Donald Trump Was In the Room

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Did Donald Trump personally meet with David Pecker, publisher of the National Enquirer, to ask him to pay hush money to women he’d had sex with? Yesterday I was unsure about this because I’d read it in the Daily Mail, not the most reliable source in the media landscape. But apparently they were right. Here’s the Wall Street Journal:

As a presidential candidate in August 2015, Donald Trump huddled with a longtime friend, media executive David Pecker, in his cluttered 26th floor Trump Tower office and made a request. What can you do to help my campaign? he asked, according to people familiar with the meeting.

Mr. Pecker, chief executive of American Media Inc., offered to use his National Enquirer tabloid to buy the silence of women if they tried to publicize alleged sexual encounters with Mr. Trump. Less than a year later, Mr. Trump asked Mr. Pecker to quash the story of a former Playboy model who said they’d had an affair. Mr. Pecker’s company soon paid $150,000 to the model, Karen McDougal, to keep her from speaking publicly about it. Mr. Trump later thanked Mr. Pecker for the assistance.

OK, fine, but this story is dated November 9. Why is it suddenly getting new attention? Did something new get reported on Thursday? It was all over CNN last night:

I’m confused. However, I guess one thing is clear: Donald Trump has been lying about this all along. He was in the room, and he personally directed David Pecker to pay hush money to Karen McDougal.

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If you’re reading this, a fundraising pitch at the bottom of an article, you must find our team’s reporting valuable and we hope you’ll consider supporting it with a donation of any amount right now if you can.

It’s really that simple. But if you’d like to read a bit more, our membership lead, Brian Hiatt, has a post for you highlighting some of our newsroom's impressive, impactful work of late—including two big investigations in just one day and covering voting rights the way it needs to be done—that we hope you’ll agree is worth supporting.

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