Anyone who closely followed the first lady’s border visit Thursday would have noticed that Trump does appear to care about the fate of the children she was visiting. It was not a strictly congratulatory trip. The questions Trump asked indicated genuine concern, not indifference, such as how often the children were permitted to call their parents
.. Like past first ladies, she is more popular than the president, and she seems to have a greater ability to influence public opinion of her husband among political independents and members of the opposite party, even when compared with key surrogates such as Ivanka Trump and Vice President Pence.
Those advantages come from the flexibility first ladies are afforded by their role, which allows them to stay out of partisan debates and restrict their public appearances, all the while benefiting from unfettered access to presidents and perceived closeness to them.
.. For someone who has been involved in the fashion industry and the public eye for decades, Trump, like her husband, can be surprisingly careless about her public image at times. This would be surprising in any presidential spouse, and it’s no less so coming from one who’s a former model. If anything, the words on her jacket seem to speak to a lack of interest in the role she fills.
.. In the modern era, the East Wing has developed into an intensely strategic and media-conscious operation that serves to garner positive press coverage for the president and his policy agenda. But Melania Trump’s East Wing has not yet hit its stride in this regard, despite its abundant potential to do so.
That setback in 2012 now serves as a parable of resilience in the legend Avenatti has been crafting about himself — both with a string of multimillion-dollar jury verdicts and with his brash, almost nonstop cable news appearances.
.. It is another big bet for an attorney with an enormous appetite for risk whose roster of courthouse adversaries includes mega-corporations, as well as celebrities, such as Paris Hilton and Jim Carrey.
“He is an adrenaline junkie,” says Jonathan Turley, who taught Avenatti at George Washington University’s law school and has stayed in touch since his former student earned his law degree. “I think he needs that adrenaline rush. He lives his life aggressively. In both litigation and in life he shows a certain aggressive style.”
.. The next he’s delving into entrepreneurial pursuits, such as buying Tully’s, a struggling Seattle coffee-shop chain, or blasting around a track while competing as a driver in a professional racecar circuit, sometimes hitting speeds of up to 195 MPH. The main photograph on his website depicts him in a race suit, rather than a business suit.
.. “Initially, I was very skeptical about getting involved because I, much like many Americans, had preconceived notions about Stormy Daniels and her motivations and what she is all about,” Avenatti says.
It took him only about 20 minutes to decide that she was credible, he says, although he won’t reveal what led him to that conclusion.
.. Avenatti’s foil in the Daniels melodrama has been Trump’s lawyer, Michael Cohen, as much as the president.
.. Avenatti has been daring Cohen to appear on television with him to discuss the case. He recently used an enlarged photograph of Cohen as a propduring a contentious appearance on CNN with Cohen’s attorney, David Schwartz.
.. But Avenatti is arguing a broader case about the integrity of the president and his legal team — and drawing from a well-honed playbook of using media appearances as an integral part of his strategy.
.. Brian Panish, a prominent plaintiffs attorney who has worked on cases with Avenatti, compares his former colleague to William Ginsburg, Monica Lewinsky’s attorney famous for appearing on all the Sunday talk shows on the same day during President Clinton’s White House-intern sex scandal. It spawned the term “the full Ginsburg.”
.. his father was unexpectedly laid off, and the son went to work to earn tuition money by doing opposition political research on Republicans and Democrats for a firm owned by Rahm Emanuel
.. His cases included a $10 million defamation lawsuit, which ended in a confidential settlement, that he filed on behalf of a socialite client against Paris Hilton. He was also on the team of lawyers who sued Trump and the producer of “The Apprentice” on behalf a man who said they stole his idea for the hit show. The case ended in a settlement.
.. Avenatti says he’s been lead counsel on $1 billion worth of verdicts and settlements. The biggest, by far, came last year when he won a $454 million jury verdict in a case against Kimberly-Clark and Halyard Health related to claims that the companies knowingly sold defective surgical gowns that were not impermeable to Ebola and HIV, despite representations that they were.
.. Avenatti has also been engaged in a heated financial dispute with a former law partner who’d sued saying he was owed millions in unpaid fees. At a court hearing , a lawyer for one side characterized the level of acrimony as “unbelievable.” But the partners have now settled the case and are back on speaking terms, and Avenatti — employing a few four-letter words, as he is wont to do — says the portrayal of the squabble has been “overblown.”
Why is one of the most ambitious lawmakers in Washington retiring from Congress?
In the political world, to Chaffetz means to throw a former mentor under the bus in order to get ahead, and various prominent Republicans, from former Utah governor and presidential candidate Jon Huntsman Jr. to House Majority Leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy, have experienced what it’s like to get Chaffetzed.
.. Chaffetz, who on Thursday said he might not finish out his term, has been considered a contender for Utah governor in 2020 and perhaps one day for the presidency.
