Shocking News in ‘Hush Money’ Case

( – A former tabloid publisher has made new shocking allegations involving Donald Trump in the so-called “hush money” trial, claiming that Trump discussed a “catch-and-kill” tactic to suppress potentially detrimental news stories with the then FBI director.

David Pecker, former publisher of the National Enquirer, continued his testimony on Thursday insisting that Trump tried to cover up information about his alleged extramarital affairs prior to his presidency.

Pecker introduced new testimony suggesting that former FBI Director James Comey was possibly aware of these activities before Trump assumed office, National Review reports.

In a Manhattan courtroom, the prosecution emphasized Pecker’s collaboration with Trump and his former attorney, Michael Cohen, during 2016.

They worked together to secure a story from Karen McDougal, a former Playboy model, which detailed her alleged affair with Trump, according to multiple sources.

A few hours into his testimony, Pecker vividly described a meeting that included then-President-elect Trump, Comey, future Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, future White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, and future White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer.

This meeting occurred in Pecker’s office at Trump Tower, where Trump acknowledged Pecker’s role in squelching potentially damaging press stories during the campaign.

Trump specifically thanked Pecker for managing the McDougal situation, to which Pecker interpreted Trump’s gratitude as appreciation for purchasing and withholding the stories, thereby aiding his presidential campaign.

“I felt that he was thanking me for buying them, and for not publishing any of the stories. And for helping the way I did,” Pecker declared.

The reaction of Comey to these discussions remains uncertain, as well as any actions he might have taken with the information.

Trump later dismissed Comey, who was an appointee from the Obama era, in the early days of his presidency after Comey decided against prosecuting Hillary Clinton for using a personal email server for official communications during her tenure as Secretary of State under Obama.

Comey became a contentious figure after refusing to disclose details regarding the FBI’s investigation into unsupported allegations of collusion between Trump’s campaign and Russia.

His estrangement from Trump eventually made him a celebrated figure among Democrats, who had previously criticized his pre-election announcement regarding the FBI’s investigation into Clinton.

In July 2017, Trump invited Pecker to the White House for a dinner to express his gratitude, inquiring about McDougal’s status during the meeting, Pecker recounted.

Tensions flared again in March 2018 when Trump, upset after a media interview with McDougal, contacted Pecker.

This frustration was due to an amendment in the agreement with McDougal that allowed her more freedom to engage with the media, according to Pecker.

Pecker also recalled discussions with former White House officials Hope Hicks and Sarah Huckabee Sanders.

Both concurred that the National Enquirer’s parent company, American Media Inc., should prolong its agreement with McDougal, aiming to prevent her from making negative statements about Trump or the company.

In his testimony, Pecker also revisited the investigative efforts of 2016 by Dylan Howard, then editor-in-chief at the National Enquirer, regarding McDougal’s allegations of a romantic affair with Trump.

Initially skeptical, Cohen and Pecker ultimately felt the allegations warranted further investigation, although Howard noted the absence of corroborating evidence. Despite McDougal’s reluctance to publicize her story, Cohen encouraged its purchase to keep it out of the public domain.

“I think you should buy the story and take it off the market,” Pecker claimed to have told Trump.

“I believed the story was true,” he added.

Pecker was under the impression that Trump would reimburse the $150,000 payment to McDougal for her story, despite believing Cohen lacked the authority to manage Trump’s financial dealings.

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