Veteran GOP political strategist Karl Rove on Tuesday harshly rebuked Donald Trump’s former campaign lawyer Sidney Powell and ex-national security adviser Michael Flynn for whispering absurd ideas in the president’s ear about overturning the November election.
Trump has reportedly mulled naming Powell, a conspiracy theorist and QAnon supporter, as a special counsel to investigate imagined electoral fraud, alarming White House aides. And Flynn, whom he pardoned last month for lying during the Russia investigation, has advised Trump to declare martial law and rerun the election.
Trump has continued his relationship with Powell even after his campaign dropped her from its legal team and sought to distance itself from her and her bizarre theories.
“Talk about an idiotic idea,” Rove told Fox News host John Roberts of Flynn’s martial law suggestion. “There’s no ability for any president to invoke the Insurrection Act of 1803, claiming that the issue has got to do with the hubbub around the election. No president would have the authority to do that.”
He noted Flynn is not a constitutional lawyer and, “when it comes to giving good advice to the president about politics, he’s at the bottom of the list in my opinion.”
His criticisms of Powell were even stronger.
“Ms. Powell has peddled theories that have little basis in fact,” he said. “The idea that Hugo Chavez from the grave was somehow involved in stealing this year’s election.” The former Venezuelan president died in 2013.
He noted that her “expert witnesses” during recent election lawsuits turned out to be shams and that “any idiot with access to Google and the county election returns” could have debunked some of their claims.
“What she has done to sort of throw mud on the president through her antics is unbelievable,” Rove said. “The president has been so ill-served by this crowd, and she’s chief among them.”
In November, Rove, a controversial former adviser to President George W. Bush, said he believed Trump was within his rights to challenge the election results. However, he said he did not believe it would change the outcome or that any evidence of fraud had been produced.