Stormy Daniels’ lawyer Michael Avenatti made his first appearance on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert Wednesday night. Unfortunately, it was after Rudy Giuliani admitted to Sean Hannity that President Trump reimbursed his lawyer Michael Cohen for his infamous $130,000 hush payment to Daniels.
“I am stunned and speechless,” he said after that news broke Wednesday night. “If this is accurate, the American people have been lied to and deceived for months. And justice must be served.”
But Avenatti did come armed with a bombshell of his own. “It’s absurd to suggest that an attorney would advance $130,000 for somebody from a personal home equity loan, never tell him about it—not just anyone, but a billionaire running for president—never seek reimbursement, never tell him about it. It’s just absurd, it’s ridiculous, nobody believes that.”
“What if they’re a terrible attorney?” Stephen Colbert asked in response. “What if he’s just really bad it his job?”
After agreeing with the host’s premise, Avenatti presented a brand-new piece of evidence in his case against the president. “This is a copy of the incoming wire receipt from Ms. Daniels’ prior counsel showing the origin of the $130,000,” he told Colbert. Avenatti pointed out that the payment came from the San Francisco branch of the company Michael Cohen created for this purpose, meaning that if California’s Attorney General Xavier Becerra were to bring charges against Cohen, Trump would not be able to pardon him.
“That could take away his ‘get out of jail free’ card right there,” Colbert said, to which Avenatti said, “Absolutely.”
When Avenatti first sat down with Colbert, the host joked, “Now, I don’t want you to be nervous if you’ve never been on TV before, these are just cameras.” Noting that Avenatti has appeared on CNN more than 60 times, he asked, “Is that part of the strategy of the case, to constantly be on camera, constantly be on this show or other shows to keep the pressure on the president?”
“I mean you’re dealing with a defendant that’s very undisciplined, can be easily baited into making mistakes, and I think we’ve been very, very successful in doing just that,” Avenatti said. “And we’re going to keep doing what we’re doing.”
Colbert then grilled Avenatti on the “purpose” of his case against the president. “I believe you said that the public has a right to know the truth and to decide the truth,” he said. “Why do we have a right to know this? Let’s say, in a fantasy world of your creation, that it’s possible the president is occasionally not faithful to his wife. If that were true, which I don’t for a minute believe, why would we have the right to know that?”
Avenatti insisted that the case is “not about the sex,” but rather “it’s about the public’s right to know about the cover-up and the lies and the deceit that has occurred relating to this $130,000 payment, and what the president knew and when he knew it and what he lied about.”
Asked later if he thinks Trump is currently throwing Cohen “under the bus,” Avenatti said, “It’s clear to them that he’s going to flip on the president and they’re nervous about what he might say, so they want to undercut his credibility.”
The lawyer also maintained his theory that Trump will be forced to resign before the end of his first term. Despite Colbert’s assessment that Trump has no “shame,” Avenatti said, “I don’t think the president is going to be able to withstand the heat at the end of the day.”