended up publishing the account. That practice is known as “catch and kill,” and it effectively silenced McDougal’s allegations.
“It’s all the stuff – all the stuff, because you never know,” Cohen said on the recording of a plan to purchase information from The Enquirer. Cohen also said he needed to “open up a company for the transfer of all of that info, regarding our friend David.”
Several Trump associates told The Times about both the plan to buy the trove of information and of its existence. Pecker cooperated with federal investigators and was given immunity as part of the Cohen probe that took place in the Southern District of New York.
Last week, Cohen pleaded guilty to eight counts of federal felonies, including two campaign-finance violations stemming from hush payments to McDougal and porn star Stormy Daniels, who also alleged an affair with Trump.
The Times reported it was unclear whether federal prosecutors scrutinized the proposed plan to buy all of the dirt. Lawyers for Trump and Cohen declined to comment to The Times, as did American Media Inc.
Last week, The Associated Press reported that Pecker kept some sensitive information on Trump in a physical safe.