Stormy Daniels's Lawyer Brings Protest to Front of White House


(Bloomberg) -- Michael Avenatti, the outspoken lawyer for the adult film star Stephanie Clifford, took his anti-Trump campaign almost to the president’s doorstep on Tuesday, with a small but noisy demonstration outside the White House.

As protesters blew whistles and banged drums, Avenatti and other speakers on Pennsylvania Avenue opposite the executive mansion’s North Lawn focused on statements that President Donald Trump made at his summit with Vladimir Putin in Helsinki on Monday.

The event Tuesday night was supposed to be held in Lafayette Square, the setting for many protests against the Vietnam War, but moved closer to the White House grounds, so close that the Secret Service shooed people back.

The president had been criticized by lawmakers on both sides of the aisle for failing to condemn Russia over its meddling in the 2016 election. Trump responded to the controversy on Tuesday, saying that a grammatical error made it seem like he sided with Russia over the U.S. intelligence community.

“Donald Trump was not one grammatical mistake away from having a coherent foreign policy,” said Philippe Reines, an organizer of the protest. Reines, a political consultant, was on the staff of Hillary Clinton when she was secretary of state.

Clifford, whose stage name is Stormy Daniels, has sued Trump and his former personal attorney, Michael Cohen, to get out of a $130,000 “hush agreement” she signed in October 2016 to keep silent about what she said was a sexual encounter with Trump more than a decade ago.

She’s being represented by Avenatti, who has often taken to television to advance the case, and express his distaste for Trump.

Avenatti didn’t mention his famous client or her lawsuit when he spoke to the crowd, but in a brief interview he tried to draw a connection between that case and Trump’s dealings with Russia. “I think, in all instances, it shows a complete lack of respect for the rule of law and he thinks he’s above the law and he has for a very long time,” Avenatti said.

Actress and activist Alyssa Milano, made a surprise appearance, calling on the crowd to “go home and volunteer for a campaign office” to assist Democrats in upcoming midterm elections.

Trump tweeted about his Helsinki statements during the protest, saying “the meeting between President Putin and myself was a great success, except in the Fake News Media!”

©2018 Bloomberg L.P.

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