Sidney Powell (R) speaks to fellow Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani during a press conference at the Republican National Committee headquarters, Washington, November 19, 2020 (Jacquelyn Martin/AP)
Less than a month after attorney Sidney Powell was ditched by the Trump camp, Donald Trump pushes for the conspiracy theorist to be named Special Counsel to back up his falsehoods about electoral fraud.
Trump issued the proposal on Friday after Powell was invited to the White House for a meeting, according to “two people briefed on the discussion“.
Most advisors opposed the idea. Even his attorney Rudy Giuliani, who was alongside Powell in November as they pushed wild claims and unsuccessful lawsuits, balked — even though he has been pressing the Department of Homeland Security to overturn the November 3 election.
The White House meeting with Powell dissolved into shouting, according to “one of the people briefed on what took place”.
Powell’s client Michael Flynn was present, weeks after he was pardoned by Trump for his crimes in the Trump-Russia affair.
Flynn, who resigned as National Security Advisor in February 2017 after only three weeks in the post, has been urging Trump to “bring in the military”, impose martial law, and “rerun” the election.
All of Trump’s advisors dismantled Powell’s assertions, noting that she has no proof for her claims. At one point the attorney produced “several affidavits”, but they were all signed by one man whose credentials have been questioned.
White House Counsel Pat Cipollone and Chief of Staff Mark Meadows were among those who blocked Powell’s declarations in the lengthy discussion. Afterwards, Cipollone told Trump there was no constitutional authority to appoint the conspiracy theorist as Special Counsel.
Powell accused the Trump advisers of being “quitters”.
“It was heated — people were really fighting it out in the Oval, really forceful about it,” one source said.
Trump had pushed Attorney General William Barr to appoint a Special Counsel to prop up his assertions over mail-in ballots, but Barr refused. The Attorney General resigned on Monday.
Seizing Voting Machines?
While blocking Powell’s appointment, White House advisors met on Friday night to discuss an executive order to take control of voting machines and examine them, according to a person “briefed on the discussion”.
Giuliani has pushed the Homeland Security Department to act amid false statements — including by Powell — about the machines.
The attorney was told by the Acting Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security, Ken Cuccinelli, that the department did not have authority to take control of machines from states overseeing elections.
Suzanne Spaulding, an undersecretary for cybersecurity and critical infrastructure in the Obama Administration, explained:
We don’t own those networks and we do not have independent legal authority to go in and start combing through those networks. Efforts that appear to be driving a partisan agenda, particularly completely unfounded allegations, significantly undermine the hard work these men and women have been engaged in for years.
Fall of a Conspiracy Theorist
Powell worked with Giuliani and Jenna Ellis after the election to spread Trump’s unsupported claims of a rigged vote.
But she stepped too far in a November 18 event distinguished by Giuliani’s wild assertions with hair dye running down the sides of his face.
Powell added a supposed “conspiracy” to switch votes from Trump to President-elect Joe Biden. The plot included Biden, leaders of 10 Democratic cities, the late Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez, the financier and philanthropist George Soros, “Antifa”, Cuba, and China.
Afterwards, she added that Georgia’s Republican officials, including Trump ally Gov. Brian Kemp, were taking payoffs as part of the plot. She promised a “biblical” effort to throw out the election results: “Georgia’s probably going to be the first state I’m going to blow up, and Mr Kemp and the Secretary of State [Brad Raffensperger] need to go with it.”
But State courts quickly threw out the lawsuits filed by her and fellow conspiracy theorist L. Lin Wood.
On Saturday, the Trump campaign sent a memorandum to its officials, instructing them to preserve documents concerning Powell and Dominion Voting Systems.
Dominion officials have demanded that Powell retract her claims about the company and the supposed Venezuelan plot to steal the election.