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tv   Headliners  MSNBC  April 14, 2019 7:00pm-8:00pm PDT

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just say "watchathon" into your x1 voice remote, or download the xfinity stream app. xfinity watchathon week, free. now through april 14. good evening. for years people waiting on checkout lines in a newsstand have been drawn in by headlines from the national enquirer. when donald trump announced his presidency. the weekly tabloid once known for celebrity gossip began playing an unlikely role in politics. the revealing look behind the pages of the "national enquirer". >> the "national enquirer" is at the checkout aisle all across america. >> powered by its sensational articles, it has become one of the significant poply cases in america. >> the readers are incredibly
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loyal to it. whatever they publish they will read and believe. >> exploiting tragedy. >> people have more of a fascination with this kind of stuff. detractors say the tabloid is ground zero for fake news. >> they sent me the $30,000 over the wire. >> this was a magazine that frankly, in many respects, should be very respected. >> donald trump's run for the white house inspired a whole new series of covers. >> donald trump weaponized the "national enquirer" in a way that hadn't been done. >> his alleged ally was the "national enquirer" boss. david pecker. >> it's a perfect marriage. it is a marriage made in tabloid heaven. >> i think the game plan was for the "national enquirer" to serve as an unofficial propaganda outlet for president trump. >> but the enquirer made headlines of its own when it went after jeff bezos.
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>> this is extortion. it is crime. >> "national enquirer" is in the shame business. >> when we look back at the history of the "national enquirer," we will look at this moment as the point at which the "national enquirer" began to have a profound influence on american politics. >> the "national enquirer" headlines exposed the rich and famous for years. >> the prose is purple and it is sizzling by design. >> they have broken some serious stories that have affected people in the public eye. >> the tabloids seem to have a blind spot when it came to donald trump. by the time we got to 2015.
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and he was running for president. "national enquirer" became very pertinent to endorse candidate trump as it never endorsed a candidate before. it went after his critics, both his critics in the republican primary like ted cruz and hillary clinton. trump's core supporters also happened to be readers of the "national enquirer." it is a heart land readership. it's older readership. it's a largely white readership. >> look at all the fake news back there. >> i think people identify with trump, he sort of reinforced the notion that maybe the enquirer could be the voice for them. >> leading the effort, david pecker, ceo of american media inc. or ami. >> the trump era brought this very weird cast of characters
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into power in america. i think david pecker is one of these characters. >> during the 2016 campaign, pecker appealed to trump supporters by highlighting positive stories about their candidate on the enquirer's pages and making sure they didn't see any negative words. >> he is getting the stories that would make donald trump look bad, and he is essentially and quite literally putting those stories in a vault. >> including one from a woman who alleged she had an affair with the future president. >> karen mcdougal, former playboy model had a relationship with trump allegedly. >> had a story about an extramarital affair come out, it would have been damaging to the trump campaign. >> although the white house denied the affair, ami would admit to paying mcdougal $150,000. >> in tabloid journalism, the practice has a name, catch and kill.
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>> catch and kill in journalism is the concept that you would buy a story from someone and then own its rights so that you could choose to publish it or in the case of the "national enquirer," you would choose to not publish it. >> the president's former lawyer and fixer, michael cohen, told house investigators he worked directly with ami to protect his boss's reputation. >> did you practice this for the president? >> i was involved in several of these catch and kill episodes. >> federal investigators looked into the payments to kill stories constituted campaign finance violations. >> the payments were done on behalf of the candidate. the campaign. >> they should have been disclosed under our campaign finance laws, and they weren't. >> in order to avoid prosecution, ami agreed to tell federal prosecutors everything the enquirer had done to help get trump elected. it also pledged not to commit
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any times during the deal. but four months later, the tabloid was back in the headlines. >> jeff bezos says the "national enquirer" and its owner are trying to blackmail him. >> all they had to do was keep their noises clean, and they got off with a slap on the hands. now they're back in the thick of it. >> it began with a january 2019 headline on the enquirer's front page. according to the story, jeff bezos was having an affair with television personality lauren sanchez. >> that story contained texts and photographs that someone inside bezos' private world got their hands on. unlike most people, bezos had substantial resources, so he hired his own investigators and decided to get to the bottom of the article, who got the text and the photos to the "national enquirer."
