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Michael Avenatti says he won’t run for president

December 4, 2018

Trump nemesis Michael Avenatti announced Tuesday that he will not seek Democrats’ nomination to challenge President Trump in 2020.

Mr. Avenatti, whose legal crusades against the president and his agenda have foundered in recent months, said his decision was made out of “respect for my family.”

“But for their concerns, I would run,” he said.

He did not say what those concerns were.

He did say he will continue to be the lawyer for people with axes to grind against Mr. Trump, including Stormy Daniels, a pornography actress who claims to have had a sexual encounter with Mr. Trump years before his campaign.

And he said he was “concerned” that Democrats aren’t prepared to be nasty enough to fight back against Mr. Trump in 2020, saying he fears the party will nominate someone capable of being a good president, “but has no chance of actually beating Donald Trump.”

“We will not prevail in 2020 without a fighter. I remain hopeful the party finds one,” he said.

Mr. Avenatti had barely registered in polling, but had shown serious interest nonetheless in making a push for the White House, including visits to early-voting states.

The 47-year-old lawyer rose to prominence over the past two years by antagonizing Mr. Trump, first with Ms. Daniels and then by representing a woman who lodged stunning and uncorroborated rape allegations during the confirmation hearings of Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh.

Those allegations were so poorly drawn that the Senate Judiciary Committee has asked the Justice Department to prosecute Mr. Avenatti and his client for lying to Congress.

Meanwhile Ms. Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, lost her defamation lawsuit against Mr. Trump and now faces a bill of nearly $400,000 in lawyers fees from the president’s lawyers for losing that case.

Mr. Avenatti was also arrested last month on domestic violence charges in Los Angeles, though the county district attorney declined to file felony charges.

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