On Thursday, The Wall Street Journal reported that David Pecker, CEO of the National Enquirer, had been granted immunity by federal investigators in return for testimony regarding Michael Cohen’s payments to silence the stories of Trump paramours Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal. According to the Journal:
In exchange for immunity, Mr. Pecker, CEO of American Media, Inc., has met with prosecutors and shared details about payments Mr. Cohen arranged in an effort to silence two women who alleged sexual encounters with Mr. Trump, including Mr. Trump’s knowledge of the deals, some of the people said. Prosecutors have indicated that Mr. Pecker won’t be criminally charged for his participation in the deals, the people said.
Apparently, the charging documents in Cohen’s case were aided by information provided by Pecker. Cohen contends that Trump told him to violate campaign finance law; Pecker could help attest to the communications that occurred between Trump, Cohen, and Pecker regarding use of the National Enquirer to buy the rights of and then bury the stories of Daniels and McDougal.
This is bad news for Trump — if Pecker has information to provide. Right now, the crux of the case against Trump is twofold: that he knew he was violating campaign finance law through use of the National Enquirer; and that he didn’t pay women off for their silence regularly, but only with reference to the election. Pecker could have information on both those matters.
If he doesn’t, it would be quite difficult to prosecute the president for campaign finance violations even if he weren’t immune from federal prosecution due to his office. But the fact that Trump’s closest confidants, including his in-house fixer and the out-of-house fixing publication he most often used, will be a massive headache for Trump personally and his administration generally.