Michael Avenatti Says Trump Is in 'Panic Mode' and Using the 'National Enquirer' to Smear Michael Cohen

President Donald Trump is in full "panic mode," and American Media Inc. is helping the president undermine his personal attorney Michael Cohen, according to the lawyer representing an adult film star who claimed to have had a sexual encounter with the billionaire president.

Michael Avenatti, the attorney for Stormy Daniels, whose legal name is Stephanie Clifford, was referring to the National Enquirer's report about Trump's longtime lawyer Michael Cohen, titled "Trump's Fixer's Secrets & Lies!" The tabloid is owned by American Media Inc., which has reportedly used a "catch-and-kill" tactic involving making payments to buy up stories but never publishing them. AMI paid former Playboy Playmate Karen McDougal, who said she had a monthslong affair with Trump between 2006 and 2007, for her story in August 2016, but it was not released.

AMI's chairman and CEO David Pecker has been friends with Trump for years and has reportedly tried to use his long-standing ties to the president to better his business interests.

Avenatti stated that Trump was fearful about Cohen's case and that he and his administration were worried Cohen would "flip" or testify" against the president. He claimed AMI was running the story about Cohen in order for Trump and his administration to later attack Cohen's credibility.

"Mr. Trump realizes he's in a lot of trouble, and he's in panic mode," says Stormy Daniels' lawyer Michael Avenatti, as the National Enquirer takes on Trump's personal attorney Michael Cohen https://t.co/72toNV1y3h

— CNN (@CNN) April 30, 2018

"Its very clear to me, Jake, what's going on here is that Mr. Trump and the administration have concluded what I've been saying for weeks: that Michael Cohen is in a lot of trouble and he's going to flip on the president," Avenatti told CNN on Sunday.

He continued: "So this is the first effort on their part to undermine Mr. Cohen's credibility so that they can claim, when he does flip, that he's a liar, that he has no credibility, etcetera. I want you to recognize this is only one week after Mr. Trump, last weekend, sent out his tweet effectively coming to the defense of Michael Cohen, or attempting to send a message that he had his back.

"And here we have AMI, less than a week later, putting this on their cover. It's pretty transparent what's going on here. Mr. Trump realizes he's in a lot of trouble, and he's in panic mode."

Avenatti appeared to be referencing Trump's tweets on April 21 about a New York Times report centered on Cohen's relationship with him. Trump described Cohen as a "fine person with a wonderful family" and blasted the report and what he claimed was its "non-existent 'sources.'"

"Sorry, I don't see Michael doing that despite the horrible Witch Hunt and the dishonest media!" Trump tweeted.

The New York Times and a third rate reporter named Maggie Haberman, known as a Crooked H flunkie who I don’t speak to and have nothing to do with, are going out of their way to destroy Michael Cohen and his relationship with me in the hope that he will “flip.” They use....

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 21, 2018

....non-existent “sources” and a drunk/drugged up loser who hates Michael, a fine person with a wonderful family. Michael is a businessman for his own account/lawyer who I have always liked & respected. Most people will flip if the Government lets them out of trouble, even if....

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 21, 2018

....it means lying or making up stories. Sorry, I don’t see Michael doing that despite the horrible Witch Hunt and the dishonest media!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 21, 2018

Earlier this month, Cohen, who has only represented Trump and two other clients in the past year, was the subject of a raid by federal officials reportedly seeking business records and other documents pertaining to payments made to Daniels and McDougal, as well as his taxi medallion business.