American Media Inc., the publisher of the National Enquirer, shredded secret documents related to President Trump that they kept in a vault, according to a new book by Ronan Farrow obtained by Politico.
The book alleges that AMI shredded “sensitive” Trump-related documents that had been kept in a secret safe just before the 2016 election. Dylan Howard, then the editor in chief of the tabloid, ordered a staffer to “get everything out of the safe” and said “we need to get a shredder down there” during the first week of November 2016, according to the book.
Howard’s order came on the same day that a reporter from the Wall Street Journal questioned the outlet about its plot to “catch and kill” the story of Karen McDougal, who alleged she had an affair with Trump.
Trump documents were kept in executive editor’s office:
“The staffer opened the safe, removed a set of documents, and tried to wrest it shut,” Farrow wrote. “Later, reporters would discuss the safe like it was the warehouse where they stored the Ark of the Covenant in Indiana Jones, but it was small and cheap and old.”
A staffer told Farrow that the trash disposal crew got a “larger than customary volume of refuse” that day.
The safe was kept for years in the office of longtime Enquirer executive editor Barry Levine.
AMI had a lot of dirt on Trump:
“That June, according to Farrow, Howard had put together a full list of Trump-related ‘dirt’ that was in AMI’s archives, some dating back decades. After Trump was elected, Trump fixer Michael Cohen asked for all of AMI’s materials about Trump,” Politico reported.
“There was an internal debate: some were starting to realize that surrendering it all would create a legally problematic paper trail, and resisted,” Farrow wrote. “Nevertheless, Howard and senior staff ordered the reporting material that wasn’t already in the small safe exhumed from storage bins in Florida and sent to AMI headquarters.”
The files were to be stored at a human resources office but apparently went missing.
“It was only later, when one of the employees who had been skeptical started getting jumpy and went to check, that they found something amiss: the list of Trump dirt didn’t match up with the physical files,” Farrow wrote. “Some of the material had gone missing.”
Howard told employees that none of the materials were destroyed but they were skeptical.
“We are always at the edge of what’s legally permissible,” one senior AMI employee told Farrow. “It’s very exciting.”