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>> in a candid blog post written a month after the expose, bezos went directly after pecker. >> and basically accuses david pecker and the "national enquirer" of trying to blackmail him and extort him. >> bezos said he was warned the enquirer had more embarrassing material, including nude photos, but would only release them if specific demands were met. -- weren't met. >> they said we're going to publish these unless you come out and make this statement that our story about you was not politically motivated and you stop looking into how we got these photos. >> inquiring minds wanted to know: was this tabloid business as usual, or was there something else going on? the president's animosity towards jeff bezos is well known. he frequently tweeted accusations that bezos used his power and influence for political gain.
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>> he owns the "washington post." it's broken significant stories about trump's relationship with russia, the workings of the trump administration and the white house, all of which trump would rather not see the light of day. >> adding to the injury, bezos's washington post employed jamal khassogi. whose columns uncovers human rights abuse in the kingdom may have led to his murder. >> i think the fact that the washington post aggressively pursued that story also didn't sit well with the saudis. so you have two powerful entities here who don't care for what jeff bezos is doing. >> the potential saudi link also extended to david pecker. >> in 2018 ami published 200,000 copies of this glossy magazine, glorified the saudi crown prince mohammed bin salman. and stocked at chain stores all across the u.s. >> it wracked at walmart.
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saudi arabia is the new magic kingdom. come here for your vacation, walmart shoppers. >> so let's chart it out. president of the united states can't stand the washington post and its leader jeff bezos. saudi arabia can't stand the washington post and its leader, jeff bezos. who are they both connected to? right in the middle of it, david pecker, american media inc. now we have america media inc trying to scandalize jeff bezos. >> the decision to run the infamous cover story could have serious ramifications for the tabloid. >> if federal prosecutors see this as a crime, that initial cooperation would get blown up and it exposes both pecker and ami to even possibly greater legal consequences. >> this is extortion. this is a crime. i think it very likely could be. >> coming up. >> i know where to go. that's why he sold the story. it had nothing to do with
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politics at all. >> the "national enquirer" made its name by breaking the rules. >> we did a lot of unconventional things that nobody was doing. going through garbage. following people. my father told people, do whatever you have to do. to get the story. ♪ limu emu & doug
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that protects what's important. it handles everything, and reaches everywhere. this is beyond wifi, this is xfi. simple. easy. awesome. xfinity, the future of awesome. in one corner, you have got jeff bezos, the founder of amazon. in the other corner, you have got david pecker, the head of american media and the national enquirer and a close friend of president trump. >> president trump's long-time friend, david pecker, has been accused of targeting the world's richest man. >> you could not write a better script. the problem is we don't know if the script is yet fact or fiction. >> trump and pecker first met in the 1990s. years before trump considered a run for the presidency. >> pecker is a brash magazine
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executive who wants to challenge the status quo, sees himself as an outsider. donald trump same thing, brash real estate developer challenging the status quo, sees himself as on outsider. >> two native new yorkers, trump born in queens. pecker from the bronx. the big apple was plush with cash in the '90s driven by the stock market and a surging national economy. former senior vice president of corporate communications has worked in the entertainment industry for three decades. >> he's a very big-time in the city, a lot of clubs that people hung out certainly within the publishing industry because publishers were celebrities in new york in those days. >> david pecker's rise to the top of new york's publishing scene had humble roots. the son of a bricklayer, he worked as a bookkeeper when his father died when he was just 16.
