National Enquirer publisher American Media Inc. asked the Justice Department whether it should register as a Saudi agent, the Wall Street Journal reported Monday.
The newspaper reported that a redacted letter published by the DOJ’s Foreign Agents Registration Act unit was addressed to American Media.
The letter concerned the company’s release of a magazine praising Prince Mohammad Bin Salman, published to coincide with a visit he took to Washington in March 2018.
“According to your submission, [U.S. corporation] created and published [publication] [text deleted], to coincide with the visit of [foreign government leader],” the redacted letter reads.
The DOJ decided that American Media’s activities did not qualify it as a foreign agent under FARA.
The letter also says that American Media hired an unnamed advisor to the Saudi government to write an article for and edit the magazine, titled “The New Kingdom.”
The WSJ reported that the magazine included an editorial praising the Saudi leader by French financial advisor Kacy Grine, who has experience working in Saudi Arabia and who reportedly visited Trump in July 2017 with American Media CEO David Pecker and Chief Content Officer Dylan Howard.
Pecker admitted last year to buying embarrassing stories about Trump and not publishing them as part of an immunity-for-testimony deal with federal prosecutors investigating Michael Cohen.
A potential Saudi link to the National Enquirer’s troubles emerged last week, after Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos published a series of allegedly extortionate text messages from the company’s lawyers. Bezos wrote in a post about the threats that coverage of the murder of Saudi columnist Jamal Khashoggi had attracted their attention.
The “Saudi angle seems to hit a particularly sensitive nerve,” he wrote.