During an interview, the attorney for the adult film star who claims to have had an affair with Trump made a pretty bold prediction. Namely, Michael Avenatti, Stormy Daniels' lawyer, predicted Trump won't finish his first term, and he's clearly not afraid to say so. Trump has denied the alleged affair with Daniels.
The 47-year-old attorney who's been representing Daniels in her ongoing legal battle against Michael Cohen ― the personal attorney of President Donald Trump ― made the claim to MSNBC host Nicole Wallace on Thursday, and subsequently expanded on it when she questioned him. Avenatti has not been shy about speaking to the national media about his client's case, especially since Cohen, who Daniels is suing for defamation, was named as the target of a criminal investigation by the Department of Justice earlier this month. Specifically, the department said that Cohen has been under investigation for months, although Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein reportedly told Trump this week that he (the president) is not a target of that investigation.
Regardless, it's clear that Avenatti believes Trump would be right to be fearful. Noting that he predicted Cohen would be indicted weeks ago ― although that has not happened as of yet ― Avenatti further argued that he believes Cohen will "flip" on the president, opening the commander in chief up to legal peril.
"I think three weeks ago I said that ultimately [Cohen] was going to be indicted, and he was going to flip on the president, I was the first one to call it," Avenatti said. "Now, people that are close to the president are telling him the same thing." On Wednesday, Politico reported that some Trump allies are concerned Cohen might cooperate with federal authorities, and could therefore pose a legal threat to Trump.
Avenatti then gave his own controversial prediction, claiming that he believed Trump would fail to finish out the first term of his presidency.
"I'm going to make a prediction now: I do not think the president will serve out his term,” he told Wallace. “I just don't." Avenatti also praised Wallace following his appearance, calling her "always prepared, insightful, and super smart" in a tweet.
Trump has consistently denied any wrongdoing relating to the ongoing investigation by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, and has been similarly vehement in denying any wrongdoing relating to Cohen. He's repeatedly called Mueller's Russia investigation "fake news" and a "hoax," as well as a "witch hunt." Following the news that Cohen's office, home, and hotel room had been raided by federal authorities, Trump tweeted that "attorney-client privilege is dead!"
Predicting that a president won't finish out their term, absent of any health-related reasons, is essentially arguing that they'll be impeached and removed from office or resign. The former, it must be said, is extremely unlikely in the current age of hyper-polarized politics.
The impeachment process starts in the House of Representatives and only requires a majority vote to proceed, which if the Democratic Party regains control in the 2018 midterms could be feasible. For a president to actually be removed from office, however, the Senate has to vote to do so by a two-thirds majority.
Because there are only 35 seats up for election this year, and 26 are already held by Democrats, there is literally no way for the them to gain enough votes in the Senate to accomplish this on a party-line vote. Rather, any effort to remove Trump from office would demand the support of multiple Republican senators. Thanks to Trump's enduring popularity among the GOP base, that would, by any analysis, be a very difficult hurdle to clear. According to recent poll by Gallup, Trump still enjoys an approval rating of approximately 85 percent among self-identified Republicans.
That said, Avenatti is clearly not fearful of climbing out on a limb. He's been particularly vocal about his client's case against Cohen on social media, and his signature hashtag at the end of every tweet is #basta ― "enough" in both Spanish and Italian. Despite his bold prognostication, however, it's still totally unclear whether enough Republicans in Congress will ever say "enough" for his prediction to come true.