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David Pecker. Photo: Francois Durand/Getty Images

David Pecker is stepping down as CEO of American Media Inc., to adopt an advisory role in the parent company of the National Enquirer as it enters a merger, per a Friday release.

The big picture: Pecker, an influential tabloid media figure, has led the company since 1999 and helped orchestrate "catch and kill" deals between two women who claimed to have past affairs with President Trump, the New York Times reports. Trump has denied the affairs.

  • New York prosecutors investigated hush payments made by American Media as a potential violation of campaign finance laws, per the Times. Pecker was given a non-prosecution deal due to his cooperation.
  • The media titan was among dozens investigated by the House Judiciary Committee last year as part of a sweeping probe of the president and his inner circle.

Details: Chris Scardino, a veteran of the company, is taking over Pecker's position as American Media merges with Accelerate 360, a sibling company managed by the same hedge fund, per the Times.

Go deeper

Where the Trump campaign's money went

In a deeply reported article on "How Trump's Billion-Dollar Campaign Lost Its Cash Advantage," the N.Y. Times' Shane Goldmacher and Maggie Haberman found some unusual spending by the Trump campaign.

Why it matters: Money concerns are very real for President Trump's campaign — an unusual predicament for a sitting president, and one that worries veteran Republican operatives.

Updated 2 hours ago - World

HRW: Over 100 former Afghan security members dead or missing under Taliban rule

Members of the Taliban movement patrol Kabul's airport in September. Photo: Valery Sharifulin/TASS via Getty Images

The Taliban have "killed or forcibly disappeared" over 100 former members of Afghanistan's security forces since the group took power in August, a Human Rights Watch report published Tuesday found.

Why it matters: Former military members and officials from the ousted government, activists and other Taliban critics are facing peril amid executions driven by revenge — despite Taliban promises of an "amnesty" with no retributions, notes the New York Times, which first reported the news.

5 hours ago - World

Barbados becomes a republic, replacing U.K. queen with president

Combination images of Dame Sandra Mason, president of Barbados, and Britain's Prince Charles at her swearing-in ceremony in Bridgetown, Barbados, late Monday.

Barbados officially became a republic at midnight local time after Dame Sandra Mason was sworn in as the Caribbean nation's first president in a ceremony attended by the United Kingdom's Prince Charles.

Why it matters: Mason replaced Britain's Queen Elizabeth as head of state Tuesday — removing the country's final remaining colonial tie to the U.K. almost 400 years after the first British ships arrived in Barbados.