Dems: Ave­natti un­der­mined case

Say lawyer helped to doom as­ser­tions against Ka­vanaugh

Las Vegas Review-Journal (Sunday) - - WASHINGTON REPORT -

WASH­ING­TON — As the Se­nate was head­ing Sat­ur­day to­ward con­fir­ma­tion of Judge Brett Ka­vanaugh to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court, a host of Demo­cratic sen­a­tors and se­nior aides were com­plain­ing about lawyer Michael Ave­natti’s role in the process, CNN re­ported.

“Well, you know at some point there were a lot of folks com­ing for­ward mak­ing all sorts of ac­cu­sa­tions,” said Sen. Gary Pe­ters, a Michi­gan Demo­crat, when asked about the al­le­ga­tions raised by Ave­natti and his client, Julie Swet­nick. “It turns it into a cir­cus at­mos­phere, and cer­tainly that’s not where we should be.”

Pri­vately, the as­sess­ment of Ave­natti, who rep­re­sents Stormy Daniels and has been a ubiq­ui­tous pres­ence on ca­ble tele­vi­sion, was far more scathing.

“Democrats and the coun­try would have been bet­ter off if Mr. Ave­natti spent his time on his Iowa van­ity project rather than med­dling in Supreme

Court fights,” a se­nior

Se­nate Demo­cratic aide fumed to CNN, re­fer­ring to Ave­natti toy­ing with the idea of seek­ing the Demo­cratic pres­i­den­tial nom­i­na­tion. “His in­volve­ment set us back, ab­so­lutely.”

In an­nounc­ing her de­ci­sion Fri­day to sup­port Ka­vanaugh’s con­fir­ma­tion, Sen. Su­san Collins, R-Maine, called Swet­nick’s al­le­ga­tions “out­landish” with­out “any cred­i­ble sup­port­ing ev­i­dence.”

An­other Demo­cratic sen­a­tor, who asked to re­main anony­mous to speak can­didly, told CNN: “Not help­ful at all. I think Su­san was al­ways yes, but Ave­natti was a use­ful foil.”

Reached for com­ment Sat­ur­day, Ave­natti pushed back, crit­i­ciz­ing anony­mous Democrats as “cowards” and say­ing their as­sess­ment shows the “failed lead­er­ship” in the Demo­cratic Party.

“It is ou­tra­geous that these so­called Democrats would at­tack a sex­ual as­sault vic­tim from com­ing for­ward,” Ave­natti told CNN. “I guess their po­si­tion is that she should have shut her mouth and re­mained silent? It is dis­gust­ing that these cowards blame my client and the other ac­cusers from com­ing for­ward.”

Pe­ters said some Re­pub­li­cans pointed to the Swet­nick al­le­ga­tions “to dis­tract from the task at hand.”

One Demo­crat on the Se­nate Ju­di­ciary Com­mit­tee pri­vately was more di­rect.

“It wasn’t help­ful be­cause the story be­came about Ave­natti,” the Demo­cratic sen­a­tor told CNN.

Ave­natti, who head­lined an Ohio fundraiser Fri­day and is con­sid­er­ing run­ning for pres­i­dent in 2020, crit­i­cized Collins and told CNN he wears Demo­cratic crit­i­cism with a “badge of honor.”

“Many es­tab­lish­ment Democrats are con­cerned be­cause they see me as a threat,” Ave­natti said.

Michael Ave­natti

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