Tools of Trump’s Fixer: Payouts, Intimidation and the Tabloids

To protect his boss at critical junctures in his improbable political rise, the lawyer relied on intimidation tactics, hush money and the nation’s leading tabloid news business, American Media Inc., whose top executives include close Trump allies.

..  in the summer of 2015, when a former hedge-fund manager told Mr. Cohen that he had obtained photographs of Mr. Trump with a bare-breasted woman. The man said Mr. Cohen first blew up at him, then steered him to David J. Pecker, chairman of the tabloid company, which sometimes bought, then buried, embarrassing material about his high-profile friends and allies.

.. a female former Trump business partner had accused him of sexual misconduct, Mr. Cohen released a statement suggesting that the woman, Jill Harth, “would acknowledge” that the story was false. Ms. Harth said the statement was made without her permission, and that she stands by her claims. It was not the last time Mr. Cohen would present a denial on behalf of a woman who had alleged a sexual encounter with Mr. Trump.

.. American Media publications, which include The National Enquirer, Star, Us Weekly and Radar.

.. July 2015 when Mr. Cohen received a phone call from Jeremy Frommer, a hedge-fund manager turned digital entrepreneur, who had obtained photos of Mr. Trump appearing to autograph the breasts of a topless woman from the estate of Bob Guccione, the founder of Penthouse magazine.

.. “He was in a rage,” Mr. Frommer said in an interview. “He’s like, ‘If you show those photos, I’m gonna take you down.’”

.. It was a job Roy Cohn, a New York lawyer best known for advising Senator Joseph McCarthy, had done decades earlier for Mr. Trump.

.. Mr. Pecker and Mr. Trump, a staple of the American gossip media since the 1980s, have a friendship that goes back decades. The relationship benefited Mr. Trump throughout the campaign as The Enquirer lionized him and hammered rivals like Ted Cruz, Ben Carson and, finally, Hillary Clinton.

 

The ‘genius’ of Trump: What the president means when he touts his smarts

The genius in the White House has always believed that what makes him special is his ability to get things done without going through the steps others must take.

In school, he bragged that he’d do well without cracking a book. As a young real estate developer, his junior executives recalled, he skipped the studying and winged his way through meetings with politicians, bankers and union bosses. And as a novice politician, he scoffed at the notion that he might suffer from any lack of experience or knowledge.

.. doubled down on his belief that smashing conventions is the path to success but underscored his lifelong conviction that he wins when he’s the center of attention.

.. “To go into those campaign rallies with just a few notes and connect with people he wasn’t at all like, that takes a certain genius. His genius is he’ll say anything to connect with people. He won by telling the rally crowds that the people who didn’t like them also didn’t like him.”

.. familiar tactics: a bold, even brazen, drive to put on a show and make himself the star.

..  he tweeted that he did use “tough” language — a long-standing point of pride for the president, whose political ascent was fueled by his argument that, as a billionaire, he is liberated to say what some other Americans only think.

.. “He needed to be stroked all the time and told how smart he was,”

..  The way we got things done was to approach him with an idea and make him think it was his. It was so easy.”

.. “Donald was always a forest person; he never knew anything about the trees. He knew concrete was brought in on trucks, but he really didn’t know how to run a project. What he had was street smarts — good instincts about people.”

.. he has always encouraged people around him to view him as someone who could see things that others could not.

.. “He means, okay, he didn’t hit the brains lottery, but he’s brilliant and cunning in the way he operates. He’s amazing at taking the temperature of the room and knowing how to appease everyone. You want that kind of instinct in your quarterbacks, in your generals. It’s not what we’ve ever thought of as what makes a great president, but he’s never going to be the guy who makes great speeches. This is who he is.”

