How Michael Avenatti got his start in political dark arts under Rahm Emanuel

Many politicians spent their younger days working or volunteering for campaigns, and they now regale voters with stories about knocking on doors for a candidate whose virtue appealed to their young idealism.

But Michael Avenatti, the TV-ready lawyer representing Stormy Daniels in her legal battle with Donald Trump, began his political career as a trainee in what is now one of the least sympathetic places in Democratic politics: as an opposition researcher for the Clinton machine.

Now Avenatti is considering running for president, and his origin story will test a dark thesis: That what Democrats want, more than hope or change or a return to normal, is simply to destroy Donald Trump.

Avenatti is already making that pitch. In a speech last week at an Iowa Democratic fundraiser, an early presidential testing ground, Avenatti positioned himself as a fighter willing to brawl with Trump in a way other candidates would find uncomfortable. He has taunted the president and his team in cable news appearances and on Twitter, driving media fervor with mysteriously obtained (and released) financial information about Trump lawyer Michael Cohen.