Amid Kavanaugh Frenzy, Republicans Target Michael Avenatti as Villain

Michael Avenatti April 13, 2018 - Getty - H 2018
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"They see me as a large threat," the lawyer told The Hollywood Reporter after a day of attacks.

Infuriated by the increasingly perilous position of their Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh, the Republican Party is lashing out at the celebrity lawyer who upended the confirmation process on Wednesday by revealing the identity of a third woman accusing Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct.

Michael Avenatti, who entered the national landscape this spring with full-throated advocacy for his client Stormy Daniels, came forward on Wednesday as the attorney for Julie Swetnick. Swetnick alleged in a sworn affidavit that Kavanaugh was present during gang rapes that allegedly took place during high school parties they both attended.

President Donald Trump, who, shockingly, had never before attacked Avenatti on Twitter, called him "a third rate lawyer who is good at making false accusations." He added, "He is just looking for attention and doesn’t want people to look at his past record and relationships - a total low-life!" During a press conference early Wednesday evening at the U.N., the president called Avenatti a "con artist" with a "bad reputation."

Prominent Republicans followed Trump's lead in attacking Avenatti's character and trying to make his client's accusations a referendum on him.

"It’s laughable and transparent. They see me as a large threat," Avenatti said in an email to The Hollywood Reporter on Wednesday afternoon.

South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham took the bait, belittling Avenatti by name six times in a lengthy statement on the latest accusations. "The lawyer to porn stars has just taken this debacle to an even lower level," he said in part. "I am not going to be played, and I'm not going to have my intelligence insulted by the Michael Avenattis of the world."

The Republican National Committee blasted an email touting comments made by the party's chairwoman, Ronna Romney McDaniel, with the subject: "ICYMI: Chairwoman McDaniel: Michael Avenatti Is A Disgrace."

"Is it about Michael Avenatti or is it about the woman he's representing?" McDaniel said in an appearance on Fox News. "Because everything seems to be about Michael Avenatti. It’s all about him."

Avenatti, who has made hundreds of appearances on cable news over the last few months to talk about his client, Stephanie Clifford, and the president, promoted the Swetnick revelation in multiple appearances on MSNBC, CNN and ABC's The View