It’s often difficult to figure out where Donald Trump’s head is at these days, because in so many ways, he no longer seems to be functioning. His morning Twitter rants are happening far less consistently. He has his two newly hired attorneys, Rudy Giuliani and Emmet Flood, simultaneously running opposite strategies. He basically just admitted that he’s taking Chinese bribes over a company called ZTE. Then there’s the one thing he hasn’t addressed.
If you want to know who or what Donald Trump fears the most at any given time, just take a look at who he’s not publicly attacking. Trump went the better part of a year without saying boo about Special Counsel Robert Mueller, and even when he does now occasionally rant about the Mueller investigation, he attacks everyone involved but Mueller. His hesitance to attack Mueller is a sign that he’s scared to death of Mueller. Accordingly, we now know that Trump is even more afraid of someone else.
It’s not Stormy Daniels, although Trump is afraid of her, and he has only ever very carefully criticized her. Instead it’s her lawyer he fears most. Michael Avenatti is a privately hired attorney who doesn’t have to play by the kinds of evidentiary rules that federal prosecutors do when they’re planning to put people on trial. Avenatti is free to try Trump in the court of public opinion, which he’s been doing of late in stunningly aggressive fashion. Avenatti has outed Trump for everything from the AT&T bribe, to the Trump Tower meeting between Michael Cohen, Michael Flynn, and a foreign operative tied to the Trump-Russia dossier.
Yet throughout all of this, Donald Trump has yet to even so much as publicly acknowledge that Michael Avenatti exists. Why? Simply put, Trump is afraid of him. Trump seems to think that if he publicly attacks the guy, the avalanche of evidence that Avenatti has been unleashing will get even worse – and Trump may be right about that.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report