Journalist Ronan Farrow claims in his new book that the National Enquirer destroyed sensitive documents related to Donald Trump after the Wall Street Journal came calling in 2016 for information related to an unflattering story about the Enquirer and its relationship with the then-presidential nominee.
The allegations about the Enquirer’s destruction of documents, found in Farrow’s “Catch and Kill: Lies, Spies and a Conspiracy to Protect Predators,” were reported Monday by Politico and CNN. Farrow’s book, which details how allegations of sexual abuse against powerful men like Trump and Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein were suppressed and their victims silenced, will be published on Tuesday.
According to “Catch and Kill,” the Journal called the Enquirer in early November 2016 to request comment for its story about how the tabloid’s parent company, American Media Inc., had paid $150,000 to former Playboy model Karen McDougal to keep her quiet about an affair she’d had with Trump a decade earlier. The Journal’s story was published on Nov. 4, 2016, just four days ahead of the presidential election.
Dylan Howard, then the Enquirer’s editor-in-chief, “appeared to be in a panic” after the Journal’s call, Farrow said in his book.
That same day, Howard directed staffers to “get everything out” of a small safe that allegedly contained a bunch of Trump-linked “dirt.” Farrow claims “a Trump-related document from the safe, along with others in the Enquirer’s possession” were then shredded.
AMI told Politico in a statement that Farrow’s allegations about the destroyed documents were “completely untrue.”
“Mr. Farrow’s narrative is driven by unsubstantiated allegations from questionable sources,” a company spokesperson said.
Since the Journal’s reporting in November 2016 about AMI’s deal with McDougal, other reports have surfaced about how the company ― under the tutelage of its chairman and longtime Trump ally, David Pecker ― worked closely with Trump and his associates, including his former fixer Michael Cohen, to help quash embarrassing or otherwise negative stories about Trump. Those stories included McDougal’s and also porn star Stormy Daniels’ allegations of an earlier affair.
A former Enquirer journalist, Jerry George, reportedly told Farrow that Pecker “killed perhaps 10 fully reported stories about Trump, and nixed many more potential leads during George’s 28 years at the Enquirer.”
AMI had previously denied employing a “catch and kill” tactic on behalf of Trump ― which involves buying the rights of a story but never publishing it. The company told the Journal in 2016 that it had “not paid people to kill damaging stories about Mr. Trump.”
Two years later, however, AMI admitted to making the hush money payment to McDougal in coordination with Trump’s campaign.
Cohen also confessed to paying $130,000 to porn star Stormy Daniels to prevent her from speaking publicly about her alleged affair with Trump. Cohen, who was reportedly tipped off by Pecker and Howard about Daniels’ allegations, is currently serving a three-year jail sentence for campaign finance violations related to his role in the hush money payments to McDougal and Daniels.