President Donald Trump lashed out at porn star Stormy Daniels in a tweet Tuesday, calling her "Horseface" and lambasting her "3rd rate lawyer" Michael Avenatti after a federal judge dismissed their defamation case against him a day earlier.
Avenatti was quick to respond, escalating an already nasty feud between the president and a woman who says she had extramarital sex with him. The lawyer tore into Trump on Twitter, asking the president: "How many other women did you cheat on your wife with while you had a baby at home?"
Daniels sued Trump in April, after Trump sent a tweet accusing the adult film actress and director of a "total con job" following her appearance on daytime talk show "The View."
During the broadcast, Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, held up an sketch artist's image of a man she said had threatened her to "leave Trump alone" in Las Vegas in 2011. The alleged threat against Daniels and her daughter was made a time when she was in talks with a magazine about going public with her story of the tryst with Trump.
Daniels responded derisively to Trump's attack with a tweet of her own.
Daniels alleges she had sex with Trump during a celebrity golf tournament in Lake Tahoe in 2006, just a few months after Trump's third wife, Melania Trump, gave birth to Trump's youngest child.
Trump has denied he had sex with Daniels.
After Trump's April tweet, Daniels sued, arguing that Trump had posted a false statement against her that was defamatory because it suggested she was falsely accusing a man of committing a crime.
California-based U.S. District Court Judge S. James Otero, however, said in his ruling Monday that "Mr. Trump's tweet displays an incredulous tone, suggesting that the content of his tweet was not meant to be understood as a literal statement."
He also said in the court filing Monday night that the tweet was "the definition of protected rhetorical hyperbole."
Otero ruled that Trump deserved to receive attorney's fees from the case — an outcome his lawyer Charles Harder called a "total victory for President Trump and total defeat for Stormy Daniels."
Harder did not immediately respond to CNBC's inquiries about Trump's tweet from Tuesday morning.
Just a few weeks before the 2016 presidential election, Trump's former personal lawyer Michael Cohen coordinated a $130,000 hush-money deal to keep Daniels silent about the alleged affair.
Daniels, represented by Avenatti, is suing Trump and Cohen to void that nondisclosure agreement, which she says was never validated because Trump himself never signed it.
Cohen has since pleaded guilty to campaign finance violations. He admitted to making payments to two women at the direction of an unidentified federal candidate for political office intended to influence the outcome of the election.
While Cohen didn't name Trump directly during the hearing, his attorney Lanny Davis said shortly afterward that "Donald Trump directed [Cohen] to commit a crime by making payments to two women for the principal purpose of influencing an election."
Avenatti stayed on the attack against Trump in a follow-up tweet, referencing his recent speech before the United Nations in New York City, in which Trump drew laughter from the crowd of national representatives for his assertion that his administration "has accomplished more than almost any administration in the history of our country."
Avenatti recently said he is "exploring" a presidential run and has begun speaking at Democratic Party events. In the meantime, he has quickly established himself as one of Trump's most vocal critics.
He waded into Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh's politically fraught confirmation battle in September when his client, Julie Swetnick, accused Kavanaugh and others of spiking girls' drinks at parties to make it easier for them to be gang raped.
Kavanaugh vehemently denied the allegations, saying they were "from the Twilight Zone." After the FBI opened a supplemental probe into numerous allegations of sexual misconduct against Kavanaugh, Avenatti complained that Swetnick was not interviewed by the bureau.