- Associated Press - Thursday, August 23, 2018

WASHINGTON (AP) - The Latest on the National Enquirer’s cozy relationship with Donald Trump (all times local):

6:30 p.m.

The Associated Press has learned the National Enquirer kept a safe for documents on hush money payments and other damaging stories it killed amid its cozy relationship with Donald Trump before the 2016 presidential election.

The detail came from people familiar with the arrangement as media outlets reported Thursday federal prosecutors had granted immunity to Enquirer chief David Pecker, potentially laying bare his efforts to protect his longtime friend Trump.

Trump’s ex-lawyer Michael Cohen has pleaded guilty to campaign finance violations alleging he, Trump and the tabloid were involved in buying the silence of a porn actress and a Playboy model who alleged affairs with Trump.

Trump’s account of his knowledge of the payments has shifted.

Enquirer parent company American Media hasn’t commented. It previously rebuffed any suggestion it had leverage over Trump because of its practices.


2:50 p.m.

Media outlets are reporting that federal prosecutors have granted immunity to the executive in charge of the National Enquirer amid an investigation into hush-money payments made on behalf of President Donald Trump.

Vanity Fair and The Wall Street Journal, citing anonymous sources, on Thursday were first to report the development involving David Pecker, CEO of the tabloid’s publisher, American Media Inc., and a longtime friend of the president.

Court papers connected to ex-Trump lawyer Michael Cohen’s guilty plea Tuesday say Pecker offered to help Trump squash negative stories during the 2016 campaign.

The Journal said Pecker shared details with prosecutors about payments Cohen says Trump directed to buy the silence of two women alleging affairs with him.

Trump’s account has shifted. He said recently he knew about payments “later on.”

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