National Enquirer's source for Bezos story believed Trump knew and supported the effort: report
On Sunday, The Daily Beast reported that the National Enquirer's likely source for the steamy text messages between Amazon founder Jeff Bezos and his mistress Lauren Sanchez was the mistress' brother, Michael Sanchez.
But the saga could be deeper than that. It turns out that Sanchez believed that the Enquirer, and its parent company AMI, were acting with the blessing of President Donald Trump, who allegedly wanted revenge on Bezos for negative coverage about him in the Washington Post:
Documents reviewed by The Daily Beast show that Michael Sanchez believed the Enquirer pursued its story about Bezos with "President Trump's knowledge and appreciation" — a chase encouraged, in Sanchez's estimation, by Republican operatives "who THINK Jeff gets up every morning and has a WaPo meeting to plot its next diabolical attack on President Trump."
Bezos, the richest man in the world, purchased the Post in 2013. However, there is no evidence he plays any role in the paper's editorial direction, and the Post has actually run a number of articles critical of Amazon under his ownership without comment from him.
AMI and its owner, David Pecker, are facing backlash after Bezos revealed that the company tried to blackmail him with nude photos after he launched an investigation into how they acquired text messages from his affair.
Pecker, a friend of Trump's, was granted immunity last fall as part of an investigation by the Southern District of New York attorney's office into Trump's hush payments to women prior to the 2016 presidential election, one of which — to cover up Trump's encounter with Playboy Playmate Karen MacDougal — was brokered by AMI. If it turns out that AMI broke the law by blackmailing Bezos, which could constitute criminal extortion, this would violate the terms of their immunity agreement, meaning SDNY prosecutors could pursue charges against the company.
Moreover, there may be yet another side to Trump's alleged involvement. The president has reportedly "rewarded" Pecker by putting him in touch with people connected to the Saudi royal family, at roughly the same time that AMI was attempting to secure funding from the Saudis to acquire Time Magazine and ran a special edition that lavished praise on Saudi Arabia and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
If it transpired that Trump tried to hook up his publisher friend with funding from a despotic foreign regime in return for helping to discredit a businessman at the center of a personal vendetta, then the Russia collusion allegations could be just the tip of the iceberg for the president's wrongdoing. Sanchez's belief that Trump gave his imprimatur to AMI's actions does little to help him.