Feb 11, 2019

Report: National Enquirer publisher asked DOJ about filing as foreign agent

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Photo: Billal Bensalem/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Last year the National Enquirer’s parent company, American Media LLC, asked the Department of Justice whether it should register as a foreign agent after including editorial suggestions from an adviser to Saudi Arabia and publishing a promotional magazine about Saudi Arabia in honor of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman's visit to the United States, the WSJ reports.

Why it matters: Last week Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon and owner of The Washington Post, accused the National Enquirer of blackmailing him to end an investigation into the source of intimate texts that the Enquirer published. Bezos insinuated Saudi Arabia might be the source of the leak.

The details:

  • In publishing the pro-Saudi magazine, AMI was looking to curry favor with the Saudis for financial support to acquire Time magazine, Sports Illustrated, Fortune and Money, per the WSJ.
  • Elkan Abramowitz, AMI's attorney, claims the magazine was published “for journalistic reasons,” rather than to achieve Saudi financial backing.
  • The DOJ found the company was not a foreign agent, per a letter that doesn't name AMI or the National Enquirer by name.

Go deeper: Attorney for David Pecker denies National Enquirer blackmailed Bezos

Go deeper

Trump threatens to move Republican convention from North Carolina if capacity reduced

President Trump on stage during the 2016 Republican National Convention in Ohio. Photo: Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call via Getty Images

President Trump threatened in a series of Monday tweets to move this summer's Republican National Convention from Charlotte if North Carolina's Democratic governor, Roy Cooper, doesn't allow the event to be held at full capacity.

The state of play: Mandy Cohen, the state's health and human services secretary, said last week that the GOP should "plan for the worst" as mass gatherings will be a "very big challenge" if the number of coronavirus cases in the state continues to increase, per NPR.

The wreckage of summer

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

We usually think of Memorial Day as the start of the summer, with all of the fun and relaxation that goes with it — but this one is just going to remind us of all of the plans that have been ruined by the coronavirus.

Why it matters: If you thought it was stressful to be locked down during the spring, just wait until everyone realizes that all the traditional summer activities we've been looking forward to are largely off-limits this year.

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 9 a.m. ET: 5,432,512 — Total deaths: 345,375 — Total recoveries — 2,182,202Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 9 a.m. ET: 1,643,499 — Total deaths: 97,722 — Total recoveries: 366,736 — Total tested: 14,163,915Map.
  3. 2020: Trump threatens to move Republican convention from North Carolina.
  4. World: White House announces travel restrictions on Brazil Over 100 cases in Germany tied to single day of church services.
  5. Public health: Officials are urging Americans to wear masks over Memorial Day.
  6. Economy: White House economic adviser Kevin Hassett says it's possible the unemployment rate could still be in double digits by November's election.
  7. What should I do? Hydroxychloroquine questions answeredTraveling, asthma, dishes, disinfectants and being contagiousMasks, lending books and self-isolatingExercise, laundry, what counts as soap — Pets, moving and personal healthAnswers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingHow to minimize your risk.
  8. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it, the right mask to wear.

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Updated 6 hours ago - Politics & Policy