Attorney Michael Avenatti stymied Democrats’ attempts to derail the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, Democratic senators and aides told CNN.
“Democrats and the country would have been better off if Mr. Avenatti spent his time on his Iowa vanity project rather than meddling in Supreme Court fights,” a top Democratic Senate aide told CNN ahead of Saturday’s vote to confirm Kavanaugh.
“His involvement set us back, absolutely,” said the aide, referring to Avenatti’s fledgling 2020 presidential campaign.
Avenatti, who represents porn star Stormy Daniels, entered the Kavanaugh foray as an attorney for Julie Swetnick, a Washington, D.C., woman who claimed that Kavanaugh was present at house parties in the early 1980s where girls were allegedly gang-raped.
Avenatti pushed Swetnick’s case at his cable TV mainstays, CNN and MSNBC, but ultimately failed to produce the witnesses he claimed would come forward to support his client’s case. He also mounted a tepid defense against questions raised about Swetnick’s credibility. It emerged that Swetnick’s ex-boyfriend obtained a restraining order against her in 2001. She was also sued in 2000 by a former employer and accused of sexual harassment against male co-workers.
Swetnick’s allegations were largely seen as less credible than those of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, a California psychologist who accused Kavanaugh of attempting to sexually assault her in 1982, when she was 15 and he was 17.
Kavanaugh denied both allegations, calling Swetnick’s claims “a farce.” (RELATED: Kavanaugh Breaks Silence On Avenatti Client’s Allegations)
While Kavanaugh appeared on the ropes after Blasey Ford’s story emerged, conservatives rallied around him in response to the Swetnick allegations.
Asked about Avenatti’s involvement in the Kavanaugh case, Michigan Democratic Sen. Gary Peters suggested that the attorney distracted from Democrats’ mission to derail Kavanaugh’s confirmation.
“Well you know at some point there were a lot of folks coming forward making all sorts of accusations,” Peters told CNN. “It turns it into a circus atmosphere and certainly that’s not where we should be.”
When asked if Avenatti was helpful to Democrats, Peters said: “I think we should have focused on the serious allegations that certainly appeared very credible to me that would be our best course of action.”
Was Avenatti helpful to the process?
Democratic senator: “I think we should have focused on the serious allegations that certainly appeared very credible to me. That would have been our best course of action.” pic.twitter.com/9M16kbRA4x
— Manu Raju (@mkraju) October 6, 2018
Another Democratic senator, speaking anonymously, railed against Avenatti to CNN.
“Not helpful at all. I think Susan was always yes, but Avenatti was a useful foil,” the senator said, referring to Maine Republican Sen. Susan Collins, who voted to confirm Kavanaugh.
Collins criticized Avenatti during a speech on the Senate floor Friday.
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