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he became an account. he focussed on the bottom line instead of the by line. >> he's not a news man. he doesn't have ink in his veins. >> pecker's knack earned him this position. of ceo at the top magazine publisher. the company behind car and driver, premier and elle. >> one of the most popular magazines that he launched when he was running the ship was called george. george was an idea of jfk jr. who was looking for a publishing partner and somehow or another got connected to pecker. >> george magazine was launched in 1995. shortly thereafter, pecker met donald j. trump, whose exploits were well covered by new york tabloids. >> they said about both of them that they want acceptance from the establishment that they're
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also thumbing their noises at, so they become friends. they strike a business arrangement. >> their first venture together, trump style, a glossy magazine launched in 1997 promoting trump properties and the donald's signature style. >> that was a magazine that was to be distributed only at trump properties and trump resorts. >> you have got david pecker who sees donald trump as sort of aspirational figure. he likes the trump lifestyle. he likes the guilded office and the opulent wealth. you know, women on both arms. >> pecker clearly had access to media. what trump craved. as the relationship grew, they found value in each other. you know, you scratch my back. i'll scratch your back. >> i was fascinated by their concept for george. >> after overseeing magazines like george, elle and premier, in 1999 david pecker became
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chairman and ceo of american media inc. >> the tabloids have the greatest distribution network for magazines. >> pecker now controlled the biggest tabloids in the country. star magazine, the globe and the crown jewel of american tabs, the "national enquirer." >> when david pecker came to the enquirer, he brought donald trump in as pretty much a silent editor. >> jerry george worked at the "national enquirer" for 28 years starting as a reporter in 1985. >> donald trump had been a regular feature in the enquirer. he lived an outrageous life, and he was well thinkier than god. we would do stories all the time on him and he would often cooperate. he would come to the phone and give you an interview. if he didn't like the story, he'd call and complain, but he'd say, you know, next time give me
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a call and we can work together out. >> after decker took over, there was a drastic shift in the way the enquirer covered trump. >> we were no longer going to write negative stories on donald trump. so suddenly there were no stories on affairs or trouble in the marriages. everything had a glow to it. >> it was common knowledge at the enquirer that being on david pecker's good side could benefit a celebrity's career. >> sylvester stallone was another example of a friend of pecker. there were people who were known as being fops inside the "national enquirer." and those were people who you would not read negative stories about in the "national enquirer." >> trump, who was constantly planting positive stories about himself in the tabloids, pecker can do that for him. and what can trump give pecker? entry into his world.
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can basically invite him into this world that pecker became very captivated by. it was a perfect marriage. made in tabloid heaven. >> pecker tightened his grip on the tabloid market in the late '90s, earning the nickname the bad boy of magazines. >> i am a very focussed person, and i have over the years have learned to respect the editorial and respect our reader. >> in 2004, donald trump took on a role that catapulted him on to an even bigger stage. >> i'm looking for "the apprentice". >> a big hit for nbc. after a series of well publicized business failures, it portrayed donald trump as a successful no nonsense businessman. >> you're fired. >> it was taught when the apprentice was at the top of the ratings created a different version where the competition would be editor of star magazine. >> although that show never
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materialized, according to ami employees, trump and pecker seemed to grow closer, increasing trump's influence over the tabloids. >> donald trump is extremely manipulative in a good way. he's extremely charismatic and he can make you feel like you are the center of the world. >> coming up, will it push to the enquirer to ruin? >> my father would be turning over in the grave to see what his paper, what his creation, what his baby is being used for. fact is, every insurance company hopes you drive safely.
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in the years before david pecker took control, the "national enquirer" mostly stayed out of partisan politics. anyone rich and famous could be fair game. for a sensational take down. >> the tone of the coverage is not political. it's just about do we have a really good, juicy story? do we have something that readers will say, wow, i got to read that. >> the stock and trade and
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formula for success was the exclusive and explosive celebrity scoop. >> the most important thing to my father was his baby, which was the editorial news room. >> paul david pope's father, gene, founded the enquirer in 1952. >> we did a lot of unconventional things that nobody was doing. people's garbage, following people. my father told people, do whatever you have to do to get the story. >> gene pope encouraged people to bend, if not break, traditional rules of journalism. this so-called last picture of elvis presley racked up 6.7 million copies sold in 1977. >> elvis in the coffin. you know, that was a pretty big get. and the reason they got that story and they have that kind of reputation is that the enquirer throughout its history has paid for sources. >> sometimes those sources are
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the celebrity's pr, a body guard, an assistant, someone that knew them. my father had his fingers on the pulse. so he knew the picture of elvis in the coffin was going to be the thing. the way he achieved that was by sneaking a relative in with a tiny camera at the time. it was this big. >> the enquirer is the mother of checkbook journalism. but i think you get what you pay for. we were very successful in acquiring many, many scoops. >> gene pope came to the newspaper business through his father, a prosperous businessman that bought the nation's leading paper, in the process becoming a key figure in new york city politics. >> my father worked with his dad very close, how to influence things, how to make things happen. how to effect change. how to get people elected. >> after a dispute following his father's death, this 24-year-old
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was cut out of the family business. he bought the new york enquirer, a struggling weekly, retooling it as a tabloid. >> he later stumbled on a strategy to boost sales. >> he was driving home one day and he saw this horrific accident with a decapitated head and he had this epiphany. wow, this is what i need to do. >> for a long time, the "national enquirer" is car crash journalism, blood, guts, gore, the crazy things that were sensational and incendiary and you couldn't get away from. >> pope's next move is still considered a stroke of marketing genius. he placed the paper in eye level racks at super market checkout racks across the country, grabbing the attention of millions of american shoppers, a majority of them women. >> they are the people that wanted that hour of escapism that the paper offered them.
