Michael Avenatti: Donald Trump Knows 'I'll Hand Him His Ass' If He Tweets at Me

President Donald Trump seems to love lashing out at his opponents on Twitter, but the former business mogul has been notably quiet about two in particular: adult film star Stormy Daniels (née Stephanie Clifford), who alleges she had an affair with the president, and her attorney, Michael Avenatti.

Avenatti noticed that unusual quiet coming from Trump. In an interview published Friday with Esquire, the attorney opined that it was for a good reason: The president is afraid of the Sacramento native.

"He can't handle a direct confrontation with me," Avenatti said. "He knows that I'll hand him his ass."

Undeterred by the lack of response from the president, Avenatti has made scores of media appearances in which he lambasted the business mogul and his Trump Organization lawyer Michael Cohen. Avenatti is waging a legal battle against the two over a confidentiality agreement that Cohen paid Daniels $130,000 to sign in exchange for her silence about the president.

The lawyer has also used Twitter to taunt Trump, teasing that he may have compromising information on the president or his attorneys. Over the past several days he's been waging a campaign to "#releasethetapes," referring to tapes that were seized during a raid on Cohen's home in an unrelated criminal case.

"Mr. Ryan admitted that there are audio recordings that Michael Cohen was taking for years and that those recordings are, to quote him, not only do they exist but they are under lock and key—and some of them relate to my client and her attorney-client privileged communications," Avenatti said at a press conference outside the courthouse Wednesday.

He later added on Twitter, "We are going to continue to bring the facts and evidence to the American people so they can judge for themselves what happened. This is a search for the truth. We will use sunlight as the ultimate disinfectant. Let the chips fall where they may. #TrumpTapes #Basta."

In recent weeks, a slew of negative stories about Avenatti have surfaced in the news media. During the interview with Esquire,the attorney attempted to downplay reports that he had asked Democratic donors to help fund Daniels's legal case, as was previously reported in The New York Times. He maintained that the money instead came directly from Daniels's crowdfunding campaign, which netted more than $250,000 in one week.

He has also attempted to brush off unflattering reports from former colleagues and employees of his former coffee chain Tully's, which left hundreds of people out of work when it closed suddenly this year.

Avenatti suggested the reports were tantamount to smear campaigns.

"Some very powerful people have determined that me and my client are threats to their existence," he tweeted on May 24. "They are right. If I have to sacrifice my reputation and livelihood to disclose evidence to the public and have justice served, so be it. I'm not quitting & I'm crazy enough to do it."

Michael Avenatti, attorney for Stormy Daniels, speaks to reporters following a court proceeding regarding the search warrants served on President Donald Trump's longtime personal attorney Michael Cohen, at the United States District Court Southern District of New York on April 13 in New York City. Drew Angerer/Getty Images