Michael Cohen claims Trump personally approved every Enquirer story attacking 2016 opponents

President Trump’s former attorney, Michael Cohen, appeared on The Rachel Maddow Show Tuesday night and claimed that the president was personally involved in fabricating National Enquirer stories about his 2016 primary opponents, the most famous of which was th Ted Cruz’s father was linked to the JFK assassination. Marco Rubio was also a constant target, with stories about a “love child” and a drug habit. According to Cohen, it’s no coincidence that Cruz and Rubio gots do much unflattering coverage in the tabloid.

“As each candidate was moving up, let’s say Marco Rubio, David Pecker [former CEO of Enquirer parent company American Media] would reach out to me and he would give me a list of things that he was intending to do in order to squash Ted Cruz’s or Marco Rubio’s rise,” Cohen said. “Whoever was rising in the poll, that’s who became the person that we needed to knock out of the race. With Marco Rubio, you may remember, there were photos of him in a swimming pool, that he had a drug problem, and all sorts of other — we’ll call them salacious rumors.”

Throughout the election process, the Enquirer reportedly did plenty to help Trump. Ronan Farrow claimed last year that the publication buried around 60 damaging stories about the president in the lead-up to the 2016 election. Pecker admitted to paying an ex-Playboy model $150,000 to keep an alleged affair with Trump quiet. And, according to Cohen, Trump’s cozy relationship with the tabloid included personally taking part in producing fake news stories about his opponents.

“They would be provided to me by David Pecker,” Cohen said, “I would immediately take them into Mr. Trump’s office, we would sit down, we would talk about it, he would approve it, and then I would contact David. Next thing you know, two days later on the front cover, Marco Rubio has a drug problem.”

“That is a remarkable campaign contribution to the Donald Trump for president campaign,” Maddow responded. “At least, legally, you think that that might have been seen that way.”

The Rachel Maddow Show airs weeknights at 9 p.m. on MSNBC.

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