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>> the "national enquirer" as we know it was born. >> by 1971, the paper's circulation grew to 5.9 million readers a week, one of the largest of any periodical in america. >> we just had the best reporters, the best writers. he had the greatest editorial staff i believe that existed at the time. >> i was hired by gene pope in 1985. his vision was to make reporters approach hollywood with a top reporter's eye. you know, the publicist would deny it. that's when you get to work. every story had a minimum of three sources and sometimes as many as eight. >> the enquirer was a publication i had a respect for as a gossip reporter, at least in my past, when they would get the story, they really had it.
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>> the enquirer's reporting sometimes had the power to end careers. the miami herald wrote the story of an extramarital affair in may 1987. he denied he was having an affair with rice, but this photograph of them published by the enquirer four weeks later helped bury any chances the disgraced senator may have had to resuscitate his political career. >> i refuse to submit my family and friends and innocent people and myself to further rumors and gossip. >> gary was the most gratifying time for my father. people realized we were an institution. if it was in the "national enquirer," it was true. the interesting thing is i don't even think he, today, he was alive with the impact that the enquirer had on our society and our wealth. -- world. >> over the next decade with donald trump's affairs and troubled marriages still regular
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fodder for cover stories, the "national enquirer" was sold, first to a venture capital firm and then in 1999 to american media incorporated with david pecker at the helm. two years later with the country still reeling from the 9/11 attacks, strategy struck. thaj tragedy struck. at headquarters in florida. >> federal officials back in this country said today that a florida man has contracted a very rare and potentially deadly form of anthrax. >> a phone call comes in. she says to me, we have a man dying of anthrax, we think, in one of our hospitals. >> frank, now an msnbc contributor, was the assistant special agent in charge of the fbi's miami field office. >> our scientists began to develop a microscopic trail of anthrax that led us to the mail
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room in that building. >> the anthrax was part of a coordinated attack. >> we're getting reports that it has been delivered to other iconic targets within the united states. the united states congress, nbc news, other post offices are now reporting findings of anthrax. and we're realizing that we are essentially under some form of bio logical attack. >> as the fbi scrambled to locate the center, tens of thousands of americans began taking antibiotics to protect themselves. the infection was confirmed in 22 people. of those 5 were killed, including an ami photo editor. >> by the time the fbi was done with this crime scene, it had become the largest hazardous materials crime scene in the history of the fbi. >> due to the risk of
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contamination, very little of the "national enquirer"'s vast archives survived. >> they lost a lot of their own files, a lot of institution gnat knowledge that really rocked pecker's world. but it also drew attention to them again, right? they're part of the fabric of the country. >> former enquirer employees from that period have praised pecker's leadership. >> he's a really smart businessman. compassion is not a word i normally would use. yet, he did have a giving heart. pecker did respond very caringly about the employees. he made sure they were relocated to different places that were safe. >> the attacks brought together a cast of characters who would cross paths again more than a decade later around a different national dilemma. >> when all is said and done, somebody has to decontaminate every inch of that building. it's peckers job to figure that out. who does he reach out to?
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associated with a guy by the name of rudy giuliani and brand-new director of the fbi at this time, a guy named robert mueller. coming up, the enquirer's tactics help bring down another presidential hopeful. >> the story is false. >> the "national enquirer" is in the shaming business. ce the sty, craftsmanship and technology that have made the rx the leading luxury suv of all time. lease the 2019 rx 350 for $409 a month for 36 months. experience amazing at your lexus dealer. i was tired of having my calls dropped. and then i'd heard i get apple music, and i said, "boom!" (vo) the best network is even better with apple music on us. plus save big when you switch. only on verizon. it's kind of unfair that safe drivers have to pay as much for insurance... as not safe drivers! ah!
