President Donald Trump’s campaign appeared to distance itself from Sidney Powell, a controversial attorney who’s been serving prominently on the legal team while Trump tries to steal the 2020 election through baseless allegations of voter fraud.
The unexpected pivot came on Sunday in a short statement from the campaign disavowing its association with Powell, who also represents former Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn. The campaign’s statement did not directly say whether Powell was fired, nor did it provide context for the sidelining.
“Sidney Powell is practicing law on her own,” Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani and campaign legal advisor Jenna Ellis said in the statement. “She is not a member of the Trump Legal Team. She is also not a lawyer for the President in his personal capacity.”
The Trump campaign did not immediately respond to HuffPost’s request for clarification on if it has officially fired Powell, though the president, Giuliani and Ellis had previously identified her as being on the legal team.
The attorney quickly made headlines after the presidential election when Trump and his legal team began filing frivolous lawsuits across the country, making outrageous claims about voter fraud and ballot-counting irregularities without providing any evidence to support them. Powell herself has participated in the increasingly brazen claims, constantly vowing to “release the kraken” of evidence but never following through.
Powell herself did not respond to HuffPost, but released a statement to CBS in response to the campaign’s attempt at distancing itself.
“I understand today’s press release,” she told the network. “I will continue to represent #WeThePeople who had their votes for Trump and other Republicans stolen by massive voter fraud through Dominion and Smartmatic, and we will be filing suit soon. The chips will fall where they may, and we will defend the foundations of this great Republic. #KrakenOnSteroids.”
In a bizarre press conference on Thursday by the Trump campaign, Powell claimed without evidence that Venezuela, Cuba, Antifa, George Soros, the Clinton Foundation and the deceased Hugo Chávez, among others, were responsible for rigging the election.
The allegations appeared too far-fetched even for Fox News host Tucker Carlson, a notorious Trump ally and conspiracy theorist. During his show on Thursday, Carlson called out Powell for not providing him evidence to support her election claims “despite a lot of requests, polite requests, not a page.” Carlson said on his show that when his crew continued to press her for evidence, Powell “got angry and told us to stop contacting her.”
Powell has also accused election officials in several states of committing crimes, and recently attacked Georgia’s Republican Gov. Brian Kemp, a Trump ally. Kemp helped certify President-elect Joe Biden’s victory in the state on Friday after a recount affirmed the original result showing the Democrat winning Georgia.
But in a Saturday interview with conservative outlet Newsmax, Powell baselessly claimed that Kemp was bribed by a voting machine company in a conspiracy to defeat Trump. She also threatened a “biblical” lawsuit against Kemp, startling Trump allies like former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie who said Sunday that the conduct of Trump’s legal team is “a national embarrassment.”
“Sidney Powell accusing Gov. Brian Kemp of a crime on television yet being unwilling to go on TV and defend and lay out the evidence that she supposedly has, this is outrageous conduct by any lawyer,” Christie, a Republican and longtime Trump adviser, said on ABC’s “This Week.”
“And notice … they won’t do it inside the courtroom,” he continued. “They allege fraud outside the courtroom but when they go inside the courtroom, they don’t plead fraud and they don’t argue fraud.”
Trump’s legal team, which until Sunday included Powell, has so far failed to bring any meaningful wins from the courtroom. Federal judges in several states have shut down the team’s lawsuits, criticizing Trump’s attorneys for demanding measures that so obviously undermine democracy, and without providing evidence to support their demands.
Powell has long been a figure in conservative media, particularly after she gained notoriety for representing Flynn in his lengthy attempt to reverse a guilty plea for lying to the FBI about his 2016 communications with Russia. Flynn fired his legal team last year and replaced them with Powell, who helped lead his efforts to unravel his guilty plea.