Can we slow our roll on Michael Avenatti?

Everywhere you turn, Michael Avenatti is there.Of late, that's turned into not such a good thing for ...

Posted: Oct 26, 2018 2:02 PM
Updated: Oct 26, 2018 2:02 PM

Everywhere you turn, Michael Avenatti is there.

Of late, that's turned into not such a good thing for the celebrity-lawyer-turned-2020-presidential aspirant. A brief review of Avenatti's recent problems includes:

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* Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, referred Avenatti and his client Julie Swetnick, who alleged that Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh attended a party where she was drugged and gang raped, to the Justice Department for possible criminal investigation Thursday. Grassley charged that Swetnick and Avenatti lied to committee investigators looking into the allegations against Kavanaugh. Avenatti denied that he or Swetnick misled investigators.

* In a Time magazine profile on him, Avenatti said that he believed that it had "better be a white male" running against President Donald Trump in 2020. Avenatti told CNN that he had been misquoted and taken out of context.

* A California judge ruled earlier this week that Avenatti had to pay almost $5 million to make good on a debt he owed to his former law partner. Avenatti responded by saying that his ex-partner owes him even more money.

* The Daily Beast published a piece suggesting that Avenatti has personally owed more than $1 million in unpaid personal taxes. Avenatti referred to the story as a "hit piece."

You get the idea. Bad story gets published. Avenatti says story isn't true. Rinse, repeat.

Avenatti casts himself as the sort of guy Democrats need to nominate in 2020 against Trump -- someone willing to say and do whatever it takes to beat Trump. "I think the party has yearned for a fighter -- a fighter for good, if you will -- for a significant period of time," he said during a visit to Iowa recently. "And for many, I'm probably seen as that individual."

One person who agrees is former Trump White House political adviser Steve Bannon. "(Avenatti's) got a fearlessness," Bannon told HBO's Bill Maher. "And he's a fighter. I think he'll go through a lot of that field, if he decides to stick with it, like a scythe through grass."

I mean, maybe? It's possible that Avenatti is like Trump -- completely immune to stories that would destroy other candidates. But remember that Trump was a famous figure for decades prior to his running for president; people have long had hard and fast opinions about him. Avenatti, on the other hand, is a newly minted celebrity, with less imprint on the public.

The Point: Avenatti could be a political unicorn, like Trump. And even if he's not, he has lots of time to make up for a tough few weeks. But let's not crown Avenatti king -- or even prince -- of anything just yet.

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