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as rlly as tomorrow a redacted version of the 400 page mueller report will be sent to congress and also made public. the report will detail mueller's investigation into possible russian collusion and obstruction of justice. a magical moment at the masters. tiger woods won his first masters title since 2005. the victory followed years of personal turmoil and health
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issues. back to headliners, revealed "national enquirer." the "national enquirer" has, for better or worse, redefined the landscape of professional journalism. under the leadership of david pecker, the tabloid possibly began having an impact on the country's politics. >> from the original monica and bill clinton affair. mainstream journalism is intertwined. >> i believe the "national enquirer" is a journalistic enterprise. is it a credible one is the bigger question. >> pecker's vision of merging tabloid and mainstream reporting was put to the test in october of 2007 when the series on former senator and one-time presidential front runner john edwards. >> whatever you think of the "national enquirer," there are hungry tabloid reporters who work there and who are trying to do real stories or, you know, dig up dirt on personalities.
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>> the tabloid alleged that edward was having an affair while his wife battled cancer with a blaring headline, presidential cheating scandal. the story was vintage "national enquirer." >> it wasn't that john edwards was a democrat. it was they had a really, sexy, dirty story about a presidential candidate. and that was the sort of thing americans were going to read about. >> mainstream media largely ignored the reporting. and on the campaign trail, edwards denied the affair. >> the story is false. it is completely untrue. it is ridiculous. >> the subject of those rumors says she first met edwards in 2006, then working as a life coach. he says edward hired her to shoot a behind the scenes video for the campaign. >> i worked for john and fell in love with john. and then i stopped working for john, but our relationship continued. >> despite the lack of mainstream interest, the enquirer continued to pursue the
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edwards story, digging into his relationship with hunter. >> i mean, the "national enquirer" is in the shaming business. they very much want to expose what you don't want exposed. and they do it in a very disruptive way. >> the "national enquirer" will stay hidden. like you will see a van, you know, far away with their window cracked open. and you're like, oh, my god, that could be the enquirer. and it turns out, oh, it is. they were relentless. they were the ones that never went away. >> running as a distant third in the democratic race behind hillary clinton and barack obama, edwards dropped out. in january 2008. >> it is time for me to step aside so that history can -- so that history can blaze its path. >> but the tabloid kept reporting on the story, tracking hunter throughout her pregnancy and even after she gave birth to edwards daughter. >> they absolutely felt like i was in danger, our lives or my
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daughter was in danger. it was that feeling. it was a heightened sense of terror. it's really hard when you have a small child. i mean, that's -- you know, that's the hardest, because you want to keep her safe. you want to keep your kids safe. >> the even quiner published this photograph in august 2008, describing him as edwards with love child. the tabloids called it a spy photo. but hunter says she took the picture of edwards holding their daughter. >> i don't know if they came into the room. i don't know if they had some sort of technology that got it off of my computer. and i don't know if it was stolen from someone in my family or a friend and they purchased it from them. >> finally, ten months after the enquirer's initial expose, mainstream media picked up the story. >> now to fallout from that announcement from former presidential candidate john edwards. >> edward admitted to a liaison with another woman.
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he gave an interview to abc's night line. >> first of all, it was short. it was a huge judgment -- mistake in judgment. but, yeah, i didn't think anyone would ever know about it. >> a lot of people are saying at that time because of the role it played, the enquirer should be nominated for a pulitzer. there was serious talk about it. >> they nominated themselves. >> they were considered but never a finalist. it was certainly a surprising moment and a really high watermark for them. that was sort of the crowning glory of the "national enquirer"'s recent history. when you talk to people who were around that story at the time, it was definitely true. there was nothing false they reported. they used methods that would be frowned upon at a more mainstream or quote, unquote, respectable publication. coming up, in an exclusive interview, a former trump world
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tower doorman with a salacious story about president trump said the "national enquirer" paid him to be quiet. >> i didn't know about that. between trump and the "national enquirer". i was surprised when the story went away. s surprised when the y went away. -guys, i want you to meet someone. this is jamie. you're going to be seeing a lot more of him now. -i'm not calling him "dad." -oh, n-no. -look, [sighs] i get it. some new guy comes in helping your mom bundle and save with progressive, but hey, we're all in this together. right, champ? -i'm getting more nuggets. -how about some carrots? you don't want to ruin your dinner. -you're not my dad! -that's fair. overstepped.
