Dems: Avenatti undermined case
Say lawyer helped to doom assertions against Kavanaugh
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.