– If I look different it’s
because I’m not one and oh as a fourth grade basketball coach. Breaking news! – [Announcer] This is CNN breaking news. – I don’t think Michael Avenatti is going to be president. Laugh if you will and you probably will, but there were times
in 2018 where the idea of a President Avenatti or at least a democratic nominee Avenatti
wasn’t any laughing matter. Now the rise and apparent fall of Avenatti is yes, a somewhat salacious story of a lawyer for a porn
star using the megaphone of cable TV to try to remake himself into a credible candidate. That all happened. But it’s also the story
of how fast you can rise and how disastrously you can fall in the modern political and media world. And it’s a uniquely 2018
story about where we are in politics and culture
at this depressing moment. It’s amazing to consider,
given his current ubiquity but most people had never
heard the name Michael Avenatti before this year and that’s
not for want of trying. Avenatti is someone who has
always moved in powerful circles and valued that notoriety. Now according to his
website, he has represented Christina Aguilera as well
as Don Henley and Glenn Fry, two founding members of
the rock band Eagles. He’s also handled litigation surrounding the movie K19 The Widowmaker. Whatever that means. Sidebar, I didn’t go to law school, which technically means I’m not a lawyer. And yes my mother is still
disappointed in my decisions. Sorry mom! But for our purposes
and more on the point, Avenatti became a thing
in the spring of 2018 when he took on the case
of adult film actress Stormy Daniels, also known
as Stephanie Clifford who alleged that she and Trump had an affair in the mid 2000s. Now Daniels claimed that
she’d been paid $130,000 by Trump’s associate Michael Cohen in the days just before the 2016 election to keep quiet about those allegations. Avenatti quickly sued
Trump on Daniels behalf in hopes of getting her free
from her non-disclosure deal. Then suddenly, Daniels was everywhere. And so was Avenatti, always at her side. You couldn’t turn on
cable TV, including CNN without seeing Avenatti
insisting that he had the goods on Cohen and Trump and brashly predicting something, but always
it would all come out on Trump and Cohen
sooner rather than later. Now when the FBI conducted
a raid on Cohen’s home, hotel, and office in April,
they seized thousands of documents and they put
Trumps personal lawyer and fixer at the center of the ongoing Russia interference investigation. It sure did seem like Avenatti
had predicted the future. And because he’s Avenatti, he wasn’t shy about tooting his own horn. Here’s Avenatti soon after
the Cohen raid, quote, “To those that scoffed
when we filed this case “and claimed it was all about dollar sign: “As we predicted and
as the FBI raid shows, “Mr. Cohen and Mr. Trump
are in a lot of trouble. “It has always been about the threats, “coverup and the lies that have been “told to the American people.” End quote. Then as spring turned to summer, Avenatti’s TV presence only increased. What he was talking about
actually started to change though. No longer was Avenatti simply
defending Daniels right to be free from her hush
agreement with Cohen and Trump, suddenly he was casting
himself as the only person in the country willing and able
to stand up to Donald Trump. At then, suddenly, it happened. In response to a maybe
joking tweet on July 4th about when he was announcing his 2020 bid, Avenatti tweeted this, and I quote, “If parenthesis big he seeks
re-election, I will run, “but only if I think there
is no other candidate “in the race that has a
real chance at beating him. “We can’t relive 2016. “I love this country, our
values, and our people “too much to sit by
while they are destroyed. “Hashtag fight club.” What? Of course with Donald Trump, reality star, gossip tabloid foddery and recent convert to the Republican Party,
in the White House, who could rule out the idea
of a man who became famous for representing a porn star,
who said she had an affair with the President of the United States running against that same President. In some ways it’s a perfect storyline. Avenatti went to Iowa. Avenatti went to New Hampshire. Avenatti started a political organization to donate to Democratic
candidates and most importantly of all, Avenatti talked tough, real tough. – So I say, when they
go low, we hit harder. (cheering) – This fall he said this, quote, “We cannot afford to show up “to the fight without a slingshot.” End quote. Now even as Avenatti was
rising from celebrity lawyer to probably
candidate for president, there were some warning
signs that his rapid ascent might have glossed over a few problems from his past and present. In July, Avenatti paid the
Internal Revenue Service over $880,000 in unpaid
payroll taxes related to a deal he made to bring his law
firm out of bankruptcy. In October, a judge
ordered Avenatti to pay almost five million dollars to
a former law partner of his. Now all of that paled in
comparison with what happened in the middle of November. Avenatti was arrested in West Los Angeles on suspicion of domestic violence. Now Avenatti vehemently denied the charges saying at the time, quote,
“I have never been physically “abusive in my life nor was I last night. “Any accusations to the
contrary are fabricated “and meant to do harm to my reputation. “I look forward to
being fully exonerated.” End quote. The Los Angeles District Attorney’s office declined to file felony
domestic violence charges against him, choosing
instead to refer the case to the city attorney’s office for consideration of misdemeanor charges. And that case is still ongoing. But, politically speaking,
the damage is done. A scheduled appearance for
the Vermont Democratic Party was canceled and Avenatti hasn’t been seen on cable TV for weeks. For a time, even Daniels turned on him saying she would drop him as her lawyer if the domestic abuse
allegations were true and suggesting that Avenatti
sued Trump against her wishes. Now don’t worry, you can sleep tonight because that fight has apparently ended as Daniels tweeted this about she and Avenatti on Sunday night. Quote, “We are going to kick ass together “on two coasts tomorrow.” Well all may be well in the
world of Avenatti and Daniels, but his presidential prospects
aren’t going to recovery so quickly and they
might not recover at all. Politico ran a piece
recently headline quote, “Avenatti Crashes and Burns.” End quote. Now I tweeted the piece out,
thought it was interesting. Avenatti himself wasn’t
too happy with my decision and said this, quote, “Chris
hasn’t kept up in three years. “And don’t expect anything
to change this cycle “because he’s still sleeping.” Which, maybe. I mean a world in which
Donald Trump is President, nothing is impossible, but
Avenatti looks more and more like another version of
the current President and I’m skeptical that
Democrats will nominate their own version of Trump in 2020. And that is the point. We make new episodes
twice a week every week. Tune in on Tuesdays and
Thursdays for the latest in hot and fresh political content.