National Enquirer colluded with Trump campaign to silence mistress

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AMI's admission could bolster any case prosecutors make against Trump for violating campaign finance law, in that the publisher is acknowledging that the payments were made to hide embarrassing information from voters.

News also said AMI admitted to helping facilitate a hush payment to one of the women who claimed she had an affair with Trump ahead of the election, former Playboy model Karen McDougal.

The parent company of magazines including the National Enquirer, Us Weekly and In Touch has admitted to engaging in a journalistically dubious practice known as "catch-and-kill" in order to help Trump become president.

Faced with possible criminal charges, his former ally is cooperating with federal prosecutors examining payments made to suppress negative stories about Trump.

According to prosecutors, AMI admitted that its $150,000 payment in August 2016 to Karen McDougal, a former Playboy model who said she'd had a 10-month affair with Trump, had been made in coordination with the Trump campaign and was meant to suppress allegations about the candidate.

The White House didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

Trump has denied that the affair took place.

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Federal prosecutors allege that Cohen violated campaign finance laws by paying off women who allege to have had affairs with Donald Trump acting "in coordination with and at the direction of" the then-candidate.

Returning to Washington on Air Force One, Trump on April 6 for the first time answered questions about the reports of $130,000 in hush money paid to porn star Stormy Daniels, issuing a blanket denial to reporters while saying they would "have to ask Michael Cohen".

AMI also copped to making the payment in order to "suppress" McDougal's story for the specific objective of influencing the election.

Nonetheless, Trump's changing explanations have clouded the public understanding of what occurred and are running head-on into facts agreed to by prosecutors, AMI and Cohen, who pleaded guilty to campaign finance violations and other crimes and was sentenced on Wednesday.

"He was a lawyer and he is supposed to know the law", Trump said.

News reported Thursday that Trump was present when his lawyer Michael Cohen and National Enquirer publisher David Pecker "discussed ways Pecker could help counter negative stories about Trump's relationships with women".

For two decades, Donald Trump could count on the backing of his close friend David Pecker, publisher of the tabloid the National Enquirer.

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