MSNBC Host to Avenatti: You Often Dance Around Questions, Don't Reveal What You Really Know

May 30, 2018

MSNBC host Craig Melvin remarked to attorney Michael Avenatti Wednesday that he often dances around questions and isn't fulsome in his responses.

Avenatti represents Stormy Daniels, the adult film actress who said she received a $130,000 hush payment from Donald Trump's lawyer Michael Cohen regarding a sexual encounter she had with Trump in 2006. Cohen appeared in federal court Wednesday over an investigation regarding his business dealings, and Avenatti said Cohen had tapes of his conversations that included audio of Trump.

Avenatti, an outspoken and ubiquitous cable news guest, appeared on MSNBC where he compared the "bombshell" tapes to the ones that brought down Richard Nixon during the Watergate scandal.

"These tapes should be released in full to the American people and the Congress, so that people can judge them for themselves and decide what appropriate action to take," he said.

He said he had "every reason to believe" the tapes include communications between Cohen and Trump and have nothing to do with legal advice, saying they wouldn't be privileged.

"You know what's on the tapes," Melvin said.

"I'm not going to get into what I know or what I don't know," Avenatti said. "Here's what I know. This is a bombshell, and the importance of this cannot be overstated."

"The president's voice is on the tapes?" Melvin asked.

"That's our understanding," Avenatti said.

Avenatti also claimed Daniels' former attorney, Keith Davidson, can be heard on the tapes discussing privileged communications he had with Daniels.

"This whole thing appears to stink," Avenatti said.

Melvin harkened back to Avenatti's comparison of the audio to the Nixon tapes.

"You recognize that's a pretty startling assertion to a lot of folks who might be listening or watching," Melvin said.

"I understand that, but let's release the tapes," Avenatti said.

Avenatti went on to call the matter a "considerable conspiracy and coverup" involving Trump, Cohen and others.

"We know that this is dirty. We know it's ugly, and it's getting more ugly by the day," Avenatti said.

"You know that because you know what's on the tapes," Melvin said.

"Again, I've already answered that question," Avenatti said.

"You haven't answered the question. You danced around the question as only Michael Avenatti could do, but I think we've got a pretty good sense that you've got a decent idea of what's on the tapes," Melvin said.

Melvin said he often got the impression with Avenatti that he knows more than he lets on during interviews, to which the lawyer responded he has a "strategy" for how he represents his client and releases information.