.. Being something of a genius was central to Trump’s self-image
.. Everyone around him learned to cater to that — even his father
.. In the first major newspaper profile of Trump, in the New York Times in 1976, his father, Fred Trump, describes his son as “the smartest person I know.”
.. Throughout his life, Trump has believed that his instincts and street smarts positioned him to succeed where others might struggle.
.. His father often told Trump that “you are a king,” instructing him to “be a killer.”
.. Fred Trump was a student of Dale Carnegie
.. and an acolyte of Norman Vincent Peale .. who preached a gospel of positive thinking.
.. “I know in my gut,” he said in an interview last year. “I know in 30 seconds what the right move is.”
.. “He can’t collaborate with anybody because he doesn’t listen to anybody,”
.. “He doesn’t trust anybody, except his family. That’s why [his former wife] Ivana was involved in everything and why now his children are too.”
.. also believed he had something more: a genius for showmanship, a knack for surrounding himself with the trappings of success, thereby creating the perception that he was uniquely capable of big, bold action.
.. Genius and ego were both essential elements of success on a grand scale, Trump said
.. every great person, including Jesus and Mother Teresa, found the path to success via ego:
.. In Trump’s vocabulary, “genius” is perhaps the highest praise, and it refers to a street-level ability to get things done.
.. Trump often referred to his lawyer and early mentor Roy Cohn as “a total genius” or a “political genius,” even if he was also “a lousy lawyer.”
.. Trump explained in one of his books that his own true “genius” was for public relations: Rather than spending money on advertising, he said, he put his efforts toward winning news coverage of himself as a “genius.”
.. Trump has also had moments of extreme self-doubt. Biographer Harry Hurt described a period around 1990 when, as his marriage to Ivana Trump was breaking up, he occasionally spoke about suicide

 

The Unspeakable Greatness of Giannis Antetokounmpo

The Bucks’ All-Star isn’t changing the way his position is
played. He’s changing the way all the positions are played.

.. “Dirk, in my eyes, is the best European player to ever play this game,” Terry said. “He literally changed the way his position is played. But Giannis doesn’t even have a position. He does it all, and he’s still learning what to do out there.”
.. But Antetokounmpo, in a recent interview, went so far as to assert that where he plays directly influences how he plays.

“I’m a low-profile guy,” he said. “I don’t like all these flashy cities like L.A. or Miami. I don’t know if I could be the same player if I played in those cities.”

.. It also doesn’t hurt that, by virtue of his speedy ascension to All-N.B.A. status and contention for other top individual honors, Antetokounmpo is on a course to be eligible for a so-called “supermax” contract extension from the Bucks via the league’s new Designated Player Exception during the 2020 off-season, which would put him in line for a new deal well in excess of $200 million.

.. Charles and Veronica Antetokounmpo, who moved from Nigeria to Greece as undocumented immigrants in 1991 in search of a better life, secured the necessary paperwork to relocate to Milwaukee along with Giannis’s two younger brothers halfway through his rookie season.

.. The areas for on-court improvement are obvious for Antetokounmpo even as he stuffs box score after box score. His outside shot still needs copious amounts of work — he is not close to trusting it in times of need — and there is room for growth in reading the game at both ends, consistently making his teammates better and refining his decision-making.

.. Yet it’s also ridiculous, and rather cold, to nitpick what is missing from Antetokounmpo’s blossoming game given the level he is consistently hitting with that 7-foot-3 wingspan of his.

.. When he arrived in Wisconsin, via the 15th overall pick in the 2013 N.B.A. draft, Antetokounmpo was measured at 6 feet 9 inches and weighed less than 200 pounds. A half-decade later, he is closing in on 240 pounds, and coaches and teammates routinely refer to him as a 7-footer.

.. Giannis just has a peaceful confidence about himself

.. Bucks staffers do worry that Antetokounmpo is occasionally too hard on himself, having watched him head straight for the practice floor on the same night as a frustrating loss more times than they care to remember. One example of his blame-me tendencies: He said last week, on the morning after a home setback to the Boston Celtics, that he was still angry “for personal reasons,” implying that the 96-89 defeat was all his fault.

.. Team executives, mind you, are realistic. They know Antetokounmpo will be fiercely pursued by rival teams (and, perhaps more worryingly, stars from rival teams) at the earliest opportunity.

.. “With what he’s doing on the court, it’s going to automatically draw people to come play with him. I know people have that stigma about Milwaukee. But it won’t be hard for him to attract talent here.