I first started highlighting the National Enquirer's support for Donald Trump a year and a half ago, after noticing at the grocery-store checkout line a series of embarrassingly complimentary headlines for the Republican. I didn't realize at the time how much further this would go.
We've known for a while, for example, about the tabloid's parent company, American Media Inc., paying former Playboy centerfold Karen McDougal $150,000 for her story about her extra-marital affair with Trump. Once AMI brought the exclusive rights, the company buried the story so no one would hear about it.
The Associated Press published a related report overnight, highlighting AMI's $30,000 payment to Dino Sajudin, a doorman at one of Trump's buildings, which also happened during the 2016 presidential campaign.
The Associated Press confirmed the details of the Enquirer's payment through a review of a confidential contract and interviews with dozens of current and former employees of the Enquirer and its parent company, American Media Inc. Sajudin got $30,000 in exchange for signing over the rights, "in perpetuity," to a rumor he'd heard about Trump's sex life -- that the president had fathered a child with an employee at Trump World Tower, a skyscraper he owns near the United Nations.
The contract subjected Sajudin to a $1 million penalty if he disclosed either the rumor or the terms of the deal to anyone.
Michael Cohen, Trump's personal attorney, acknowledged to the Associated Press that he'd spoken to the National Enquirer's parent company about the doorman's story.
That's the same Cohen whose office and hotel room was raided by the FBI this week, with federal law enforcement reportedly seeking information on, among other things, Cohen's role facilitating hush-money payments to protect Trump.
The AP article added, "The parallel between the ex-Playmate's and the ex-doorman's dealings with the Enquirer raises new questions about the roles that the Enquirer and Cohen may have played in protecting Trump's image during a hard-fought presidential election."