President Trump on Wednesday lashed out at Michael Avenatti, the lawyer for the third woman to publicly accuse his Supreme Court nominee of sexual assault or misconduct.
“Avenatti is a third rate lawyer who is good at making false accusations, like he did on me and like he is now doing on Judge Brett Kavanaugh,” Trump tweeted. “He is just looking for attention and doesn’t want people to look at his past record and relationships — a total low-life!”
The tweet marked the first time the president has referred by name to Avenatti, who also represents Stormy Daniels, the adult film actress who says she had sex with Trump in 2006 and was paid $130,000 in hush money to stay silent weeks before the 2016 presidential election. Trump has denied knowing about the payment, which was arranged by his lawyer, Michael Cohen.
Avenatti responded to Trump in a tweet.
“‘False accusations?’ Like those crimes your fixer Cohen pled to? You are an habitual liar and complete narcissist who also is a disgrace as a president and an embarrassment to our nation,” Avenatti wrote. “You are so inept that your ‘best and brightest’ are Cohen and [Trump lawyer Rudy] Giuliani. Let’s go.”
On Wednesday morning, Avenatti released a sworn statement by Julie Swetnick, who says she attended more than 10 parties in the early 1980s where Kavanaugh and his friend, Mark Judge, were present. Swetnick said she was a victim of “gang rape” at one of the parties. At another, she said she witnessed both Kavanaugh and Judge in line outside a room “waiting for their ‘turn’ with a girl inside.”
Kavanaugh strongly denied the allegation in a statement released by the White House.
“This is ridiculous and from the Twilight Zone,” Kavanaugh said. “I don’t know who this is and this never happened.”
Swetnick’s statement was sent to the Senate Judiciary Committee, which said its “lawyers are in the process of reviewing it.”
Kavanaugh and his first public accuser, Palo Alto University professor Christine Blasey Ford, are scheduled to testify before the committee Thursday morning. A committee vote on Kavanaugh’s nomination is slated for Friday morning, less than 24 hours after their testimony.
Earlier Wednesday, Trump said that he would have pushed for a vote on Kavanaugh without hearing from Ford if it had been up to him.
“I think the Senate, the Republicans, could not be nicer in the way they’re handling this,” Trump told reporters as he arrived at the United Nations General Assembly in New York. “They could’ve pushed it through two and a half weeks ago, and you wouldn’t be talking about it right now, which is frankly what I would’ve preferred. But they didn’t do that.”
That’s the opposite of Trump’s position last week, when he said the accusations against his nominee should be heard.
On Tuesday, Trump attacked the second woman to come forward, Deborah Ramirez, who alleged that Kavanaugh exposed himself to her during a dorm-room party when they were both freshmen at Yale. Ramirez, who said she was drinking at the time of the alleged incident, admitted there are “gaps” in her memory.
“She was totally inebriated,” Trump said. “She was all messed up, and she doesn’t know; it might have been him. ’Oh gee, let’s not make him a Supreme Court judge.’”
Earlier this week, Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, warned her GOP colleagues in the Senate not to prejudge sexual assault allegations against the nominee.
“We are now in a place where it’s not about whether or not Judge Kavanaugh is qualified,” Murkowski told the New York Times. “It is about whether or not a woman who has been a victim at some point in her life is to be believed.”
Speaking on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly on Wednesday afternoon, Trump accused Democrats of a coordinated attack on Kavanaugh’s nomination.
“They’re bring people out of the woodwork,” Trump said. “They could do it to anybody.”
Trump said he remains confident Kavanaugh will be confirmed to the nation’s highest court.
“Hopefully over the next couple days it will be settled up and solved,” the president said. “And we will have a Supreme Court justice who will go down as one of the greatest ever. Hopefully he’s going to be there for a long time.”
“I think it’s working out very well,” Trump said. “I think people are seeing what a disgrace these Democrat senators are when they come out with statements like that. … The good news is the public is very smart and they get it.”
A female reporter asked Trump if he he believes all three women are lying.
The president refused to answer.
“What’s your next question?” he said.
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