Democratic senator says he would not support Avenatti for president

Democratic senator says he would not support Avenatti for president
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Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) became the first Democratic lawmaker on Friday to say he would not support attorney Michael Avenatti for president.

Avenatti, who is representing adult-film star Stormy Daniels in her lawsuits against the president and his former lawyer Michael Cohen, said this week that he is exploring a run against President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump says he will 'temporarily hold off' on declaring Mexican drug cartels as terror organization House Judiciary Committee formally receives impeachment report Artist behind gold toilet offered to Trump sells banana duct-taped to a wall for 0,000 MORE.

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"I’m exploring a run for the presidency of the United States," Avenatti told The Des Moines Register before speaking at the Iowa Democratic Wing Ding fundraiser, a top target for presidential contenders.

"I wanted to come to Iowa and listen to people and learn about some issues that are facing the citizens of Iowa and do my homework," he added.

Blumenthal told CNN's Erin Burnett on Friday that he would not support Avenatti unless the attorney could demonstrate qualities beyond "showmanship."

“I would not support Michael Avenatti for president of the United States,” Blumenthal said. "I'm not sure I would support him for any political office unless he could demonstrate knowledge of the issues."

Blumenthal also appeared to take shots at Avenatti's legal record on behalf of his client, Daniels, who alleges that Trump and Cohen defamed her and is also trying to void a nondisclosure agreement over what she says was a 2006 affair with the president.

"He has done very well for his client, less so maybe on the legal front," Blumenthal added.

Many have speculated that Avenatti is preparing a bid for the White House based on his criticism of the president and number of public appearances, both on behalf of Daniels and on unrelated issues. The attorney said Thursday that the Democratic Party needs a "fighter" to defeat Trump in 2020.

"I think there’s a huge appetite within the party for a fighter," Avenatti said. "I think the party has yearned for a fighter — a fighter for good, if you will — for a significant period of time. And for many, I’m probably seen as that individual."