The Glorious Rise And Fall Of Sidney Powell’s Trump Campaign Gig

WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 19: Attorney Sidney Powell speaks to the press about various lawsuits related to the 2020 election,  inside the Republican National Committee headquarters on November 19, 2020 in Washington, DC. President Donald Trump, who has not been seen publicly in several days, continues to push baseless claims about election fraud and dispute the results of the 2020 United States presidential election. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 19: Attorney Sidney Powell speaks to the press about various lawsuits related to the 2020 election, inside the Republican National Committee headquarters on November 19, 2020 in Washington,... WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 19: Attorney Sidney Powell speaks to the press about various lawsuits related to the 2020 election, inside the Republican National Committee headquarters on November 19, 2020 in Washington, DC. President Donald Trump, who has not been seen publicly in several days, continues to push baseless claims about election fraud and dispute the results of the 2020 United States presidential election. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images) MORE LESS
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November 23, 2020 2:35 p.m.

Sidney Powell lasted barely one Scaramucci as a member of President Donald Trump’s legal team, but boy was it a wild ride.

The right-wing lawyer best known for defending former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn went out in a blaze of glory, asserting in a monologue at the Republican Party’s headquarters Thursday that a global cabal of communists had conspired with Democrats to steal President Donald Trump’s second term from him.

Within three days, she was tossed overboard by the two attorneys who’d taken the stage with her.

“Sidney Powell is practicing law on her own,” the Trump campaign said in a statement Sunday. It was signed by Rudy Giuliani and Jenna Ellis, the two Trump lawyers who had yelled, harangued and astral-projected alongside Powell in that crowded RNC conference room.

Powell has put on a brave face, saying in a statement later Sunday that she never billed the campaign for her services, and that she was still planning on filing an “epic” lawsuit to prevent a Joe Biden presidency. 

She signed the statement with a hashtag, “#KrakenOnSteroids,” that beckoned to happier times: On Thursday, after she had finished the legal equivalent of a flat-Earther convention alongside Powell and Giuliani, Ellis wrote that her fellow campaign lawyers had, in fact, “RELEASED THE KRAKEN.” 

From The Fever Swamps To Primetime

Powell represented the clearest, most direct connection between the Trump campaign and the vast network of conspiracy theorists whose claims about voter fraud and rigged elections have fueled Trump’s grievances for months. 

For example, over the weekend she boosted a Twitter thread from Dave Hayes, a QAnon conspiracy theorist who goes by “The Praying Medic” because he claims to communicate with God.

According to the Praying Medic thread she retweeted, Powell has received “an avalanche of first-hand, eyewitness testimony from hundreds of patriots” which, eventually, will be used make the indisputable case that Donald Trump really won the election. (“Somehow, patriots neutralized election rigging” in 2016, The Praying Medic clarified.)

On-stage with Giuliani and Ellis, Powell walked through another QAnon community favorite — the assertion that voting machine vendor Dominion Voting Systems rigged the election for Biden. Powell asserted the company’s software was “created in Venezuela at the direction of Hugo Chavez to make sure he never lost an election.” 

As evidence, she cited to a single affidavit from someone who claimed they observed votes being manipulated in Venezuela using a software called Smartmatic. The affiant wrote that Dominion relies upon software “that is a descendant of the Smartmatic Electoral Management System,” and that the 2020 U.S. elections were “eerily reminiscent” of Venezuela’s 2013 presidential election. 

A spokesperson for Dominion characterized Powell’s claims as “not physically possible.” And while the affiant Powell cited is still anonymous, the case in which they were involved — an effort to prevent Georgia from certifying the election results — was rejected by a federal judge a few hours after the RNC press conference.

“We see on social media people talking about ‘blockbusters’ and ‘krakens,'” Gabriel Sterling, Voting Systems Manager for the Georgia Secretary of State’s office, told reporters Monday. “I want to remind everybody that krakens are myths.”

‘Hopefully This Week…’ 

By the time Powell took the stage Thursday, she’d already cycled through one round of internet conspiracy theories.

In a Nov. 6 interview with Lou Dobbs — two days before the network’s first reference to Powell as a Trump campaign lawyer — she referred to a theory about “Hammer & Scorecard,” a purported supercomputer scheme that would have been able to flip massive amounts of ballots. 

“That would’ve amounted to a massive change in the vote that would’ve gone across the country and explains a lot of what we’re seeing,” she said.

The theory fell out of fashion a few days later, when The Daily Beast noted that the man pushing it, Dennis Montgomery, had a decades-long history of securing huge paydays based on nonsense theories — such as when Montgomery convinced the U.S. government that he was able to decode messages to Al Qaeda hidden in al Jazeera broadcasts.

And Powell’s more recent assertions of widespread fraud — for example, that there are “thousands” of co-conspirators across several states, as she claimed on Saturday — go well beyond what’s been claimed in various courts.

So far, neither the Trump campaign nor Powell have tried to convince a judge under penalty of perjury that seedy voting software, communists, bribery or widespread, systematic fraud are to blame for Trump’s loss. And neither responded to TPM’s questions Monday. 

But victory is just around the corner!

On Saturday, Powell told Newsmax that “hopefully this week, we will get it ready to file.” 

That sounds suspiciously like what she’s already been saying for weeks. 

On Nov. 10, an archived version of her website shows, Powell asked patriots for donations for urgent election litigation: “Over $500,000 must be raised in the next twenty-four hours for these suits to be filed. Millions more will need to be raised to ensure victory.” 

Two weeks later, though her name still isn’t attached to any litigation, Powell kept asking for money. “The future of our Republic,” she assures donors, “is at stake.”

Tierney Sneed contributed reporting.

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