Michael Avenatti, the attorney representing Stormy Daniels in her lawsuit against President Donald Trump, revealed another pre-2016 election “hush money” development in the ongoing scandal enveloping Trump during an appearance in West Hollywood Thursday night.
“We represent three additional women that you haven’t heard about yet. We’re in the process of getting clearance from those clients to release details relating to those payments and the efforts to silence those women by AMI, Donald Trump, and Michael Cohen, and I will tell you that at least one of those women claimed to be pregnant at the time, “Avenati said. “So we’re going to see how that plays out in the coming weeks and months.”
“Last time I checked, they weren’t just handing out checks to anyone whether they had a relationship or not,” Avenatti told reporters later.
Avenatti was part of a panel organized by the City of West Hollywood entitled, “Update on Washington D.C. Politics: the Mueller Investigation, Human Rights and Immigration, and the Future of Resistance,” moderated by West Hollywood Mayor John J. Duran. The panel included Avenatti, Duran, former federal prosecutor Steve Madison, a partner at Quinn Emanuel Trial Lawyers, and Mariana Magana Gamero, who is part of the Coalition for Human Immigration Rights of Los Angeles (CHIRLA).
Avenatti went on to question Trump’s capacity to serve as President in light of the Daniels case, the seizing of over 100 taped conversations of Cohen by federal prosecutors and the ongoing Mueller investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian officials.
“The problem is not that we elected a celebrity to the White House, but that we elected a man without the temperament, knowledge, and heart to lead our nation,” asserted Cohen to audible agreement from the capacity audience.
Former federal prosecutor Steve Madison noted that he has been acquainted with Special Counsel Robert Mueller for many years and has worked with Mueller periodically. “Bob Mueller is as straight a shooter as they come, Madison said. “He’s the right person for that job.”
In his professional capacity, Madison believes that the constitutionality of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation, which has been questioned by Trump, would be upheld in the Supreme Court. This is due to the precedent set by Morrison v. Olson (1978), which validated the legitimacy of the similar Independent Counsel a case disputed by current Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.
However, under the Constitution and established case law, a sitting President almost certainly cannot be criminally indicted, said Madison. The only remedy under the Constitution would be impeachment. If successfully impeached (which would require, realistically, at least 10-15 Republican Senators to stand up to the President), Trump could then be criminally prosecuted as a civilian defendant. Avenatti agreed that Trump would likely not be indicted, though Avenatti said he “would indict [Trump] and make the Supreme Court overrule me.”
Madison later asserted that the Trump scandal is “very similar to Watergate, but this is arguably worse because this involves Russia and the hostility they’ve expressed towards our country.”
Avenatti had a similar viewpoint, stating that “we know when, where, who, and how…What we don’t know is why. Why is this President choosing Russia over the United States?”
He and Madison do not think that we will have a President Trump by this time next year.
Mariana Magaña Gamero, Regional Policy Advocate at the Coalition for Human Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles (CHIRLA spoke about human rights and immigration under the Trump Administration.
Trump’s election in 2016 “immediately changed [CHIRLA’s] trajectory, platform and strategic plan for the next four years,” she said. Having dialogue with opposition groups was made more difficult for organizations like CHIRLA, because people were emboldened to take xenophobic positions on immigration policy. It was no longer a policy debate, but “trying to convince someone of a child’s humanity,” said Gamero.
Worsening immigration rights under the Trump administration should be of special importance to the LGBT community. “We’ve had some incidents where LGBT people were seeking asylum based on [oppression of the LGBT community in their home countries] and have been denied asylum,” Gamero told the Los Angeles Blade. “We also work with the LA LGBT Center to make that a prominent voice.”
Gamero also discussed SB54, the law making California a sanctuary state in 2017. The law was recently upheld as fully constitutional, but not without “racist, xenophobic rhetoric” at City Council meetings throughout California. SB54 is impactful because it provides “some disentanglement between ICE and local law enforcement,” says Gamero. “We want to make sure that our undocumented immigrant communities feel comfortable going to law enforcement and reporting crime. This makes our communities safer.”
On the topic of ICE, Gamero noted that July 26 was the federal court-imposed deadline for detained children to be reunified with their families. But the Trump administration has “failed miserably,” stated Gamero. There is currently no plan as to how reuniting families will happen, largely because many parents have already been deported. “How are you going to find those parents in countries where communications may not exist?”
Gamero stressed the importance and power of communicating directly with immigrants, undocumented or otherwise, in determining how they can best be assisted. “Our best guardian is to know your rights,” she said.
Duran agreed, expressing his “shame” at the state of American immigration policy and appealing that making immigrants feel welcome is of tantamount importance.
At the end of the event, Avenatti conveyed how critical vote in the November midterm elections in light of the absolute disaster that is the current Administration.
“We are in a battle for what the Republic stands for, not only domestically, but around the world,” said Avenatti.” This sentiment was met with great enthusiasm from the crowd, a type of enthusiasm that Democrats will need to win the battle of flipping the House and Senate in November.
Avenatti said he is willing to fight his battle himself, if necessary, in 2020. “If I do not get a sense that the Democratic Party has the right street fighter and the right person to go up against Donald Trump in the general election, I will absolutely run and I will defeat him – period,” Avenatti said.
“It’s too soon to worry about 2020,” Duran told the LA Blade, noting that there are other good possible presidential candidates such as LA Mayor Eric Garcetti and Sen. Kamala Harris, along with his pal Avenatti. “Personally, I’m focused on the next 100 days (until the Nov. 6 election). If the Democrats retake the House, Adam Schiff is Chair of the House Intelligence Committee with full subpoena powers and Maxine Waters is the Chair of the Banking Committee with full subpoena powers. It becomes a whole new game.”