- President Donald Trump’s outside attorney, Rudy Giuliani, said the president is mostly ignoring Stormy Daniels attorney Michael Avenatti.
- Giuliani said Trump thinks Avenatti is “a fool” and the president “probably feels terrible that he’s caused so many problems for Michael Cohen, who doesn’t deserve it.”
- It’s very out of character for Trump to avoid punching back at such a prominent adversary.
President Donald Trump is mostly ignoring Michael Avenatti, the attorney for porn star Stormy Daniels, according to the president’s outside attorney, Rudy Giuliani.
In a move seemingly out of character for the president, he has avoided publicly responding to Avenatti, who has taken to the airwaves and social media to repeatedly blast the president in a high-stakes legal battle. Over the last few months, Avenatti has easily become the president’s most prominent antagonist.
“I don’t think the president pays much attention to him really,” Giuliani said in a Thursday phone interview. “I mean he tries to engage us. He wanted to debate me and I laughed at it.”
Giuliani added that Trump thinks Avenatti is “a fool” and the president “probably feels terrible that he’s caused so many problems for Michael Cohen, who doesn’t deserve it.”
Cohen, Trump’s longtime lawyer, facilitated a $US130,000 hush money payment to Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, just weeks before the 2016 presidential election to keep her quiet about allegations of a 2006 affair with Trump. Cohen is now the focus of a criminal investigation in the Southern District of New York into whether he violated campaign-finance laws or committed bank fraud.
Daniels is suing Cohen and Trump in California, seeking to void that nondisclosure agreement. Trump recently admitted to reimbursing Cohen for that expenditure.
Why is Trump avoiding Avenatti?
Trump’s avoidance of confronting Avenatti has raised eyebrows over how seemingly out of character it is for Trump, who fancies himself as a “counter-puncher.” Avenatti has quickly become a hero on the left for his aggressive media and legal campaign against Trump and Cohen.
Last month, The Daily Beast reported that Trump wasn’t fighting back against Avenatti because he privately branded him as a “loser” not worthy of the president’s acknowledgement. The publication described it as “strategic non-engagement.”
But in response, Avenatti said the lack of response from Trump wasn’t evidence of a game plan but rather the lack of one. Avenatti claimed that Trump and his top staffers were spooked by his rising prominence, claiming to have heard “from multiple people” that the administration was “prohibiting people close to the president from going on camera with me on any show.”
The White House denied Avenatti’s claims.
But Trump isn’t in the dark about Avenatti. Giuliani told Business Insider on Thursday that he relayed to the president Avenatti’s day in court on Wednesday, when he appeared in the latest hearing involving Cohen. Giuliani recalled Trump saying it wasn’t “surprising” that Avenatti’s day before US District Judge Kimba Wood didn’t go as planned.
In response, Avenatti blasted Giuliani.
“At least we now know that Mr. Giuliani doesn’t just lie to the American people, he lies to his client Mr. Trump as well,” Avenatti said in an email to Business Insider.
In the absence of Trump, Giuliani has taken over
While Trump has avoided confronting Avenatti, Giuliani certainly has not.
“I don’t get involved with pimps,” Giuliani said. “The media loves to give him room because he makes these roundabout charges and they turn out to mean nothing. I think he’s going to get himself in serious trouble.”
Avenatti fired back at Giuliani on Twitter, posting a 2000 video of Giuliani dressed in drag with Trump performing a skit for the then-mayor’s Inner Circle Press Roast.
Giuliani told Business Insider he thought their argument made “no sense.”
“I think they’re shooting all around the place for something to land,” Giuliani said of Avenatti’s and Daniels’s strategy. “And so far it hasn’t.”
Asked about Giuliani’s comments, Avenatti told Business Insider in an email that Giuliani “is clueless.”
“Next time, maybe he should review the motion and the law before speaking,” he said.
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