Stormy Daniels’ lawyer is eating team Trump’s lunch on cable TV

Stephanie Clifford, aka Stormy Daniels (the porn actress who is suing for the right to tell her side of the story of her affair with Donald Trump), is represented as a legal matter – but also for purposes of making her case on TV — by attorney Michael J. Avenatti. I don’t know how good he is at lawyering, but Avenatti is very good on TV and has become a regular on MSNBC.

I remember when a distinguished attorney would at least feign respect for opposing counsel, but the age of such manners is over (as the current incumbent in the Oval Office regularly demonstrates, it is over for POTUSES — or does one mean POTI?)

Still, I laughed out loud when Avenatti dished the dirt on the Trump legal team. True, if the goal of Team Trump is to defend their client’s reputation as a respecter of his marital vows, they have a tough job. And it isn’t working. But last night on MSNBC Avenatti, in rude but hilarious terms, went after the competence of Trump’s legal team. Here’s the quote:

I’m used to playing chess in my cases.

I’ve had the good fortune to come into contact with some very good chess players around this country. Lawyers at the top of their game. Really good lawyers that are really good chess players. And I like to count myself as a really good chess player.

Right now, I’m playing three-dimensional chess, and these guys [Trump’s legal team] are playing tic tac toe. And, quite honestly, they’re not even playing tic tac toe all that well.

When we filed this case, there was one response that made sense and one response only [on the question of whether Clifford can publicly talk about her affair with Trump]. And that response would have been:

“Y’know what? You’re right. I wasn’t a party to this agreement, [this would be Trump talking about the non-disclosure agreement that Clifford/Daniels signed, but Trump did not sign]. She’s free to tell her story and I’m gonna tell mine.”

 And guess what? If that had happened, we wouldn’t be sitting here right now and we wouldn’t be talking about it. The fact of the matter is that’s not what happened.

Instead, they have stepped into every trap we have laid in this case the last two weeks. It’s really remarkable. I’ve never seen anything like it. I’ve never had good fortune like this.

So we’re gonna keep shooting till we miss. And the problem here is that now they’re doubling and tripling down.

Now we have the president of the United States — I think it’s important to take a step back and think about this for a minute — we have a sitting U.S. president who is carrying out a vendetta against a woman who alleges that she had an affair with him. And he’s suing her for $20 million dollars. And he’s attempting to continue to silence her and put her under his thumb. And that’s what this is about.

I’m not clever enough to understand all the legal issues. But on this, I have to agree with Avenatti. If President Trump’s goal in this matter is to keep the public from learning about his affair with “Stormy Daniels,” it isn’t working. And if that isn’t his goal, what the heck is it?

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Comments (29)

  1. Submitted by Ray Schoch on 03/21/2018 - 10:06 am.

    My 2¢

    To phrase it politely, I’m not an admirer of the Current Occupant, so that bias is built into what follows.

    What I see as an ordinary citizen is a chief executive who’s not only awash in hubris, to a degree that would drop jaws in ancient Athens, and seems to be doing in contemporary Washington, too, but who’s accustomed to more than the usual deference that the wealthy and/or powerful regard as a God-given right. He likes to receive genuflecting obeisance from his underlings, whether they actually work for him or not – a mind set not unlike that of Medieval rulers in Europe and elsewhere on the planet. Not knowing him personally, I can’t vouch for what goes on under that amazing hairdo, but he ••acts** as if he were elected king instead of president.

    Suing someone for an outrageous amount has been part and parcel of the business style of the Current Occupant for many years prior to his job of the Oval Office. Call it intimidation, but Ms. Clifford/Daniels’ lawyer, and perhaps his client, as well, are apparently not fazed by this strategy, which has often worked for the Current Occupant in a business context in the past, but doesn’t appear to be having that same effect this time. I have no idea how it will all play out in the end, but other accusers have come forward since Ms. Clifford/Daniels’ initial complaint. Possibly, they’re simply gold-diggers, and the Current Occupant’s defenders will quickly dismiss them as such, whether that’s the actual case or not. Or, given the Current Occupant’s documented language and past behavior, they may be quite genuine.

    The prospect of a serial philanderer fighting off lawsuits from a series of paramours while in office – and simultaneously being defended by not only his own legal team, but by Republican political figures who have questioned the morality of women who want to use birth control, and by evangelicals who purport to be moralists as part of their “Christian” faith, marks a sad day, indeed, in American social and political history.

    • Submitted by Misty Martin on 03/21/2018 - 11:48 am.

      Here’s my 2 cents as well, so now we are at 4 cents . . .

      Mr. Schoch:

      I couldn’t have said it any better than you did. I agree wholeheartedly. What a circus, huh?

