The Trump administration sought to distance itself from attorney Sidney Powell on Thursday, insisting she is ‘not a member’ of their legal team after she spread a series of wild and unfounded conspiracy theories about election fraud.
In a brief written statement issued Sunday evening, Trump’s lead attorney Rudy Giuliani and senior legal adviser Jenna Ellis said that Powell ‘is practising law on her own.’
‘She is not a member of the Trump Legal Team,’ the statement continued. ‘She is also not a layer for the president in a personal capacity.’
The announcement was made a day after a judge dismissed the campaign’s lawsuit seeking to halt President-elect Joe Biden’s victory in Pennsylvania, dealing a major blow to Trump’s flailing efforts to overturn his November 3 election loss.
Just days earlier, on Thursday, Powell had appeared on-stage alongside Giuliani for a bizarre press conference at the Republican National Committee headquarters in Washington, in which she stunningly claimed that Democrats had ‘paid’ to rig the election.
Responding to her disavowing, Powell said in a statement to CBS News that she ‘understands today’s press release.’
‘I will continue to represent #WeThePeople who had their votes for Trump and other Republicans stolen by massive fraud,’ she continued. ‘The chips will fall where they may, we will defend the foundations of this great Republic.’
Sidney Powell, right, speaks next to former Mayor of New York Rudy Giuliani, as members of President Donald Trump’s legal team, during a news conference at the Republican National Committee headquarters, Thursday November 19, 2020
Trump’s disassociation with Powell comes just over a week after announced the attorney as a centerpiece of his ‘truly great legal team’, spearheaded by Giuliani, that would be tasked to investigate and prove his claims of voter fraud.
‘I look forward to Mayor Giuliani spearheading the legal effort to defend OUR RIGHT to FREE and FAIR ELECTIONS!’ Trump tweeted on November 14. ‘Rudy Giuliani, Joseph diGenova, Victoria Toensing, Sidney Powell, and Jenna Ellis, a truly great team, added to our other wonderful lawyers and representatives!’
Powell, a known QAnon conspiracy theorist, has spun a series of outlandish tales of election fraud to a number of news organizations in the days since.
On Saturday, she appeared on Newsmax and promoted a series of wild conspiracy theories about the election, including the unfounded claim that Trump lost Georgia because Gov. Brian Kemp was bribed by an election systems company.
‘Georgia’s probably going to be the first state I’m gonna blow up and Mr. Kemp and the secretary of state need to go with it,’ she told the network, adding that an impending lawsuit in the state was going to ‘be biblical’.
Earlier in the week, she also told the conservative news channel that the 2020 election was significantly impacted by votes cast through machines from Dominion Voting Systems, which she said had been altered to go to Joe Biden instead of Trump.
Without offering evidence, Powell claimed that Dominion ‘has a long history of rigging elections’ and that this is ‘what it was created to do to begin with.
Powell told host Greg Kelly she has an affidavit of a former high-ranking Venezuelan military officer, which she said proves Dominion’s machines were created in Venezuela at the direction of the late Hugo Chavez to ensure he never lost an election.
‘So don’t tell me there’s no evidence of fraud,’ she continued to the network. ‘We’ve got increasingly mounting evidence of significant fraud across multiple states that casts into question the validity of elections in every swing state.’
She also made similar claims during her press conference alongside Giuliani Thursday, in which she declared Trump had actually won the election by a ‘landslide’ but had been cheated by an ‘algorithm’ designed by Dominion Voting Systems.
She went on to claim that the fraud was carried out at the behest of billionaire Democrat George Soros, the Clinton Foundation, communists from Venezuela, Cuba and China and corrupt election officials.
Dominion spokesperson Michael Steel, however, told Fox News on Sunday, that the claims made my Powell simply never could have occured.
‘Well, it’s physically impossible,’ Steel told the network of vote switching. ‘Look, when a voter votes on a Dominion machine, they fill out a ballot on a touch screen. They are given a printed copy which they then give to a local election official for safekeeping.
He continued: ‘If any electronic interference had taken place, the tally reported electronically would not match the printed ballots. and in every case where we’ve looked at – in Georgia, all across the country – the printed ballot, the gold standard in election security, has matched the electronic tally.’
Powell, an attorney for Michael Flynn (right), is a known QAnon conspiracy theorist
Powell was admonished by Tucker Carlson during successive broadcasts on Thursday and Friday night, in which the Fox News host cast doubt over a number of Powell’s claims.
Making specific mention of her assertions that Cuba, Venezuela and other ‘communist’ nations had hacked the election, Carlson said he repeatedly asked Powell to provide evidence to support her comments, but she reportedly refused.
‘When we kept pressing, she got angry and told us to stop contacting her,’ Carlson said Thursday.
‘When we checked with others around the Trump campaign, people in positions of authority, they told us Powell has never given them any evidence either, nor did she provide any today at the press conference.’
The following night, after receiving backlash online, Carlson released an update to his report.
‘We’ve heard from a lot of people about that segment, including people in the White house and people close to the president,’ he said of his comments about Powell. ‘Like us, they have concluded this election was not fair. Like us, they are willing to believe any explanation for what happened,’ Carlson said.
