Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Dear Common Dreams Readers:
Corporations and billionaires have their own media. Shouldn't we? When you “follow the money” that funds our independent journalism, it all leads back to this: people like you. Our supporters are what allows us to produce journalism in the public interest that is beholden only to people, our planet, and the common good. Please support our Mid-Year Campaign so that we always have a newsroom for the people that is funded by the people. Thank you for your support. --Jon Queally, managing editor

Join the small group of generous readers who donate, keeping Common Dreams free for millions of people each year. Without your help, we won’t survive.

Sidney Powell speaks during a press conference at the Republican National Committee headquarters in Washington, D.C. on November 19, 2020.

Sidney Powell speaks during a press conference at the Republican National Committee headquarters in Washington, D.C. on November 19, 2020. (Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images)

'Elite Strike Force'? Trump Legal Team Throws Right-Wing Attorney Sidney Powell Under the Bus as Coup Attempt Flails

"It's OK to laugh at this hilarious clown car and yet appreciate that what's going here is deadly serious. These tactics will go nowhere but still infect our democracy with doubt."

Jake Johnson

With the Trump campaign's amateurish, absurd, but nonetheless dangerous attempt to overturn the results of the November election continuing to flop in court, members of the president's legal team late Sunday issued a statement distancing themselves from right-wing attorney Sidney Powell after she spent the past several days peddling bizarre and entirely baseless claims of vote hacking involving Venezuela, Cuba, and "communist money."

Trump attorneys Rudy Giuliani and Jenna Ellis said Powell is "practicing law on her own" and "is not a member of the Trump Legal Team," a statement that comes just days after Powell appeared at a press conference with Giuliani and Ellis at Republican National Committee headquarters in Washington, D.C., where the trio rambled on about a vast conspiracy against the president for which there is zero evidence.

"She is also not a lawyer for the president in his personal capacity," Giuliani and Ellis added.

An unnamed Trump campaign official told the Washington Post late Sunday that Trump had come to believe Powell was damaging the credibility of his already floundering legal ploy. "She was too crazy even for the president," the official remarked, not mentioning the fact that Trump has readily touted Powell's narrative in recent social media posts and hailed her as part of his "truly great" legal team.

During the Trump attorneys' press conference last week, Ellis described Powell as part of an "elite strike force" of lawyers expertly working to advance the Trump campaign's legal aims—a characterization that critics didn't hesitate to mock while also stressing the very real threat posed by the ongoing coup attempt and the lasting damage it could inflict.

"It's OK to laugh at this hilarious clown car and yet appreciate that what's going here is deadly serious," tweeted attorney Deepak Gupta. "These tactics will go nowhere but still infect our democracy with doubt. Meanwhile, the transition delays risk grave harm to public health and economic and national security."

The attempt by Trump's top attorneys to disavow Powell came a day after a federal judge dismissed the campaign's last-ditch attempt to stop Pennsylvania from certifying its election results, a move expected to come Monday. In his blunt ruling (pdf) over the weekend, U.S. District Court Judge Matthew Brann said the Trump campaign's complaint was riddled with "strained arguments" and "speculative accusations."

Kristen Clarke, president and executive director of the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, a group that intervened in the Pennsylvania case, said in a statement that Brann's ruling "should put the nail in the coffin on any further attempts by President Trump to use the federal courts to rewrite the outcome of the 2020 election."

"The court could not be any clearer in underscoring the baseless and meritless nature of the claims presented in this case," said Clarke. "Voters across the Commonwealth overcame tremendous obstacles to register their voice and this suit sought to disenfranchise them without a scintilla of evidence."

Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

Just a few days left in our crucial Mid-Year Campaign and we might not make it without your help.
Who funds our independent journalism? Readers like you who believe in our mission: To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. No corporate advertisers. No billionaire founder. Our non-partisan, nonprofit media model has only one source of revenue: The people who read and value this work and our mission. That's it.
And the model is simple: If everyone just gives whatever amount they can afford and think is reasonable—$3, $9, $29, or more—we can continue. If not enough do, we go dark.

All the small gifts add up to something otherwise impossible. Please join us today. Donate to Common Dreams. This is crunch time. We need you now.

'Witness Intimidation. Clear as Day': Jan. 6 Panel Teases Evidence of Cover-Up Effort

"Add witness tampering to the laundry list of crimes Trump and his allies must be charged with," said professor Robert Reich.

Jessica Corbett ·

'Bombshell After Bombshell' Dropped as Jan. 6 Testimony Homes In On Trump Guilt

"Hutchinson's testimony of the deeply detailed plans of January 6 and the inaction of those in the White House in response to the violence show just how close we came to a coup," said one pro-democracy organizer.

Brett Wilkins ·

Mark Meadows 'Did Seek That Pardon, Yes Ma'am,' Hutchinson Testifies

The former aide confirmed that attorney Rudy Giuliani also sought a presidential pardon related to the January 6 attack.

Jessica Corbett ·

UN Chief Warns of 'Ocean Emergency' as Leaders Confront Biodiversity Loss, Pollution

"We must turn the tide," said Secretary-General António Guterres. "A healthy and productive ocean is vital to our shared future."

Julia Conley ·

'I Don't F—ing Care That They Have Weapons': Trump Wanted Security to Let Armed Supporters March on Capitol

"They're not here to hurt me," Trump said on the day of the January 6 insurrection, testified a former aide to ex-White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows.

Jake Johnson ·

Common Dreams Logo