In an appearance on CNN’s “Anderson Cooper 360°” on Wednesday night Michael Avenatti, who is Stormy Daniels lawyer, said, “Anderson, I will tell you, these raids [on Trump attorney Michael Cohen’s office and hotel room] that occurred on Monday, they’re not the last raids. I know that for a fact. There are other raids that are contemplated. I anticipate them coming in — within the next week.”
Anderson Cooper then said, “You say you know that for a fact.I mean, the only way you would know that for a fact, I know you said that you had been contacted and Stormy Daniels is cooperating with officials from the Mueller investigation. Are you saying you have learned that from people you have –”
Avenatti: I’m not going to get into details as to where I learned that. But, look, I think our track record over the last five weeks relating to what I predicted, what we predicted is pretty damn good. And I stand behind it.
Cooper: So, you’re saying more raids to come?
Avenatti: I think we have only scratched the surface. I have the utmost confidence in the U.S. attorneys in the Southern District of New York office. They are the best and the brightest in the nation. They’re going to get to the bottom of this….”
Here is the conversation between Cooper and Avenatti that occurred earlier during Wednesday’s program (transcript courtesy CNN):
Avenatti: Anderson, I think this entire raid is centered around this $130,000 payment [to Stormy Daniels] and what the president knew and when he knew and what Michael Cohen did in connection with the $130,000 payment.
Cooper: You think that’s front and center?
Avenatti: I absolutely — look, I can’t get into the details, but I know it’s front and center, and I think it’s going to be a clean case ultimately. And it’s going to be far easier to prove than Russian collusion.
Cooper: But if the president did know about it, what is the — what’s the crime there?
Avenatti: Well, first of all, I think it’s highly unlikely that he did not know about it. You know, a lot of people have said that if the president did not arrange reimbursement, then he is, you know, basically scot-free, that there’s no issues.
I completely disagree. If it can be shown that the president knew that Michael Cohen paid this money and that he conspired with Michael Cohen or agreed with Michael Cohen, that it was going to be paid in such a way to not to report, pursuant to campaign finance requirements, that would be a felony. That would be a conspiracy potentially between —
Cooper: Because a lot of people have pointed to the idea that this was all about campaign finances, saying, well, look, that’s not such a big deal. You are saying it’s a felony, I mean, so that, you’re saying it is a big deal?
Avenatti: No, there’s no — there’s no question a big deal — it’s a big deal. I have seen panelists on various news program over the last 48 hours say, oh, you know, this campaign finance requirements, big deal. I mean, we are talking about felonies.
Cooper: But often times, campaign finance violations are just referred to — are basically end up being a fine.
Avenatti: Al Capone did not go down for murder, Anderson. Al Capone went down for tax evasion and this could very easily be a very similar situation. These campaign finance violations, if they occurred, I believe they did, if they occurred, they are easily proven. It would only require potentially Michael Cohen rolling over on the president.
And this is something that I have been saying for a couple of weeks now. I think that that is the target of these raids. That’s the target of this investigation. I don’t know what to make of this “Access Hollywood” tape, to the best of my knowledge, there’s been no reporting that suggests, or no facts to suggest that there was any change of money or any money in connection with this “Access Hollywood” tape.
Avenatti: The only focus as it relates to the “Access Hollywood” could be, you know, acts of thuggery, acts of intimidation. To the extent that Michael Cohen knew about this or the president knew about it and they attempted to strong-arm or intimidate people, to keep that from coming to light. That’s really the only aspect relating to the “Access Hollywood” tape.
Cooper: A couple of days ago, you talked about releasing a — I don’t know, what do you call it? An identification by Stormy Daniels, that you had a sketch artist do of this — the person she says threatened her in 2011 in a parking in Las Vegas. You intimated the other day that you weren’t going to do that, given the raid and things have changed.
Where are you on that now?
Avenatti: Well, as you know, when you interviewed her for “60 Minutes”, she described in detail this very serious threat back in 2011. Subsequent to that, my client sat down with Lois Gibson, who’s a foremost forensic artist in the world. A forensic sketch was produced.
We were on the verge of releasing that together with details concerning a reward. We were asked to delay that. This is a very dynamic situation.
Cooper: Can you say who you asked by?
Avenatti: I’m not at liberty to discuss that. But what I will say is, this is a very dynamic situation. A lot has happened in the last 48 hours.