Jeff Bezos 'blackmail' claim puts focus on National Enquirer links to Trump - Politics Forum.org | PoFo

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The Guardian wrote:Jeff Bezos 'blackmail' claim puts focus on National Enquirer links to Trump
The Amazon CEO has accused the tabloid of threatening to publish nude images of him to stop him investigating acquisition of intimate text messages

A sprawling international scandal involving Jeff Bezos – the owner of Amazon and world’s richest man – and allegations of “extortion and blackmail” by a tabloid publisher threatened on Friday to also engulf Donald Trump as several key questions went unanswered.

Bezos alleges that David Pecker, the owner of the National Enquirer and a longtime friend of the US president, warned him he would publish revealing intimate photos of him unless he stopped investigating how the tabloid obtained text messages exposing his extramarital affair.

Pecker is the chief executive of American Media Inc (AMI), which said on Friday that it “acted lawfully” in its reporting on Bezos and that it would “thoroughly investigate” his claims of blackmail and take “whatever appropriate action is necessary”.

But Pecker is also close to Trump, and AMI has admitted in the past that it engaged in a practice known as “catch-and-kill” – suppressing potentially damaging stories – to help Trump become president. Trump has also waged a running war of words against Bezos, owner of the Washington Post, which he frequently denounces as part of the “fake news media”.

The White House remained silent on the matter but two more threads raised questions about a potential association. In a TV interview, a Post reporter claimed that Bezos’s camp believes the National Enquirer’s conduct might have been politically motivated and that a “government entity” might have got hold of his text messages, though which government might be involved was not indicated.

Bezos himself, laying out his allegations in an extraordinary 2,000-word blogpost, noted that Pecker and AMI have been “investigated for various actions they’ve taken on behalf of the Saudi Government”. He added that “for reasons still to be better understood, the Saudi angle seems to hit a particularly sensitive nerve”.

It was not immediately clear why Bezos made the Saudi connection, but political commentators were quick to recall that Jamal Khashoggi, a Washington Post columnist and critic of the Saudi government, was murdered at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, focusing often critical attention on Trump’s cosy relationship with the kingdom.

PEN America, which promotes freedom of expression, condemned AMI’s actions and Trump’s possible links. Suzanne Nossel, its chief executive, said: “Coming against the backdrop of credible reports of past coordination between President Donald Trump and National Enquirer publisher David Pecker, these revelations assume a truly sinister cast.

“If indeed AMI’s threats and acts of intimidation toward the press were coordinated with the president or done at his request, it would represent a perilous escalation of the president’s war on the first amendment and the role of a free press. Congress should act immediately to investigate these serious allegations.”

The intrigue, which has shaken the worlds of New York media and Washington politics, began on 9 January when Bezos announced on Twitter that he was getting divorced from his wife of 25 years, novelist MacKenzie Bezos.

A day later, the National Enquirer published a story about the billionaire Amazon chief executive’s relationship with Lauren Sanchez, a former TV anchor who is also married. It reported that Bezos sent “sleazy text messages and gushing love notes” to Sanchez. He wrote: “I am crazy about you. All of you.”

Trump did not miss the chance to gloat over his perceived adversary and praise the Enquirer. He tweeted: “So sorry to hear the news about Jeff Bozo being taken down by a competitor whose reporting, I understand, is far more accurate than the reporting in his lobbyist newspaper, the Amazon Washington Post. Hopefully the paper will soon be placed in better & more responsible hands!”

Bezos, meanwhile, hired a team of private investigators to find out how the tabloid acquired the texts and photos. Bezos writes in his blogpost on Medium that he learned Pecker was “apoplectic” about the investigation. AMI later approached Bezos’s representatives with an offer. “They said they had more of my text messages and photos that they would publish if we didn’t stop our investigation,” he wrote.

Bezos also wrote that this week, the tabloid’s editor, Dylan Howard, emailed a lawyer for Bezos’s longtime security consultant to describe photos including a “below-the-belt selfie” of Bezos and him in tight boxer shorts and wearing only a towel, as well as several revealing photos of Sanchez.

