American Carnage: On the Front Lines of the Republican Civil War and the Rise of President Trump by Tim Alberta:
In August 2015, two months after Trump announced his bid for the presidency, they came to an understanding. In a meeting first reported by the Wall Street Journal, Pecker offered to protect Trump from women who came forward alleging sexual escapades. He would use AMI and its biggest brand, the National Enquirer, to "catch and kill" on behalf of the candidate: purchasing testimonies that could be damaging to Trump, having the women sign exclusivity and nondisclosure agreements, and then burying the stories for good. Trump loved the idea, and instructed Michael Cohen, his lawyer and fixer, to work in concert with Pecker.
The arrangement would prove extraordinarily beneficial--at least, in the short run. Over the ensuing year, Pecker and Cohen defused to bombshells that might have blown up Trump's campaign. The first deal was with a former Playboy model, Karen McDougal, who approached AMI with details of her extramarital romance with Trump. Pecker bought the rights to her story for $150,000. Cohen, meanwhile, brokered an agreement with adult-film star Stormy Daniels, paying $130,000 in hush money to conceal her past sexual relationship with Trump.
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