Chuck Todd: Michael Avenatti Is ‘Probably the Best Thing to Happen to Brett Kavanaugh’

• October 5, 2018 8:14 pm


MSNBC host Chuck Todd said Friday that Michael Avenatti, the outspoken attorney representing one of the women who accused Brett Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct, is "probably the best thing to happen to" the Supreme Court nominee.

"Michael Avenatti is probably the best thing to happen to Brett Kavanaugh," Todd said on "MTP Daily." "All these Democrats that have been flirting with him, they've got to really be embarrassed by him now."

Todd was leading a panel discussion on Sen. Susan Collins' (R., Maine) announcement earlier Friday that she will vote to confirm Kavanaugh. Collins, who had been the last undecided Republican vote on Kavanaugh's confirmation, criticized Avenatti and his client in a speech on the Senate floor.

"Some of the allegations levied against Judge Kavanaugh illustrate why the presumption of innocence is so important," Collins said. "I am thinking in particular not of the allegations raised by Professor [Christine Blasey] Ford, but of the allegation that when he was a teenager, Judge Kavanaugh drugged multiple girls and used this weakened state to participate in gang rape. This outlandish allegation was put forward without any supporting evidence and simply parroted in the public statements of others."

"That such an allegation can find its way into the Supreme Court confirmation process is a stark reminder about why the presumption of innocence is so ingrained in our American consciousness," Collins added.

Avenatti responded by attacking Collins on Twitter.

Avenatti, whose name has been floated as a potential Democratic presidential candidate in 2020, represents Julie Swetnick, who alleges that Kavanaugh was involved in efforts to "gang rape" girls in high school. Swetnick claims that Kavanaugh was present at a party during which she was a victim of gang rape.

Kavanaugh has denied Swetnick's allegations, which lack any corroboration. Swetnick appeared to walk back some of her claims in an interview with NBC News, and media outlets and legal analysts have treated her allegations with skepticism.

"It diluted Dr. Ford, whatever you might think," Todd said. "Something about Michael Avenatti might have cheapened the whole thing."

"It was also the Deborah Ramirez allegation," added panelist Sara Fagen, former political director in the George W. Bush White House. "By her own account, [she] wasn't initially certain it was Brett … decided it was Brett after thinking about it. The New York Times, to their credit, wouldn't publish it."

Ramirez alleges that Kavanaugh exposed himself to her when they were students at Yale University. Kavanaugh denies the allegation.

"Twenty years ago, no major news publications would have even published … the second allegation or the third allegation," Fagen said, referring to Ramirez and Swetnick's accusations, respectively. "We are now in a different place in this country, where the message out of #MeToo, which has a very important message for society, has become conflated with politics, which is that ‘by any means necessary we can score a political win.'"

"You know, some of those allegations, I feel like most of those were actually leaked from the [Senate] Judiciary Committee and may have been leaked by people intentionally trying to dilute things," Todd said.

Dr. Christine Blasey Ford was the other woman to accuse Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct. She alleges that, at a high school party in the early 1980s, Kavanaugh drunkenly pinned her down to a bed, groped, her, and tried to take off her clothes. The Supreme Court nominee also denies Ford' allegation.

Both Ford and Ramirez's claims are uncorroborated.

Avenatti has also represented porn star Stormy Daniels in a legal case against Donald Trump and has been an outspoken critic of the president.