According to the emails released by Bezos, AMI offered a formal deal: the tabloid would agree to not publish the photos if Bezos and his investigators would release a public statement “affirming that they have no knowledge or basis” to suggest the Enquirer’s coverage was “politically motivated or influenced by political forces”.

But in a move that has earned widespread public praise, Bezos said he decided to publish the emails sent to his team “rather than capitulate to extortion and blackmail”, despite the “personal cost and embarrassment they threaten”.

Bezos blackmail claims add new twist to tale of Trump, Russia and the media
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“Of course I don’t want personal photos published, but I also won’t participate in their well-known practice of blackmail, political favors, political attacks, and corruption. I prefer to stand up, roll this log over, and see what crawls out.”

Other journalists appeared to back Bezos’s allegations about AMI tactics. Ronan Farrow, an investigative reporter at HBO and the New Yorker, tweeted: “I and at least one other prominent journalist involved in breaking stories about the National Enquirer’s arrangement with Trump fielded similar ‘stop digging or we’ll ruin you’ blackmail efforts from AMI.”

Pecker and AMI have a storied relationship with Trump, though it was said to have cooled in recent months. The company recently admitted secretly aiding Trump’s election campaign by paying $150,000 to a Playboy model for the rights to her story about an alleged affair with the then candidate. AMI then suppressed the story until after the 2016 election.

The justice department agreed last September to a non-prosecution agreement with AMI, which requires the company and some top executives, including Pecker and Howard, to cooperate with authorities.

But in the wake of the new revelations the Associated Press has reported that federal investigators are now looking at whether the recent revelations mean AMI has violated that agreement. The agreement requires AMI commit no crimes for three years.
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Beren wrote:Just try to make a random list of Trump's longtime friends


Does he actually have any?

I genuinely doubt Trump's emotional capacity to form friendships. He's an idiot who has been snorting crushed up Adderal pills for the last several decades. Who the fuck would want to be his friend?

I'm more interested in why, what fucking possible reason, the owner of a gossip rag would want to defend and help Trump. It's not because they're friends and it's not because the guy sitting on a mountain of weapons grade blackmail owes Trump or because Trump has leverage on him.

Why? Why are they holding back? Given Trump's political and business acumen it can't possibly be because Trump can pay them more than the blackmail is worth on the market.
#14987206
I know it is somewhat besides the point of this thread but is gives me immense pleasure to know that Mr Bezos had no idea how much it was going to cost him when he plunged his plunger into another man's wife. I sure hope it was worth it !
:lol: :lol:

By the way, I also wanted to sell books on the internet but Bezos had the same idea and pre-empted me.
There is no justice in this world :roll:
#14987237
This could be the biggest scandal of all. If the justice department charges Pecker the wheels could well come off for Trump. Especially given that all of this follows Trump's call for prosecution of Bezos.

Trump has met his match in a guy who doesn't give a fuck and is willing to spend money to get revenge. Even after the divorce Bezos could buy Trump and the Enquirer and give them to charity if he wanted to. What do you think the New York attorney general's office will do with Trump investigations when they learn that Amazon is moving their 1000 employees out of state. Or that Bezos decided that he could spend a billion on the 2020 elections and not miss a penny of it. Even after the divorce he will be worth about 70 billion and control a hell of a lot more. Raising a billion is maybe a little inconvenient for him though he could do it, but raising 50 million to spend in New York in 2020 he could roll off on his American Express card. His annual compensation is 1.6 billion all in.
#14987401
Drlee wrote:This could be the biggest scandal of all.


I couldn't make up a more interesting plot twist than this. Given Donald and Bezo's mutual hatred and that Trump's man Pecker seems to have way over estimated his hand this could really go somewhere. Trump has spend a lifetime insulting, robbing and generally shitting on many many people. It really gives me pleasure to see Comrade Donald reaping what he has sowed. Yes Bezos is a twenty first century robber baron who has turned his "distribution centers" into modern day sweat shops that grind people up and spit them out but...…………… God Bless America :lol: .
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