When this all started, it was entirely feasible to foresee Special Counsel Robert Mueller ultimately taking down Donald Trump, several of his advisers, and even some members of his family. But unless you have ESP, you probably couldn’t have seen this coming: Mueller is now busting the National Enquirer over the financial role it allegedly played in helping Donald Trump win the election.
You know that FBI raid this week of the office and residence of Donald Trump’s attorney Michael Cohen? The one that wasn’t technically ordered by Robert Mueller, but was definitely ordered by Robert Mueller? It turns out that was about a whole lot more than just the role that Cohen played in the Stormy Daniels payoff. The National Enquirer, which is owned by Trump’s friend David Pecker, was buying the exclusive rights to negative stories about Trump and then refusing to run them – and that was part of the raid as well.
It’s not a violation of federal law for a private citizen to pay someone to keep quiet about something like an affair. But it is a violation of federal law if you do this while you’re a candidate for office. This week’s raid was partly aimed at determining whether Donald Trump and/or Cohen and/or the Trump campaign conspired with the National Enquirer to kill off the story of Trump’s alleged affair with Karen McDougal and the story of Trump’s alleged love child with his housekeeper.
This can go a few different ways. If the evidence reveals that the National Enquirer didn’t violate any laws, then it’ll be free to continue publishing the trash it publishes. But if the evidence ends up connecting the National Enquirer to illegal payouts by the Trump campaign during the election, we could hypothetically be looking at anything from National Enquirer employees testifying against Pecker, to Pecker testifying against Trump and/or Cohen, to the possibility that the National Enquirer could end up going away entirely.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report