His fans are relieved. He’s getting off scot-free. I’m referring of course to Jussie Smollett, the Empire actor whose charges were dropped today in Chicago. It’s a good week if you’re in the crosshairs of the law — unless, of course, you’re Michael Avenatti, the quondam lawyer for Stormy Daniels who got busted, if that’s the appropriate word, for trying to shake down Nike for a cool $25 million. In Greek, Nike means ‘victory’ but Avenatti looks to be going down to a nasty defeat.
The slick talking lawyer had delusions of grandeur all along, reckoning first that he could bring down Trump with a lawsuit, then viewing himself as presidential timber. He’s the one that got felled by law enforcement. Will he start talking about a deep state conspiracy orchestrated by Trump to quash him? Et voila, I see that Fox News is reporting that Avenatti is alleging that there is a ‘close’ connection between Trump and the Los Angeles lawyers for clients he is accused of bilking of some $1.6 million in a separate case in which he could face up to 50 years in the pokey.
Stormy Daniels is having none of it. She issued a chilly statement that suggested his current plight came as no surprise to her at all. Given his larcenous impulses, Avenatti would probably have been better attaching himself to Trump, though on second thought that doesn’t seem to have worked out so well for the president’s old associates, unless he starts wielding his pardon power with abandon.
If Trump is free of the incubus of Avenatti, not to mention the Mueller investigation, he remains his own worst enemy. The latest brainchild to emanate from the outliers of his administration is an attempt, spearheaded by attorney general William Barr, to repudiate the Affordable Care Act in toto. It would be hard to think of an issue better designed to help the Democrats in 2020. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said as much in a meeting yesterday aimed at calming their rattled nerves about the Mueller report. Impeachment looks like the horizon, receding as you approach it.
Pelosi’s caution, though, does not seem to be shared by some of her Republican counterparts. On Monday, Rep. Mo Brooks, who has previously accused Democrats of ‘waging war on whites,’ took to the House floor to quote from chapter 10 of Mein Kampf to accuse Democrats of perpetrating a ‘big lie’ on Trump and Russia. So far, even Avenatti has been smart enough not to go down the road of invoking the Nazi era to defend himself.