"Sam Nunberg and Michael Cohen recalled David Pecker meeting with Trump in 2015 in Trump Tower, where they talked about what the Enquirer/Epstein may have had on Prince Andrew and President Clinton," writes Emily Jane Fox.
In the months before he ran for president, she reports, Trump was in conversation with National Enquirer tabloid owner David Pecker about Jeffrey Epstein, a Trump acquaintance for many years — and how a growing scandal over Epstein's sexual abuse could affect Bill and Hillary Clinton.
"Trump said that Pecker had told him that the pictures of Clinton that Epstein had from his island were worse," recalls a former Trump Organization employee.
From Emily Jane Fox's piece for Vanity Fair, out one day after Epstein told a federal court he was not guilty on sex trafficking charges:
Trump's lawyer, Michael Cohen, who would later go to prison in part for his role in these hush money schemes, was in the room when Pecker sat down. Pecker, he later told me, used to send him articles and issues before they were published so that he and Trump could read them. After the meeting Trump called in Sam Nunberg, then a Trump Organization employee, who saw Pecker leaving Trump's office. "Michael was sitting in there when I came in, and the issue of the National Enquirer with the pictures of Prince Andrew was on his desk," Nunberg recalled. "He said not to tell anyone, but that Pecker had just been there and had brought the issue with him. Trump said that Pecker had told him that the pictures of Clinton that Epstein had from his island were worse." (Cohen, speaking by phone from the Federal Correctional Institution in Otisville, corroborated Nunberg's version of the events, though he declined to add any additional information about the meeting.)
During the meeting with Pecker, Trump went on about how Epstein was known for this behavior, according to a person familiar with the conversation. Trump, after all, used to be friendly with Epstein, and had at least an inkling about his sexual predilections. In a 2002 interview with New York magazine, Trump called Epstein a "terrific guy" who was "a lot of fun to be with." He added: "It is even said that he likes beautiful women as much as I do, and many of them are on the younger side." (The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.)
Trump isn't known to have gone on any trips with Epstein, which would have been out of character. "I don't think Trump would go to someone else's property or someone else's island or villa," Nunberg said. "He doesn't even play golf at anyone else's clubs." But Trump did host Epstein as a guest at Mar-a-Lago, where he appears in photos in 1997 and 2000. Epstein's personal little black book, which was leaked by an employee in 2009, contained 14 phone numbers for Trump, his wife, Melania, and several people who worked for him.
Speaking to reporters on Tuesday, President Trump dismissed his past appearances with Epstein, describing him as a "fixture in Palm Beach" in those years. "I had a falling out with him a long time ago," he added, though he declined to elaborate. "I don't think I've spoken to him for 15 years."
Other individuals who had found themselves in Epstein's orbit over the years, from Clinton to Prince Andrew, have been similarly eager to distance themselves from the scandal. ("President Clinton knows nothing about the terrible crimes Jeffrey Epstein pleaded guilty to in Florida some years ago, or those with which he has been recently charged in New York," a spokesperson said in a statement.) In the meantime journalists following the Epstein case are eagerly awaiting other documents that could shed light on Epstein's powerful friends, including Trump and famed attorney Alan Dershowitz. (Giuffre, who is suing Dershowitz for defamation, claims she had sex with him as part of Epstein's sex trafficking operation—a claim Dershowitz vehemently denies.) A federal prosecutor said in court that officials did not expect any "imminent" additional charges, but added that more are "possible down the road."
Democrats may soon have an opportunity to question Pecker about his relationship with Trump. Later this week the House Judiciary Committee will vote to authorize a subpoena for Pecker, among people involved in the Mueller report, as they investigate possible obstruction of justice.
Read the rest:
"HE SAID NOT TO TELL ANYONE": HOW TRUMP KEPT TABS ON JEFFREY EPSTEIN [vanityfair.com]
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