  2. Submitted by John Webster on 03/21/2018 - 10:40 am.

    Guilty, but so what?

    We can all safely bet our lives that Trump had this affair and many others; he is blatantly lying, which is common for him. But imagine if Trump had the political views of, say, Bill Clinton. The mainstream media would report on the affairs for their salacious side, and because it would be good for ratings. But almost all journalists would laugh it off as Bubba being Bubba, i.e. it’s only sex stuff that narrow-minded religious nuts concern themselves with.

    • Submitted by Neal Rovick on 03/21/2018 - 11:25 am.

      With my fuzzy grasp of history, I seem to remember an impeachment proceeding based on an affair and the cover-up of an affair. I also seem to remember the endless fulminating on tevee and the ink-press about the destruction of America by the bare-footed unwashed rubes from Arkansas who disgraced the office. And this was accompanied by years of digging through recondite records from a penny-ante real estate venture-I think it was called “Whitewater”. 1992 to 2000

      I would guess millions of barrel of printer ink was spilled on the Clinton-era sex and real-estate “scandals” in the pre-electron age.

      And we still hear some grousing on the evilness of the Clintons.

      Wait, wasn’t there a Clinton in the last election? And weren’t those awful Clinton sex and money “scandals” all dredged up again ??

      Hey, where were you in those days ?

  3. Submitted by Neal Rovick on 03/21/2018 - 10:45 am.

    Cohen (Trump’s original lawyer in the Story proceedings) has now “lawyered up” in response to the various ethics/legal issues related to the cover-up/payoff.

    Lawyers for the lawyers.

    Cohen appears to be a favorite of Trumps. Because he’s the most malleable ?

    From the Lawfare site…


    Trump’s attitude toward law, and his use and abuse of lawyers, are distinguishing features of his presidency, which may well help bring it down. While prosecutors such as Robert Mueller investigate crimes and not people, they also consider whether the individuals who come into their sight in the course of an investigation have illicit intent or motive. Character unavoidably enters in this judgment. By now it is clear, to the special counsel among other others, that this president has a purely instrumental view of lawyers and of the law. Or maybe even worse: Senior staff have told at least one reporter that one of the ways to “get Trump to do something” is to tell him that “the lawyers would never allow it.”

    Of course, a president with this relationship to lawyers chooses as he pleases—and for his own reasons—when to bring them in and when to leave them out. Although there were plenty of lawyers ready to help when Don Jr. considered what to say publicly about the Trump Tower meeting with Kremlin emissaries, the president decided that he and his son would produce on their own the false accounting later released to the public. The Washington Post reported sources as stating that Trump was “acting as his own lawyer, strategist and publicist, often disregarding the recommendations of the professionals he has hired.” There you have it: no respect for process, no understanding of the role, with the bad result that follows. This is probably not the only instance in the entire Russia episode in which Trump has charted his own course.

    It should be noted in all fairness that Trump does seem to like Michael Cohen. He has little use for the rest of his lawyers, except as they show more of Cohen’s can-do spirit. Yet it is worth recalling that the last president to have his personal lawyer arrange for hush money was Richard Nixon.
    (end quote)

  4. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 03/21/2018 - 11:06 am.

    Trump is a bully

    Bullies gotta be bullies so Trump is trying (or his lawyers) are trying to bully their way out of this, it’s that simple. It’s worked for them many times before because the they typically deal with mediocre private sector business associates, and their lawyers. Daniels is lucky in that her story is worth millions once she starts telling it so she’s attracted good lawyers. And of course Trumps REAL problem is that the numbers of women wanting to tell their stories are multiplying. I think THAT tells us that the grip of fear the bully used to have is slipping, and when that happens it’s typically all over.

  5. Submitted by Bill Kahn on 03/21/2018 - 12:18 pm.

    Only worry for me is which brand goes down the tubes, Trump’s or the U.S.A.’s. Will our country get sold off and repackaged like the Weinstein Company? Maybe to China? This is what comes of sending business people, especially bad business people into guvmit.

    • Submitted by Colin Brownlow on 03/21/2018 - 03:08 pm.

      It’s already happening.

      The reactions of my UK and Canadian relatives a year ago was this is all a bad joke and he won’t last. Now it’s more like what has happened to America that we could first elect and then tolerate someone like Trump.

      Right after the election I had a conversation with a Trump supporter who knew I had overseas relatives. It went something like this:
      Them: “It must have been pretty embarrassing haven’t to defend Obama. You must be glad we’ve finally got someone Europeans can respect in the White House”.
      Me: “Actually every relative and friend from across the pond I’ve spoke to had a deep regard and respect for Obama. And that included my staunch tory uncle. The reactions to Trump range from contempt to loathing.”

      • Submitted by Frank Phelan on 03/23/2018 - 06:09 am.

