Confidant and on-again, off-again adviser to President Donald Trump Roger Stone bashed supermarket tabloid The National Enquirer for publishing a splashy "sex scandal" exposé about former Trump 2016 chairman Paul Manafort on the day the story went public about an FBI raid on Manafort's home.
The Daily Beast spoke to Stone, who said, "It’s very disturbing. I felt very badly for him last night. And of course, I’m trying to figure out the source."
The Enquirer -- owned by Trump booster and longtime friend David Pecker -- blared on Wednesday, "Trump Advisor Sex Scandal — Paul Manafort’s Sick Affair" and detailed an alleged "sick affair" between married Manafort, 68, and a 33-year-old woman.
"Desperate to save his 39-year marriage to Kathleen, 64," the Enquirer breathlessly recounted, "the cheating cad splashed out $18,000 on therapy to avoid airing his dirty laundry in a public divorce, sources said. 'President Trump has been focused on draining the swamp in Washington, D.C.,' a White House insider said. 'Meanwhile, one of his trusted advisers was bedding another woman behind his wife's back, betraying her and his country!'"
Stone -- who, like Manafort, is currently facing Congressional and criminal investigation -- told The Daily Beast's Lloyd Grove that he's baffled by the Enquirer hatchet job and doesn't understand what motive Pecker and Trump would have for hanging Manafort out to dry.
“On motive -- the motive would be what? Antagonize the guy? It makes no sense. Why would he want to do that?” said Stone to Grove. "The president doesn’t do things that aren’t logical and have no motive."
The Enquirer published "hacked" texts purportedly from Manafort's 32-year-old daughter Andrea, who was outraged that her father was carrying on behind her mother's back.
“He’s been taking this WH*RE on trips instead of my mom,” the messages said. “He has taken her on his playlist of places... As in like the restaurant he celebrates my mom’s bday every year w(sic) her. The place they went on their honeymoon too. All their restaurants they go to when they go to Paris for decades.”
Manafort has come under heavy scrutiny in recent months as investigations have swirled around the Trump White House. The longtime lobbyist belatedly registered as a foreign agent earlier this year after investigators began to question his ties to a pro-Putin faction in Ukraine that allegedly paid Manafort millions of dollars.
“First of all I don’t know if anything in the story is true -- I assume it is because of the quotations from his daughters,” Stone said. “I only began making inquiries about this late last night... I know my way around the swamp. I have have made some calls and I imagine I’ll get to the bottom of it.”
Stone is under investigation for his ties to Wikileaks and the hacker who is believed to have broken into the email servers of the Democratic National Committee (DNC). He has denied any wrongdoing, but has long prided himself on his reputation as a "dirty tricks" political operative who is not afraid to bend the rules.
Trump has used his association with Pecker in the past to attempt to threaten media figures. When he wanted more positive coverage from MSNBC's "Morning Joe," hosts Joe Scarborough and Mike Brzezinski were threatened with a public "outing" of their behind-the-scenes romance. Trump wanted Scarborough -- a former Florida Republican congressman -- to "grovel" before him. Instead, the couple went public with their relationship ahead of the publication.