.. The once-brash congressional inquisitor has twisted himself into a pretzel trying to explain why he hasn’t been investigating President Trump, the most conflict-ridden commander-in-chief in modern US history.
.. after graduating he went to work for a local multilevel marketing company—think Amway—called Nu Skin, where he worked in PR.
.. allegations that the company was operating as a pyramid scheme. (The company has been Chaffetz’s biggest campaign donor.)
.. He worked briefly in the coal industry, unsuccessfully applied to join the Secret Service, and eventually started a marketing firm with his brother called Maxtera.
.. the former place-kicker campaigned largely on a harsh, anti-immigration platform.
.. leg wrestling Stephen Colbert on the Colbert Report.
.. a media charm offensive that would make Chaffetz popular among journalists, whom he cultivated assiduously by passing out his personal cellphone number to reporters and accepting almost any interview request. It’s all about “old-fashioned human relationships,” he told National Journal in 2015. “You’ve got to get out there and invest the time. Work with the media!”
.. a House Republican strategy session and told the assembled members, “I am your worst nightmare.” He explained how the advent of social media had allowed him to bypass the mainstream media and, with very little funding, knock off an establishment candidate.
.. Chaffetz may have underestimated Hatch, whose mild-mannered exterior belies a ruthless political operator. There’s a reason he’s served longer than any Republican senator since Strom Thurmond.
.. There was a bit of information they were going to disclose if he ran. Things were going to get ugly.
.. Chaffetz stapled himself to Mitt Romney, serving as a regular campaign surrogate for the failed GOP presidential nominee, whom he endorsed over his former mentor, Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr.
.. Chaffetz, now running for reelection in 2012, quickly found other ways to nab the spotlight. Before the FBI had secured the Benghazi compound following the September 11 attacks that killed Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans, Chaffetz demanded to visit the scene in his capacity as the chairman of the House oversight subcommittee on national security and foreign operations. He dashed off to Libya less than a month later—without any Democrats, as the oversight committee’s policy dictates—to supposedly conduct an independent investigation.
.. The closest he got to the crime scene was Tripoli, 400 miles away.
Chaffetz, who had previously voted to cut $300 million from the State Department’s budget for embassy security, claimed the purpose of his trip was to discern whether the Obama administration had denied requests for more security for the Benghazi compound.
.. He launched a campaign to win the chairmanship of the House oversight committee, then run by the bellicose Rep. Darrell Issa
.. Chaffetz campaigned for the chairmanship as the anti-Issa, implicitly critiquing the oversight chairman’s combative style and suggesting that he could bring to the committee an element of media savvy that Issa lacked. Once again, Chaffetz stabbed a mentor in the back and won.
.. one of his first moves was taking down the portraits of past chairmen, including Issa, that hung in the hearing room. Issa was not pleased. “It’s not a big deal, but it’s just indicative of what his mindset was and how self-centered he is,”
.. Fellow lawmakers, Bardella notes, were repelled that “Jason would be so willing to throw under the bus someone who really tried to help mentor him, for his own gain.”
.. He’d chaired the oversight committee for less than a year before launching an audacious bid for speaker of the House when John Boehner retired. Aside from being a very junior member of Congress, Chaffetz’s bid for the speakership also meant he would be running against his friend and former champion, Rep. Kevin McCarthy.
.. threatening to impeach the head of the IRS over his handling of the nonprofit status of tea party groups and suggesting there might be grounds to remove President Barack Obama from office over Benghazi.
.. HRC, a.k.a. Hillary Rodham Clinton, would have been good for Chaffetz’s political fortunes, however.
.. These listening sessions are typically subdued affairs, but this one drew hundreds of angry constituents, who demanded to know why the chairman of the House oversight committee was not doing more to investigate President Trump.
.. I think he used the fact that he could investigate an administration of an opposing party to his advantage during the Obama years that allowed him to be in front of the cameras repeatedly, and to be seen as pursuing the interests of the Republican Party. But I think what has people, or at least some people, in his district concerned is the appearance of a double standard, that he was very eager to investigate Hillary Clinton and has been extremely hesitant to pursue serious questions about the Trump administration.”
.. Evan McMullin, who launched his anti-Trump effort in Utah, had suggested he might consider challenging Chaffetz or Hatch.
.. “He has almost the perfect rainbow of hate. Liberals will never think he’s doing enough in that position. And of course the alt-right may think anything he does against President Trump is feeding into this frenzy against their president. It has put him in a place where it’s very tough to do right by anyone.”
.. Chaffetz, a canny political operator, has surely read the tea leaves, wagering that it is in his best interests to sit out the bruising political fights of the Trump administration’s first term lest Trump bring Chaffetz down with him.
.. he may take the path of other high-profile members of Congress and nab a lucrative contract with one of the networks, where he can maintain his visibility, build up his bank account, and bide his time for the right moment to get back in the political game.
.. his campaign committee registered the domains Jason2028.com and JasonChaffetz2028.com.