Brave CNN talking head admits on Avenatti, ‘‘I feel kind of snookered because I took him seriously’
So far, only one prominent MSM television pundit has passed the test of basic integrity that the guilty verdict against Michael Avenatti poses for his former fanboys and fangirls on CNN, MSNBC, and the alphabet networks. Jeffrey Toobin, CNN’s legal analyst, admitted to Anderson Cooper, who uttered no a peep of his own personal regret. The entire five and a half minute interview and transcript are embedded below, but go to 3 minutes and 46 seconds to see Toobin admit, “And frankly, you know, I feel kind of snookered, because I took him seriously,’ followed shortly thereafter by Cooper seeming to defend the coverage, stating,
“Well, I mean he was -- I mean, prior to even this Stormy Daniels story, he had won a large judgment in a class action lawsuit, I think it was, in California.”
(The complete transcript, via Real Clear Politics, appears at the end of this blog.)
The mainstream media’s slobbering embrace of Avenatti, up to and including touting him as presidential timber, damns the rest of them as reckless and shallow haters, willing to ignore obvious signs that the man was the sort of crook a federal jury in New York just found him to be. Tucker Carlson had no trouble seeing through the charlatan, dubbing him the “creepy porn lawyer,” and hammering him relentlessly. Katie Couric’s attack on Fox News as an ”alternative universe” only reveals that the universe she calls her own is full of gullible and lying figures.
The Washington Free Beacon has a delightful compilation of MSM fools making idiots of themselves with fulsome praise of the felonious fraud:
Unfortunately missing from this admirable selection is purported conservative Ana Navarro toying with blasphemy as well as idiocy, comparing Avenatti to the Holy Spirit.
Ana Navarro to Avenatti:— Daily Caller (@DailyCaller) February 14, 2020
“You're like the Holy Spirit. You are all places at all times”pic.twitter.com/FwUPhl0jqo
CNN’s media analyst Brian Stelter, seen on the Free Beacon video taking Avenatti “seriously” as a presidential candidate, still can’t bring himself to fess up. Caleb Howe of Mediaite cites his email newsletter for adopting the familiar “Republicans pounce” pose, making the story about mean conservatives exploiting an issue, rather than his own stunning gullibility and foolishness:
But Avenatti conviction gave right-wing outlets a cause to celebrate
Darcy sends one more: The right-wing media universe might have been reeling from the DOJ’s McCabe decision, but it soon started celebrating over another legal story: Michael Avenatti’s conviction. The Avenatti story was the top story Friday afternoon on websites like Fox News, Breitbart, Newsmax, and others. Breitbart teased how much time he might serve in their homepage headline. Fox (predictably) characterized Avenatti as a “media darling.” Other right-wing personalities did the same, zinging not only Avenatti but news organizations for having given him so much air time back when the Stormy Daniels story was dominating headlines.
Note the scare quotes around “media darling.” (Predictably) the implication from is that Avenatti was no media darling at all. Perhaps he should tell that to ‘s or The View’s graphics department (see above) or … anyone in that video montage at all.
Here is the complete transcript of Toobin’s brave (and so far lonely) mea culpa:
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN: It's difficult to imagine a more dramatic fall than this. With me now, CNN's chief legal analyst, Jeffrey Toobin. An old-fashioned shakedown is what they were calling it.
JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN CHIEF LEGAL ANALYST: You know, I -- today, I was thinking of -- I'm sure many people remember, he was on CNN a lot of times.
COOPER: I did stories, not just the Stormy Daniels interview, that he was -- that he was part of, I did previous stories with him on "60 Minutes," on other cases.
TOOBIN: And I got to know him. And I remember once at the peak of all of this, we went to lunch in Midtown, when our offices were in Midtown, and we walked back together to CNN, and it was like walking with a major, major celebrity. People came up to him, it's like, you know, go for it. Go get Trump. You know, he had this hashtag bossta. People remember that.
And at the peak of this, he even announced he was considering running for president and he went to Iowa, he went to New Hampshire. And to call it hubris is not even -- doesn't do it justice. I mean the craziness of this. And when you look at this case and the three cases -- he's 48 years old, he could be looking at decades in prison.
TOOBIN: Oh yes.
COOPER: So there's this case which -- I mean Polo Sandoval said 40 years is possible?
TOOBIN: I think that's unlikely, but the way the sentencing guidelines work is that it's based on the amount of money at issue in the case. And he's accused of trying to extort $15 million. So if they use that $15 million as the number in the sentencing guidelines, he could be looking at decade in prison. And the California case is worse. No question.
COOPER: One of the cases is -- one of the California cases is the Stormy Daniels case?
TOOBIN: No, the -- Stormy Daniels is here in New York. And it involved him taking approximately $300,000 of a book advance that she was supposed to get that instead he just pocketed and spent on his own money.
The California case is much worse, because, first of all, it's millions of dollars. And also, he was the lawyer in cases where there were awards to his clients and again, he pocketed the money. People in need, people had, you know, problems, that's why they got this award in the first place, also stealing money from his law partners. Again, millions of dollars is an issue. And all of these sentences are based on the amount of loss. So, I mean, these are big numbers.
COOPER: Avenatti's attorney said that they are planning to file a motion to change his conditions of confinement, because they are inhumane.
TOOBIN: Well, he's in the MCC, which is where they hold people in federal court before trial. You know, it's a lousy place to be. It's worse than being in prison, because it's a much more confined condition. He had his bail revoked, so he's been locked up during this trial. He's obviously now that he's convicted, he's certainly --
COOPER: He had his bail revoked because he was accused of trying to hide money, correct?
TOOBIN: Trying to hide more money involving a divorce that he's going through. I mean, the total collapse of his life is really sort of extraordinary. And frankly, you know, I feel kind of snookered, because I took him seriously. I think we all, you know --
COOPER: Well, I mean he was -- I mean, prior to even this Stormy Daniels story, he had won a large judgment in a class action lawsuit, I think it was, in California.
COOPER: And I had actually done a "60 Minutes" report about the case that he had and interviewed people. I mean, he won a large jury verdict that then got reduced later on.
TOOBIN: Right. And he did -- and, you know, he did represent Stormy Daniels and I think in retrospect her legal strategy was kind of insane. I mean, the fact that, you know, she was suing to be cleared of a nondisclosure agreement that they weren't enforcing at all. I mean, he just -- he wanted to gin up a fight with the President. But he lost every case that he brought on Stormy's behalf. And now he's accused of stealing money from her, as well. But, you know, there was a real pathology at work.
COOPER: Right. The accusations would show I mean an extraordinary pattern of abuse.
TOOBIN: And it's all involving stealing money. It's all involving taking money that was destined for clients, that was destined for law partners. You know, he had this really extravagant lifestyle. He drove Ferraris and races. I mean he had like a Ferrari and private planes. And I think it's clear at this point he afforded it by taking money he wasn't entitled to.
Photo credit: RCP video screen grab