        Doubling Down

        Don’t underestimate, that when supporters of Don Trump hear that foreigners, especially those namby-pamby Europeans who like that funny sport that isn’t really football, dislike their guy, it reinforces their belief that they voted for the right guy.

  6. Submitted by Paul Brandon on 03/21/2018 - 12:40 pm.

    An old saying

    ‘A lawyer who represents himself
    has a fool for a client.’
    To the extent that Trump is dictating his own legal strategy he is proving that true.

  7. Submitted by ian wade on 03/21/2018 - 01:33 pm.

    What I can’t get out of my head

    is what the GOP response would be if the headline read -“Obama paid $130,000 to porn star from affair he had while wife was pregnant.”
    I would imagine that the conservatives that post here (the same that claimed Trump’s many issues as “irrelevant”) would join with lawmakers, conservative pundits and evangelicals in a mass cranial explosion that would rival that of Hiroshima.

    • Submitted by John Webster on 03/21/2018 - 02:40 pm.


      Many of Minnpost’s writers and commenters need to venture into the broader world in order to get beyond their caricatured understanding of people who disagree with them. Few people – including few hardcore Trump supporters – believe that Trump was any kind of angel prior to becoming President. In fact, this alleged affair and all the other tawdry affairs Trump is no doubt guilty of occurred during the time period when he endorsed Democratic politicians and advocated for liberal causes.

      No side of the political spectrum has the moral high ground regarding personal misbehavior by politicians. The near-universal practice is to minimize misconduct when My Guy does it, and vociferously condemn the same behavior when Your Guy does it.

      • Submitted by Edward Blaise on 03/21/2018 - 03:16 pm.

        Well, not exactly…

        I used to agree with you on one side not having the moral high ground over the other; but, D Trump has plumbed such breathtaking, ever growing, shocking, stormy, new lows that it is safe to say Trump and his party have cornered the low ground market for the near future. It is also safe to say that his Republican conversion did not cause a new moral standard to be practiced as can be described by an ever increasing list of playmates and porn stars.

      • Submitted by Neal Rovick on 03/21/2018 - 04:14 pm.

        I guess I would be stymied to find an equivalent My Guy to measure up (or down) to Your Guy.

        Trump is uniquely different.

        The failure to recognize that is willful blindness and destructive to the health of the nation.

      • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 03/22/2018 - 08:33 am.

        This is NOT normal

        Trump, his supporters, and the Republican Party have taken hypocrisy and moral vacuity to new levels here. The mental acrobatics on display are breathtaking. The same house Republicans that tried to keep Benghazi in the news for years simply to hurt Clinton just issued a declaration that Trump is innocent of all alleged collusion activity. After holding up perfectly vetted Obama appointments for years, they rubber stamped a group of hacks in a matter of months. This is NOT normal political behavior.

    • Submitted by Edward Blaise on 03/21/2018 - 02:49 pm.


      Not even to mention all of the racist overtones that would have been inflicted on Obama if the shoe was on the other foot. (We can’t say male reproductive preventative device because Ms. Daniels has already passed a lie detector that none was used)

    • Submitted by Tim Smith on 03/21/2018 - 03:28 pm.

      if Obama

      it never would have made the news.

      • Submitted by ian wade on 03/21/2018 - 04:56 pm.

        Just like his birth certificate…

        right, Tim?

      • Submitted by Edward Blaise on 03/21/2018 - 08:26 pm.


        You actually believe that a credible report of Obama paying off a porn star to the tune of $130,000 1 week before the election and it would not even have made the news!!!

        Loose cannon congressman would have screamed about it from the house floor. Fox news would have been 24/7. What color is the sky?

      • Submitted by Neal Rovick on 03/22/2018 - 11:14 am.

        I remember the shocking “tan suit scandal” that occupied the press for a week.

        I remember the waves of outrage when Obama mentioned that if he had a son, he would look somewhat like Trayvon Martin.

        So, no. There would have been no free-pass for an Obama sex scandal.

  8. Submitted by Tim Smith on 03/21/2018 - 03:21 pm.

    alwers are always factualq

    especially when they boast on left wing tv stations. Is this tabloid journalism now, Minn enquirer?

    • Submitted by Jackson Cage on 03/22/2018 - 06:37 am.

      Where were you in the Vikings Philly game?

      The Purple pass defense could have used your unending ability to deflect.

  9. Submitted by Rich Crose on 03/21/2018 - 05:43 pm.

    When is the Big One?

    In California there are hundreds of tremors along the San Andreas Fault, most of them minor, hardly even registering on the Richter Scale. But one of them will occur in the right place at the right time to trigger an earthquake so large it will kill millions. Scientists can’t predict where it will happen or even when it will happen, they can only say that it WILL happen.

