By Cillian Zeal
Avenatti is either telling a very salacious tale or is a very connected
man, because he seems to appear on cable news about as often as I eat
meals. I’m going to assume it’s probably some confluence between the
two, since Stormy Daniels’ lawyer has been a ubiquitous presence on
television since early this year. But it appears as if Avenatti’s connections don’t
stop with the media. They go well beyond that, and they tie him to a
major Clinton Foundation donor and one of the professors that the Trump
dossier hinges upon.
rich and connected people tend to also know other rich and connected
people, this isn’t just guilt by association. There’s currently a great deal of speculation
about where Avenatti got the money to represent Daniels — and while he
claims he got it from crowdfunding and Daniels herself, there’s a fair
amount of doubt regarding this.
Avenatti, 47, is known
to be an avid sports car racer, even having raced at the 24 Hours of Le
Mans in 2015. One of his co-drivers in that event was none other than
Abdulaziz bin Turki Al Saud, a member of the Saudi royal family:
Al Saud is not just any member of the royal family. He is the son of
Prince Turki bin Faisal Al Saud, who led Saudi Arabia’s intelligence at
the time of the 9/11 attacks. Turki also a big fan of the Clinton
Foundation, as foreign eminences tended to be before Nov. 8, 2016.
Turki al-Faisal, a former ambassador to the U.S. and member of the
Saudi royal family who has attended annual meetings of the Clinton
Global Initiative, made donations in 2013 and 2014, though exact dates
aren’t available,” the Wall Street Journal
reported in 2015. The Journal also reported that Turki had met Bill
Clinton when both were studying at Georgetown. At the time of the
article, Turki’s staff declined to comment on the donations or his
relationship with either Clinton. We also now know that Clinton’s
campaign had paid for Fusion GPS to assemble the Trump dossier. Part of
the dossier focused on Joseph Mifsud,
a mysterious Maltese professor who allegedly has links to the Kremlin
and told former Trump adviser George Papadopoulos about “dirt” Russia
may have on Hillary Clinton.
A relatively flamboyant
figure during his time in academia (particularly given a dearth of
intelligent work on his part), Mifsud has gone into hiding since the Trump dossier was released. During a long and sketchy academic career, the BBC
reports that one of Mifsud’s jobs was in Riyadh, where he was under a
Saudi think-tank led by none other than Prince Turki al Faisal.
connection: The Saudi Prince tied to Avenatti is also connected to
Joseph Misfud, who is the professor linked to the supposed origins of
the "Trump-Russia" dossier. Mifsud worked for al-Faisal's Riyadh-based
— Jordan Schachtel (@JordanSchachtel) May 13, 2018
doesn’t necessarily link Avenatti directly to the Clinton Foundation
nor does it link the Clinton Foundation to Mifsud’s participation in the
Trump dossier. But it raises serious questions about when Avenatti was
the recipient of an awful lot of data that your average lawyer wouldn’t
In a piece for The Hill
last week, Op-Ed contributor Mark Penn questioned just how Avenatti had
come across the “detailed financial information” to file a report on
money received by Trump lawyer Michael Cohen, arguing that “he didn’t
find it on Google.” “This is the kind of information that would have
been known only by the Treasury Department, his banks or by prosecutors,
raising some serious questions about what kind of operation Avenatti is
running. Is there a team of people digging this up? Are they paying off
sources? Is Fusion GPS involved?” Penn wrote.
An awful lot of
questions about Avenatti’s sudden rise to media cynosure need to be
answered, and they don’t stop with where his money came from. Avenatti claims
he’s received payment for the Daniels case from the porn star herself
and from crowdfunding, although Daniels has previously said she isn’t
paying for her representation and crowdfunding generally doesn’t buy the
kind of enthusiasm and omnipresence Avenatti has brought to the case.
there any connection to the Clinton Foundation or Fusion GPS? It could
simply be randomness, but some sort of legitimate connection is far from
out of the question, especially given the quality of opposition
research Avenatti — heretofore mostly a high-end cultural ambulance
chaser — seems to have been able to dredge up. For all of his
loquaciousness, Avenatti seems loath to discuss details about how he got
involved in the case and who’s paying for him.
questions we wouldn’t mind having answered in a little more detail the
next time that he makes one of his many appearances on CNN. If this were
a lawyer associated with Trump and these kind of connections had
surfaced regarding the Saudi royal family and Mifsud, the mainstream
media would be all over this, particularly if said lawyer was
practically camping out on their newsroom floor.
It’s time for the media to step up and do its job.