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our country needs a truly great leader. and we need a truly great leader now. >> in june 2015, donald trump announced the start of his presidential campaign. two months later, the candidate, his long-time fixer, michael cohen and ami chief executive david pecker sent in motion a plan to benefit trump's campaign. but the "national enquirer" shaping coverage to put trump in the best possible light.
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>> it was one of the ways that the trump campaign was able to gain a lot of attention and do some of its messaging outside of the traditional sort of media realm. my reporting indicated that michael cohen was a really important contact for the enquirer. if they had a story about donald trump they would call in. he would give them stories about donald trump. there were cases when the presidential campaign really got going that the enquirer was sharing almost all of the coverage that it was doing on donald trump or his opponents with michael cohen prior to publication. >> you could track these covers. and seeing how the enquirer really became kind of like a promotional arm for the trump campaign. >> at the time, ami publically denied that politics influenced editorial decisions during the campaign. but tactics like catch and kill indicated otherwise.
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almost a year before it helped kill karen mcdougal story, ami squelched another story. that thet threatened to embarrass him. in another interview, a former trump tower doorman said ami paid him $30,000 to sign over the rights to a store he heard about donald trump. concerning a salation rumor about his relationship with a former housekeeper. >> i noticed donald trump come to the building. him and her were very friendly. she had an argument with the coworker. who says i will call mr. trump when you have an argument with somebody? unless you have some stroke. and apparently, she did. >> he says after he made repeated complaints to superior's about the housekeeper's treatment of other staff, he was asked to resign from his job. but after he left, he says he could no longer find work as a
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doorman. >> weeks, months. turns out almost a year i couldn't find a job. >> fearing he had been blacklisted, he contacted a reporter at the "national enquirer", thinking the tabloid might be interested in buying his story about trump east alleged affair. >> he says, you get to like $30,000 and you will be referred to as an ex-trump employee. i says great. do that. i had nowhere else to go. i sold the story. it had nothing to do with politics at all. >> as a precondition of payment, ami asked him to sign over the rights to his story in perpetuity. the contract also stipulated that he would be subject to a million dollar lawsuit if he spoke about the rumor. >> i get phone calls on a regular basis that i could never speak about that story at all to anybody. >> according to his lawyer, ami released his client from the agreement after he retained
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counsel, allowing him to speak openly. by then his story had leaked to the press. in an april 2018 article in the new yorker, multiple sources at ami said the enquirer bought the story as a favor to donald trump. ami issued a statement denying the claim. >> i did it to save my family. but i thought the story would have gotten out there. i didn't think it would be covered up. >> along with silencing negative stories, the "national enquirer" used their platform to knock down trump's opponents. >> donald trump weaponized the "national enquirer" in a way that had not been done. >> during the gop primaries, the enquirer ran a succession of false hit pieces on trump's rivals. a former political aid to the trump campaign. >> when dr. ben carson was a problem for donald trump, the "national enquirer" attacks ben carson. when marco rubio was going to be
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a problem for donald trump, marco rubio was attacked. and they are attacked in ways that really hit a gut punch. >> this cover story about ted cruz implied that his father was involved in john f. kennedy's assassination. an allegation trump brought up during a press conference. >> all i did is point out the fact that on the cover of the "national enquirer" there is a picture of him and crazy lee harvey oswald having breakfast. >> the enquirer appeared to save its heaviest ammunition for democrat hillary clinton. during the presidential campaign, the tabloid and its sister publication, the globe, ran 18 cover stories on clinton, making an avalanche of wild claims. everything from six months to live to hillary hitman tells all. a former communications adviser to the clinton campaign.