    Sexual harassment lawsuits, the Mueller investigation, his shady business past –these are minor tremors. But one day, someplace, somewhere, something is going to happen to trigger the big one and the Trump empire will shake and sway and come tumbling down and many people are going to get hurt. It will probably be something that isn’t even discussed today and we’ll all wonder how something like that could happen right under our noses.

  10. Submitted by Elsa Mack on 03/21/2018 - 08:12 pm.

    What I don’t get

    is why Trump et al. are fighting this so hard. Nobody should be remotely surprised to hear that Trump has had many dalliances. He has cultivated a sort of playboy image for decades. It’s not what I’d consider admirable but, as long as we’re talking about consenting adults and not harassment etc., it doesn’t seem like such big news that Trump had sex with a porn star (at least, since his Evangelical base have proven willing to give him “mulligans”). Avenatti is right, Trump could have shrugged this off and been finished with it.

    The fact that he doesn’t makes me think it’s not just the fact of the affair. My guess is Daniels has some really embarrassing video footage.

  11. Submitted by Bill Schletzer on 03/22/2018 - 06:49 am.

    What I don’t get

    How can Trump sue someone for violating a confidentiality agreement he never signed about an event he claims never happened? I would think his initiating a suit verifies that something happened that he wants hidden.

    What I want to see is for Mueller to question him under oath about this. As soon as he denies he has committed the exact offense that got Clinton impeached.

    Now I wonder what kind of confidentiality agreement he has with Putin. That is the bigger issue for the country: what is he hiding that prevents him from protecting our country from Putin?

  12. Submitted by Neal Rovick on 03/22/2018 - 11:29 am.

    Blackmail.That is the real


    That is the real threat behind the multiplying sex scandals.

    What other people (and countries) have information, videos, pictures, documents that Trump is desperate to not see the light of day.

    A person so sloppy / unethical / unrestrained / immoral and so determined to uphold a certain public front has a lot of strings that can be pulled.

    A little quote from the resignation letter of Lt. Col. Ralph Peters, who resigned this week from his current gig as a Fox News pundit:


    …Despite increasingly pathetic denials, it turns out that the “nothing-burger” has been covered with Russian dressing all along. And by the way: As an intelligence professional, I can tell you that the Steele dossier rings true–that’s how the Russians do things.. The result is that we have an American president who is terrified of his counterpart in Moscow….

    (end quote)

  13. Submitted by Mike Chrun on 03/22/2018 - 12:29 pm.

    Usual Response

    The usual “Oh, ya, what about Clinton or Obama?” get more and more desperate appearing. As has been pointed out, the level of hypocrisy is beyond compare. I don’t recall the backers of Clinton putting themselves on a high moral ground and telling women what they couldn’t control about their body or railing about taking Christ out of Christmas because we’re such a God-fearing nation.

    As for the Obama comments, please have more respect for our intelligence, if not yours, than to actually suggest that such behavior by Obama would have been swept under the rug. What would be hilarious about all of this, if not for the damage to our nation, is that one month of this Buffoon’s antics would not come close to equalling all of the negative stories during Obama’s entire eight years. That’s why we had to keep coming up with investigation after investigation into Benghazi or that’s why we couldn’t let go of Holder’s gun deal.

    You’ve got to swallow really hard to defend our buffoon president who has gone after parents of dead soldiers, U.S. Senators, sitting judges, leaders of our allies, our intelligence services, his own cabinet members, F.B.I. heads, former Vice-Presidents, etc. in tweet after tweet. And then swallow again twice as hard when it’s pointed out that the two people he hasn’t dared take on in a tweet are Stormy Daniels and Vlad Putin.

  14. Submitted by Tom Christensen on 03/22/2018 - 01:03 pm.

    It turns out

    the Hollywood bus tape was not a one time event, it is a life style. Good old Trump has a problem to add to the list of many his problems. Too bad I won’t be here to see what the historians down the pike have to say about Trump. It will be an interesting read. It will prove more than half the country was right when they were able to see through Trump’s micro-thin veneer and not vote for him. I suspect shortly trump will be looking for wife number 4.

  15. Submitted by Joe Musich on 03/22/2018 - 08:30 pm.

    The miscalculation…

    on his part in the end I think will be to assume he was dealing with the same kind of people he had been dealing with in his building business. The people he was dealing with were probably also engaged with questionable activities. Or at least more questionable then we usually see in politics if one can imagine that. These competitors also had things to hide and did not want any or at least not much media exposure. Now he his dealing with people who do not mind exposure because what’s to hide. He his trying the same tactics on a different community. His threats in the end have little if any application. No matter how much he tries to sew up the gutted pig it is still gutted. And the guts are all over us all.

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