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New Yorker article details alleged affair between Trump and Playboy model – and the attempt to cover it up

  • A New Yorker article details the alleged affair between Playboy model Karen McDougal and Donald Trump more than a decade ago — and the attempts to cover it up.
  • The report comes as the White House struggles to contain the backlash over how it handled domestic abuse allegations against a former top aide.
President Donald Trump speaks during a meeting on infrastructure with state and local officials in the State Dining Room of the White House on February 12, 2018 in Washington, DC.
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President Donald Trump speaks during a meeting on infrastructure with state and local officials in the State Dining Room of the White House on February 12, 2018 in Washington, DC.

A New Yorker article published Friday details the alleged affair between Playboy model Karen McDougal and Donald Trump more than a decade ago — and supposed attempts to cover it up.

The report is a new headache for the Trump administration, which is already struggling to contain the backlash over how it handled the resignation of top aide Rob Porter, whose two ex-wives accused him of domestic abuse.

The report also comes after recent revelations that Trump's personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, paid $130,000 out of his own pocket to Stormy Daniels, an adult movie actress who also allegedly had sexual encounters with Trump a decade ago.

Written by Ronan Farrow, who broke news about alleged sexual assault committed by movie mogul Harvey Weinstein, the New Yorker story delves into the process of how National Enquirer publisher American Media Inc. allegedly played "catch and kill" with McDougal's story. The reporting echoed a Wall Street Journal story from November, mere days before the election, which said AMI paid her for the story of the affair but didn't publish it.

AMI, both articles say, gave McDougal a $150,000 contract to write columns. The New Yorker says AMI has only published nine of almost 100 promised columns. After fees paid to three men involved in the deal, McDougal only ended up with $82,500, according to the story.

The alleged affair, according to the New Yorker, was consensual and began while Trump was married to his third wife, Melania, who is the first lady. Donald and Melania Trump's son, Barron, was a few months old at the time. The magazine said the description of the affair comes from an eight-page, handwritten chronicle that McDougal had written and shared with a friend.

A representative for AMI was not immediately available to respond to CNBC's request for comment. A White House spokeswoman didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

The White House did give the New Yorker the following statement: "This is an old story that is just more fake news. The President says he never had a relationship with McDougal."