Trump Named Third Person in Hush Payment Meeting With Enquirer, Cohen: Report

A report surfaced Thursday naming President Donald Trump "the third person in the room" when his lawyer, Michael Cohen, met with National Enquirer publisher David Pecker in August 2015 to discuss ways to counteract negative stories about Trump and his relationships with women.

American Media Inc., which owns the Enquirer, said, "Pecker offered to help deal with negative stories about that presidential candidate's relationships with women by, among other things, assisting the campaign in identifying such stories so they could be purchased and their publication avoided."

The cost? AMI said it made $150,000, according to a report by NBC News, which NBC said confirmed facts first reported by The Wall Street Journal last month.

Federal prosecutors released a nonprosecution agreement with a "statement of admitted facts" that implied the National Enquirer was "in concert with the campaign" and said "at least one other member of the campaign" was in the meeting with Pecker and Cohen.

Trump, as first reported by The Wall Street Journal, was the third person in the meeting.

NBC News analyst Daniel Goldman said the report didn't indicate Trump's actions in the meeting but insinuated the current president now sits in a circle of conspiracy.

"If Trump is now in the room, as early as August of 2015 and in combination with the recording where Trump clearly knows what Cohen is talking about regarding David Pecker, you now squarely place Trump in the middle of a conspiracy to commit campaign finance fraud."

The U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York, which investigated "hush payments" to former porn star Stormy Daniels and former Playboy model Karen McDougal, declined to comment on the case to NBC.

Trump's current lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, said any payments made were an attempt to save the Trump family from public humiliation rather than influence the 2016 election.

Cohen, sentenced to three years in prison this week, said any payment he arranged was "for the principal purpose of influencing" the election. The meeting with the National Enquirer publisher was to keep Trump's name in the clear so as not to hurt his election chances.

Trump Named Third Person in Hush Payment Meeting With Enquirer, Cohen: Report | U.S.