National Enquirer helped Trump in 2016, ex-boss says

 National Enquirer helps Trump, hurts rivals in 2016.
National Enquirer helps Trump, hurts rivals in 2016.

What happened

Former National Enquirer publisher David Pecker testified Tuesday that he agreed to use his tabloid to boost and shield former President Donald Trump during the 2016 presidential campaign and publish articles, often fabricated, to damage his rivals. Pecker is the government's first witness in Trump's Manhattan criminal trial over hush money tied to election fraud.

Who said what

At an August 2015 Trump Tower meeting with Trump and then-fixer Michael Cohen, "I said I would run positive stories about Trump and I would publish negative stories about his opponent," Pecker testified. "I said I would also be your eyes and ears" for damaging stories.

The commentary

Trump "famously calls journalists 'enemies of the people,'" but "it turns out the friendly 'journalists' of the scuzzy National Enquirer may have done as much as anyone to get him elected in 2016," Jonathan Alter said at The New York Times. Now, Pecker is "delivering devastating testimony against his old pal." Crucially for prosecutors, NPR said, "Pecker's testimony could corroborate Cohen's, which the defense is already seeking to discredit."

What next?

Pecker's testimony will resume Thursday.