He then added: ‘Like us, they have not seen a single piece of evidence showing that software changed votes.’
Carlson said that while it ‘might have happened,’ no evidence has been produced to prove it happened.
‘And by “they,” we are including other members of Donald Trump’s own legal team.
‘They have not seen Powell’s evidence either – no testimony from employees inside the software companies, no damning internal documents, no copies of the software itself, so that’s where we are.’
Powell responded to Carlson’s comments by insisting she had simply declined to provide the host with evidence because he was ‘very insulting, demanding and rude.’
Trump’s disassociation with Powell comes just over a week after he tweeted that the attorney had been appointed to a ‘truly great team’ spearheaded by Giuliani to investigate his claims of voter fraud
Fox News host Laura Ingram reacted with shock to the dismissal of Powell on Sunday night
Powell is currently representing Trump’s former national security adviser Michael Flynn in his effort to end a long-running criminal case against him.
Peddling another conspiracy, Powell claims that Flynn, Trump’s former national security adviser, was the victim of ‘egregious government misconduct’ and a ‘set-up’ involving spying by the FBI.
In 2019, after Powell called on Flynn to withdraw his guilty pleas for making false statements to the FBI during Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation, Flynn fired his original legal team and hired Flynn as his lead attorney.
Powell has since pushed for Flynn’s case to be dismissed for prosecutorial misconduct, saying Flynn was targeted by the intelligence community, but she has so far failed to offer evidence for those allegations.
The North Carolina native is also a longtime promoter of the QAnon conspiracy theory, frequently sharing the group’s slogans on her social media accounts, such as #TheStormisComing.
QAnon, which first emerged on 4chan in 2017, is the far-right conspiracy theory that a cabal of Satan-worshiping child-sex traffickers are plotting against President Trump, who is trying to expose them.
Powell has also appeared on a QAnon YouTube show, and has repeatedly retweeted QAnon accounts.
Trump’s legal team has so far failed to produce any meaningful legal wins
Trump’s legal team has so far failed to produce any meaningful legal wins, and has instead been repeatedly rebuffed by federal judges who have excoriated the president’s lawyers for demanding extreme measures — such as throwing out millions of lawful ballots — without presenting evidence to justify doing so.
Earlier Sunday, Trump launched an appeal to a federal judge’s dismissal of his campaign’s effort to block the certification of votes in Pennsylvania.
The president and other plaintiffs filed the notice of appeal to the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
The move came just one day after the judge issued a scathing order shooting down claims of widespread irregularities with mail-in ballots.
U.S. District Court Judge Matthew Brann wrote in his order that Trump had asked the court to disenfranchise almost 7 million voters. In seeking such a ‘startling outcome,’ he said, a plaintiff could be expected to provide compelling legal arguments and ‘factual proof of rampant corruption’ – but ‘That has not happened.’
Brann described the case as ‘strained legal arguments without merit and speculative accusations.’
The judge added that he ‘has no authority to take away the right to vote of even a single person, let alone millions of citizens.’
The lawsuit before Brann was filed on November 9 and had alleged inconsistent treatment by county election officials of mail-in ballots. Some counties notified voters that they could fix minor defects such as missing ‘secrecy envelopes’ while others did not.
‘This claim, like Frankenstein’s Monster, has been haphazardly stitched together,’ wrote Brann.
The Trump campaign responded by issuing a statement blasting the ‘Obama-appointed judge’ while vowing to fight on all the way to the Supreme Court.
‘Today’s decision turns out to help us in our strategy to get expeditiously to the US Supreme Court,’ Trump campaign attorneys Giuliani and Ellis wrote in their statement.
‘This is moving to the Supreme Court’: Trump campaign blasts ‘Obama-appointed judge’ who wrote Pennsylvania court ruling
The Trump campaign’s top two attorneys – Rudy Giuliani (left) and Jenna Ellis (right) – released a statement on Saturday blasting the Pennsylvania federal judge and vowing to take their fight to the Supreme Court
The two lawyers leading the Trump campaign’s legal efforts to contest the election results, Giuliani and Jenna Ellis, released a statement in response to the ruling saying that they intend to appeal to the nation’s highest court.
‘Today’s decision turns out to help us in our strategy to get expeditiously to the US Supreme Court,’ the statement read.
‘Although we fully disagree with this opinion, we’re thankful to the Obama-appointed judge for making this anticipated decision quickly, rather than simply trying to run out the clock.’
The statement continued: ‘We will be seeking an expedited appeal to the Third Circuit.
‘There is so much evidence that in Pennsylvania, Democrats eliminated our opportunity to present 50 witnesses and other evidence that election officials blatantly ignored Pennsylvania’s law denying independent review.
‘This resulted in 682,777 ballots being cast illegally, wittingly or unwittingly.
‘This is just an extension of the Big Tech, Big Media, Corrupt Democrat censorship of damning facts the American public needs to know.
‘We are disappointed we did not at least get the opportunity to present our evidence at a hearing. Unfortunately the censorship continues.
‘We hope that the Third Circuit will be as gracious as Judge Brann in deciding our appeal one way or the other as expeditiously as possible.
‘This is another case that appears to be moving quickly to the United States Supreme Court.’