Sunday, May 20, 2018

Fox News: "Michael Avenatti is a beast. He's a beast."

Stormy Daniels is in Oregon. Michael Avenatti is on TV.

Fox News: "He keeps popping Donald Trump and all his friends in the mouth. . . . The Democrats could learn something from [Avenatti.]"

Avenatti: "We've disclosed some very damaging, accurate information."

Warrior: Shameless and ferocious.

Trump finally met his match.

Last month this blog made what in the financial world is called a "market call"--a prediction about the future course of the stock market. I said it was a moment of "peak Trump." I titled the post "Trump fatigue. It feels like a market top."  Click: March 20, 2018  The indications to me came from Trump's behavior. His tweeting had become frenetic, and I likened it to a boxer who was slugging wildly. I said that even with all Trump's advantages (incumbency, low unemployment, strong economy) the end was starting for Trump.

My timing was about right. But Trump is not just self-destructing. He is also being torn down.

Michael Avenatti cannot be stopped by Congressional majorities, nor is he part of a Justice Department hierarchy. He doesn't have to tiptoe. He cannot be voted out or fired. He is the lawyer for a civil case, and as Bill Clinton learned, courts have decided that civil cases against a president can move forward. They can compel documents. They can demand testimony. 

Head to head: Trump vs. Avenatti
Avenatti is a warrior and Democrats have needed one. He is the first person to emerge in the anti-Trump resistance who is the full parallel and twin of Trump. Trump fights hard and dirty. Trump accuses. Trump dominates the media. Trump says strong, outrageous things, with utter confidence. 

So does Avenatti.

Fox News is outraged. Why Avenatti has had a bankruptcy in his past!  Avenatti has too much debt! Where, exactly, Avenatti gets his money?  Avenatti has an ex-wife!  Avenatti creates a "carnival atmosphere."  He is on TV way too much!

Exactly. This is Trump's America. People love to watch an ugly fight.

Avenatti is another professional political wrestler in the arena, accusing, going for the throat, making salacious hints. Trump was a shameless "birther," suggesting he had secret evidence Barrack Obama was foreign born. Avenatti suggest he has photos of Trump naked, or at least detailed descriptions by Stormy Daniels of Trump's genitalia. Tit for tat. 

Bend. Salem. Tualitin.
Trump has had opposition, from Democrats like Chuck Schumer and Elizabeth Warren, but both senators serve at the pleasure of others, a weakness. Robert Mueller serves at the pleasure of a chain of command and is under constant threat of being fired. Mainstream news media people serve corporate leadership and are constrained by wanting to preserve credibility for the next story. Trump faced asymmetric opponents and they all have vulnerabilities. 

Avenatti cannot be fired by the political system.. That gives him enormous power. Avenatti doesn't apologize or admit anything. He denies, pivots, and hits back. When Trump and Fox complain, Avenatti says "so what?" His client seems happy to conjoin her legal interests with Avenatti's media strategy. Publicity--and controversy--help her. She is in Oregon right now, performing. People can pay to see the woman Donald Trump had sex with. Ka-ching. She has noting to hide. Trump is the one with secrets.

If Trump and his allies want to make her more famous by criticizing her, do it. It just increases her value. If Trump or his allies demean her, and call her a trashy "porn star," it just serves to demean Trump, too. After all, Trump was the one sitting on her bed eager for sex in exchange for an appearance on The Apprentice. Is this tawdry? Yes. Tawdry for whom?  

When Trump didn't come through with a contract for an appearance on the show, but wanted more sex with her, she turned him down. She wouldn't take a bad deal from Trump. She was the one with the power and integrity. 

The lion grabs the rear and hangs on.
But wait. Isn't the Stormy Daniels thing all about sex, and hasn't the public already decided that they don't care about Trump and sex? His base supports him anyway.  

That is true.  

The problem for Trump is that Stormy Daniels led to Trump fixer Michael Cohen, and Michael Cohen led to where Trump is legally and politically vulnerable: financial crimes with Russians and contacts between Trump associates and Russians. Avenatti is relentless and vicious and he accuses and he demands. He is a legal bully and he looks good on TV and he is articulate and absolutely confident. His punches hurt.

The facts, plus Avenatti as the relentless accuser, all pull the sex stuff into the Russian collusion and financial stuff. Robert Mueller and Michael Avenatti are a team, and Avenatti cannot be fired.

The period of "peak Trump" is behind us. This is now the slow unraveling for Trump. The buffalo has horns and the buffalo is big, and it can be a long fight, but the lion has a strategy of biting and holding onto the buffalo's back until a fellow lion comes in for the throat.

Avenatti is the lion hanging on. Mueller is the lion that has come for the throat. Trump is the buffalo.

[UpClose with Peter Sage is a daily blog that comments on Oregon and national politics. Bookmark the site and return often. Or, better yet, subscribe by email and get home delivery about noon every day. This is a free, totally non-commercial site. My goal is to figure out what is happening in this crazy world, and then to write about it fairly.  There are about 1000 regular readers every day.]


Rick Millward said...

I wonder about Trump it possible that they secretly would love to see him fall?

A supporter was once quoted "even if he is a phony, we won't be any worse off". There is a perverse fascination that you touch on with the trashy pro wrestling analogy. The audience doesn't care who wins as long as one of the wrestlers is beaten senseless, and humiliated. That's really what they want to see.

I have speculated about who might be the "anti-Trump", the agent who would reveal the fraud and criminality and bring this sad chapter to a close. We may have found him. Avenatti may have political or media (book, talk show?) ambitions of his own, and regardless of the outcome he will have a base when this is over. Let the games begin!

Judy Brown said...

Thank you, Peter. This gives me hope.

Ed Cooper said...

In a way, Petet, I'm sorry you had to write about this. I'm quite sure that none of in the Medford schools of the 60's could have imagined that our Country could come to this.
On the other hand, I really like the lion and buffalo analogy. It gives me hope .