Late this afternoon, Jeff Bezos published a letter on Medium that is, frankly, one of the most stunning things I've ever read. It is also extremely important, far beyond the celebrity gossip or a billionaire caught in an affair or compromising photographs.
Put simply, we've known for a couple years now that in addition to being the tabloid we've known for decades , The National Enquirer also weaponizes embarrassing information on behalf of Donald Trump and presumably others. They have already been obliged to enter into a non-prosecution agreement with federal prosecutors in New York about their role in the money payment on behalf of Donald Trump in the final weeks of the 201[ads1]6 campaign. When the inquiry published the story of Jeff Bezos's affair several weeks ago it was an obvious question whether this was some sort of hit on behalf of Donald Trump since Trump has made Bezos one of his top public enemies. It has also been reported that private investigators have come to figure out how the whole thing happened [TodaypublishedcorrespondencewhichappearstoclearlyshowAMI(theEnquirer'sparentcompany)tryingtoblackmailhimPutsimplytheinquirylaysoutinsomedetailthatithasvariousdickpicsofBezosandsemi-nudephotographsofhisgirlfriendIfBezosdoesn´tstophisinvestigationandpubliclyannouncethathisinvestigatorsfoundthattheEnquirerdidnothingwrongthey'llpublishthephotosEx-prosecutorswhoknowwhatthey'retalkingaboutareprobablynotblackmailatacriminalstandardSolet'sassumethat'strue
(Here's Bezos's post. There's no describing it. You need to read it yourself.)
What it does is AMI is the criminal enterprise, weaponizing pseudo-journalism and cash payoffs on behalf of wealthy associates, as we've come to suspect. The problem is also clearly stated that the Saudis are somehow behind what happened. Remember, Trump hates Bezos because he owns The Washington Post. Whether it believes that Bezos actually calls the shots in the Post's reporting I have no idea. But that's the source of Trump's ire. Jamal Khashoggi also had a column with the Post. The Post has taken the lead in pushing for justice on Khashoggi's behalf. So the Saudis have a big beef too. And of course Trump appears to have his own corrupted to the de facto rulers of Saudi Arabia and the UAE.
Now, in theory, maybe AMI just wants Bezos to back off. No one likes being scrutinized by private investigators just to be sleazy and not criminal. But the hyper-aggressive nature of AMI's actions here gives me something much bigger in play here.
I give Bezos credit. This is a very bold move at the cost of substantial staff embarrassment. But the malignant role of AMI in American public life has an importance that goes far beyond that. This looks to me like a very, very big deal.