'I don't think he has any money': Trump taunts Michael Avenatti after legal win and discounts his potential 2020 presidential bid

Sean Rayford/Getty ImagesPresident Donald Trump.
  • President Donald Trump downplayed attorney Michael Avenatti’s potential 2020 presidential bid.
  • Avenatti has not announced his candidacy, but teased a potential run in recent months.
  • “I don’t think he’s a serious person, the lawyer,” Trump added, referring to Avenatti. “I just beat him in a big case.”
  • Trump referenced a recent court ruling in which a federal judge threw out a defamation lawsuit Avenatti brought on behalf of porn actress Stormy Daniels.
  • “In fact, he has to pay me legal fees,” Trump said. “I don’t think he has any money. But he and she have to pay me a lot of legal fees.”


President Donald Trump fuelled his feud with attorney Michael Avenatti and downplayed a potential Avenatti 2020 presidential bid by associating him with other “shockingly bad” candidates.

Avenatti, the firebrand attorney for adult film actress Stormy Daniels, has not formally put himself forward as a candidate for the next presidential election, but has teased a potential run in recent months.

“You have a lot of people running,” Trump said during an interview with Fox Business host Trish Regan on Tuesday. “You’re hearing names that are shockingly bad. But they’re nasty.”

“I don’t think he’s a serious person, the lawyer,” Trump added, referring to Avenatti. “I just beat him in a big case.”

Trump referenced Monday’s court ruling in which a federal judge threw out Avenatti and Daniels’ defamation lawsuit against him. In addition to ruling in Trump’s favour, US District Judge James Otero ordered Daniels to pay Trump’s legal fees.

Trump said he was “serious” in recovering his legal fees. Despite the ruling, Avenatti vowed to appeal the decision.

“In fact, he has to pay me legal fees,” Trump said. “I don’t think he has any money. But he and she have to pay me a lot of legal fees.”

“And it’s based on Texas law,” Trump said, pointing to his legal team’s decision to move the lawsuit to Texas – Daniels’ home state and where controversial statements receive special free speech protection. “I love Texas. Based on Texas law where the legal fees are nice and plentiful.”

The dispute escalated this week after Trump published a denigrating tweet that described Daniels as “Horseface” and Avenatti as “her 3rd rate lawyer.” Avenatti responded to the tweet by calling Trump a “moron” during an interview with CNN on Tuesday.

Avenatti and Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, still have a pending lawsuit against Trump. Daniels filed a separate lawsuit over the $US130,000 payment that was made by Trump’s longtime personal attorney, Michael Cohen. The payment was made ahead of the 2016 US presidential election as part of a nondisclosure agreement on an alleged affair between Trump and Daniels in 2006.

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