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>> there was no way this thing was going to be a clean fight. and it proved to be every bit as disgusting as everyone expected. >> there was a cover is that that begins to grind away at you and can bring you to a place where you might have more doubts than you thought you would have if you had pulled back the curtain and gone to the voting booth. >> after donald trump was president, it seemed like his relationship with david pecker
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even after the election of donald trump, the national enquirer remained, at best, an uncritical defender. >> i think the game plan was for the national enquirer to serve as an unofficial propaganda outlet for president trump. whether that is going after critics, whether that is reinforcing the notion that there is sort of a deep state out to get president trump. >> the pro trump philosophy was embodied in a story alleged barack obama and hillary clinton combined efforts to get the fbi to spy onto the maverick
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republican. >> one of my favorites is hillary and president obama wiring the trump penthouse. you could envision them with suction cups, you know, scaling trump tower to break in and literally wire the place by themselves. >> ami also appeared to be helping trump ally, saudi arabia. the publication of the new kingdom, its fawning tribute to the crown price raised questions how ami obtained financing. >> their attorney recently said in an interview they had sought investment from saudi arabia but weren't able to secure it. he's saying they don't have direct investment from saudi arabia but there's certainly people wondering if there's some type of indirect investment. >> the legal issue would be if ami produced this magazine in tandem with the saudi government, they've become a
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foreign agent, then they're breaking the law because you need to register if you become a foreign agent. >> ami denies they oversaw production or paid for it. after a recording surfaced of then trump lawyer, michael cohen and the future president purportedly discussing the enquirer's efforts to catch and kill the story about trump's alleged affair with karen mcdougal. because the payments occurred during the 2016 campaign and could have influenced the election, david pecker and ami faced exposure for potential campaign finance violations. >> the enquirer finds itself in real legal jeopardy and why they made a decision to cooperate with the prosecutor. there's nobody more valuable than somebody like david pick kerr, who knows donald trump's secrets. >> even after making its deal with the government, the
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enquirer still seem aligned with the president and it went after jeff bezos. >> i believe david pecker was blinded by his admiration for donald trump. look what i have for you now, mr. president. >> the intimate photos and texts exchanged between bezos and lauren sanchez were reportedly leaked by her brother for a cost of $200,000. >> san sxhez' brother, michael, named as the leaker in multiple reports, is now speaking out. >> in an explosive new article in "vanity fair," sanchez denies releasing racy below the belt selfies to the enquirer. >> he has long standing ties to the people within the trump orbit, specifically roger zone, a master of dark arts in trump landia. >> the investigator hired jeff
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bezos as another angle saying the billionaire'sfein was hacked into by saudi intelligence. but ami said michael was the sole source of the material used in the story. >> in a bigger picture, jeff bezos blog revealing the allegiances seemed to give the multi-billion air the upper hand over techer. if knowledge is power he took the knowledge away from them by coming out publicly and saying, you know what, i am having an affair and furthermore, i am being ex-sorted by david pecker and his organizations. what's behind all of this. >> ami declined to comment for this report but said in a statement at the time it believes fervently it acted lawfully in the reporting of the story of mr. bezos. forrielle hunter now raising the child she had with one time presidential hopeful john
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edwards, bezos story was empowering. >> what an ingenious move, owning his own without shame and exposing their tactics. it shifts everything for everyone. jeff bezos is my hero for doing that. he absolutely is my hero. >> when asked about the controversy, a white house spokesman responded as if the mere mention of the enquirer was below the dignity of the president. >> we're not going to get into a conversation between jeff bezos and a tabloid magazine. >> after fervently supporting donald trump, will the president's old ally, national enquirer be ultimately responsible for harming his legacy. inquiring minds want to know. >> we don't know yet if there were other women, other stories made to disappear by ami. were they doing that knowingly and helping trump to keep information from the voting public? >> if he was directly involved
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in payments to silence his accusers, we will look back at the history of the trump presidency and see the national enquirer as inadvertently one of the most influential media companies in the history of the united states of america. e united states of america xxxx we tried to solve this murder. we were going to set a trap for three people and i wasn't sure if it was going to work or not. it had to be perfect. >> he was a family man who didn't seem to have an enemy in the world. right up until the night he was murdered. >> there was evidence of a violent struggle between jack and his killer. >> someone was keeping secrets and police thought

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