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September 24, 2018

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Testing waters for presidential bid, Avenatti visits Las Vegas

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Steve Marcus

Attorney Michael Avenatti responds to a question during a news conference at Battle Born Progress, a non-profit progressive advocacy organization, Friday, Aug. 31, 2018.

Updated Friday, Aug. 31, 2018 | 2:57 p.m.

Attorney Michael Avenatti in Las Vegas

Attorney Michael Avenatti waves as he is introduced during a news conference at Battle Born Progress, a non-profit progressive advocacy organization, Friday, Aug. 31, 2018. Launch slideshow »

Known for leading adult film actress Stormy Daniels' legal fight against Donald Trump, attorney Michael Avenatti could soon take on the president in a much larger role.

Avenatti made a stop in Las Vegas today as part of a tour of early-voting states, where he's gathering information on public interest on his possible run for president in 2020.

“I’ll talk to people in various states around the country, then I’ll make a determination on what I’m going to do in 2020,” he said during a news conference. “In the event that Donald Trump does not seek re-election in 2020 and in the event that Mike Pence does not seek election to the presidency in 2020, then I will not run.”

Avenatti said he would return to Las Vegas ahead of the November mid-term election to fundraise for Democratic Party candidates, whom he would not specifically name. He also noted he was not yet fundraising for his possible presidential run.

Aside from Daniels, Avenatti represents three other women who claim Trump paid them to not disclose their alleged affairs with the president.

Payments to the three women were made in 2015 and 2016, Avenatti said, but he added that he was not at liberty to disclose any other details of the respective cases. Avenatti said those details could emerge in coming months.

“It’s up to each individual woman if they want to make those details known,” he said. “As you might imagine … it has significant impact on their lives.”

The New York Times recently reported that the National Enquirer had collected decades of secrets on Trump that the president and his lawyer, Michael Cohen, planned to buy off the tabloid. Avenatti said the report didn't surprise him.

“I think it’s a little disturbing that we elected an individual to the White House who had a file in a safe at the National Enquirer relating to all the transgressions of the past two decades,” he said. “What’s interesting about that is that each individual that knew Donald Trump in a very significant way, before he was elected president, none of them trusted him.

“I think Donald Trump’s character, or lack thereof, ultimately will be his downfall.”