Washington, November 22
President Donald Trump’s election campaign distanced itself on Sunday from Sidney Powell, a lawyer who claimed without evidence at a news conference last week that electronic voting systems had switched millions of ballots to President-elect Joe Biden.
“Sidney Powell is practising law on her own,” Trump campaign lawyers Rudy Giuliani and Jenna Ellis said in a statement. “She is not a member of the Trump Legal Team.”
Law firms have withdrawn from cases, and in the latest blow, a federal judge dismissed on Saturday night the Trump campaign’s effort to block the certification of votes in Pennsylvania in a blistering ruling that described the arguments as “strained” and “unsupported by evidence,” dealing a major blow to Trump’s flailing efforts to overturn his November 3 election loss.
Powell made headlines with her statements at a Thursday news conference where, joined by Giuliani and Ellis, she incorrectly suggested that a server hosting evidence of voting irregularities was located in Germany, that voting software used by Georgia and other states was created at the direction of late Venezuelan President Huge Chavez and that votes for President Donald Trump had probably been switched in favour of President-elect Joe Biden.
In a subsequent interview with Newsmax, she appeared to accuse Georgia’s Republican governor, Brian Kemp, and its Republican secretary of state of being part of a conspiracy involving a voting-system contract award that she contends harmed Trump’s re-election bid.
Powell had made other dramatic claims without evidence, saying she had a voter fraud case of “biblical” proportions in Georgia. On Saturday, she told conservative Newsmax TV that “Georgia is probably going to be the first state I’m gonna blow up,” and accused Republican Governor Brian Kemp of conspiring against Trump.
Powell, a conservative activist and former federal prosecutor, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Flynn, saying that Powell had been suspended from Twitter for 12 hours, wrote on the platform that she understood Giuliani’s statement and “agrees with it”. Flynn said Powell was “staying the course” to prove election fraud.
Twitter did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Powell, a former federal prosecutor, took over last year as the lead lawyer for Trump’s former national security adviser Michael Flynn, who pleaded guilty in special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation.
Since then, a federal judge rejected her claims of prosecutorial misconduct and has responded quizzically to some of her arguments, including her suggestion at a hearing several weeks ago that her conversations with Trump about the Flynn case were privileged.
She has supported a Justice Department motion to dismiss the prosecution, a request that remains pending before US District Judge Emmet Sullivan.
Democrats and some Republicans have accused Trump of trying to undermine faith in the American electoral system and delegitimize Biden’s victory by promoting false claims of widespread voter fraud.
The Republican president expressed concerns that Powell’s claims were too outlandish and would distract from other legal arguments, a person familiar with the discussions said.
Trump had referred to Powell as one of his “wonderful lawyers and representatives” in a November 14 tweet.
Tucker Carlson, an influential Fox News host, criticised Powell on Thursday for a lack of evidence to support her claims.
“She never demonstrated that a single actual vote was moved illegitimately by software from one candidate to another. Not one,” Carlson said.
Senator Joni Ernst, a Republican from Iowa who won re-election in this month’s vote, told a Fox News radio program on Thursday that Powell’s allegations were “offensive”. Reuters/AP