Once described as “the [Hillary] Clinton staffer who has devoted his life to her cause,” campaign advisor Adam Parkhomenko is jumping ship, leaving behind the dead-in-the-water Democrat in search of smoother sailing. Parkhomenko, a 33-year-old political consultant, believes he may have found the candidate to lead Democrats to the White House in 2020 and is now throwing his weight behind combative porn lawyer Michael Avenatti.
The politically-savvy Parkhomenko believes that he has discovered in Avenatti the one candidate who can stand up to President Donald Trump. The Tom Ford-wearing attorney who seems to wear a perpetual grimace is best known for representing client Stormy Daniels in a legal battle over a 2016 hush-money agreement.
Avenatti quickly rose to prominence among liberal never-Trumpers for taking on the president in a months-long, twice-daily media tour that never seemed to end. He has positioned himself as the one Democrat with the willpower and fortitude to stand up to Trump ahead of a 2020 presidential race that promises to be crowded with Democratic contenders.
“He’s kind of like Teflon,” Parkhomenko told the Washington Examiner.
However, Avenatti’s ability to walk away from controversy with his political reputation intact is yet to be seen. The in-your-face attorney took heat from bipartisan corners last month for saying that the Democratic candidate to take on Trump “better be a white male.”
“This man is a clown,” wrote not-so-black Black Lives Matter activist Shaun King. “He’s Better Call Saul. And now we are learning he’s also a sexist bigot.”
“Michael Avenatti is not a Democrat, he is an Ambulance Chasing Opportunist,” wrote Jess Morales Rocketto, chairwoman of the Families Belong Together immigrant rights coalition.
October was full of surprises for Avenatti in other ways, too. The Senate Judiciary Committee referred Avenatti and his client Julie Swetnick to the Justice Department for an investigation over questionable accusations she leveled last month against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.
Avenatti is accused of turning the committee proceedings into a circus after his litigious client made unsupported allegations of repeated gang rape that, in retrospect, don’t stand up to scrutiny. But October wasn’t over for Avenatti, yet.
On Oct. 15, a federal judge dismissed a defamation lawsuit brought by Avenatti and Daniels against the president, and ordered that they pay Trump’s legal fees in the case. A week later, Avenatti lost another court battle and was forced to pay $4.85 million to a former colleague from his California law firm.
Yet, the series of recent defeats hasn’t dissuaded Parkhomenko from supporting the porn-lawyer-turned-presidential-contender. “There are a lot of campaigns that aren’t effective, don’t fight back, and just hire a bunch of their friends,” Parkhomenko said. “He’s doing everything he needs to do to flip a light switch if he decides to run.”
The way Parkhomenko describes his relationship with Avenatti, the pair sound more like a married couple than political co-conspirators. The political consultant said he calls Avenatti some 10 to 15 times a day to strategize on his political future.
Parkhomenko also dismissed rumors that his former client was planning to run — again — in 2020. “I don’t think she’s going to run. She hasn’t said anything to the contrary to me about potentially running again. She’s a client of mine, and I work with her on who she is endorsing and supporting,” Parkhomenko said.
Describing both of his clients, Parkhomenko said that he sees similarities between the pair. “I think she has always been a fighter. She has been attacked relentlessly, the same thing with him. I think a lot of us felt people didn’t get to see who she really is, which is a great person. There are some similarities,” he said.