The disarray in Donald Trump’s legal team has claimed another victim.
On the same day that the former New Jersey Governor and Trump administration insider Chris Christie said that “the conduct of the president’s legal team has been a national embarrassment,” White House correspondents are reporting that Rudy Giuliani has released a statement asserting that Sidney Powell — one of the most aggressive of the attorneys representing the president-deselect in his attempts to invalidate legitimate election results due to his unproven allegations of massive voter fraud — is no longer a member of the litigation team thrown together to contest those results.
“Sidney Powell is practicing law on her own. She is not a member of the Trump Legal Team. She is also not a lawyer for the President in his personal capacity,” say Giuliani & Jenna Ellis after Powell accused GA governor of crimes. But also after they appeared w her at a presser.
— Kaitlan Collins (@kaitlancollins) November 22, 2020
Train wreck… dumpster fire… pick your own disaster metaphor here. They all work.
— Garrett Haake (@GarrettHaake) November 22, 2020
Speculation as to the reasons for Powell’s sudden departure from the least successful election contesting legal team in recent memory range from the internecine attacks on Georgia’s GOP Governor Brian Kemp — in the midst of a runoff election that will decide the winners of the two crucial Senate seats that will determine whether the control of that chamber will also be ceded to the Democrats or remain in the hands of the obstructionist current Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell — to the incompetence of the team’s filings in the cases lost to date.
It is also unclear whether her departure was voluntary or forced and, if involuntary, who made the decision to fire her.
Twitter was abuzz with reactions to the news of Powell’s departure with many people placing the blame on the lame-duck president’s lack of loyalty to minions who sacrifice their integrity and reputation to unconditionally support someone who doesn’t have the slightest shred of reciprocal commitment.
Others simply saw this latest development as par for the course in the bizarro world that is the Trump administration.
Remember when Trump tweeted how "wonderful" a lawyer Sidney Powell was and that she's representing his campaign, before she went on national tv with melting Rudy Giuliani from @GOP HQ to explain why a coup would be just fine?
And…. She's gone. pic.twitter.com/l6uo3cHQDq
— Grant Stern (@grantstern) November 22, 2020
The Sidney Powell situation is classic Trump. Coerce people into lying, and then fire them for following his instructions. A death cult where everyone drinks the poison except for him.
— Anthony Scaramucci (@Scaramucci) November 22, 2020
Sidney Powell lasted only .675 Scaramuccis.
— The Hoarse Whisperer (@TheRealHoarse) November 22, 2020
Sidney Powell: That's the warning and the lesson for all Republicans. The Faustian Bargain with Trump isn't worth it. The end is always the same: shame and humiliation. He makes you give everything. He gives nothing. I feel no pity. Go all the way down with him.
— Wajahat "Wears a Mask Because of a Pandemic" Ali (@WajahatAli) November 22, 2020
So Trump fired the lawyer who wanted to release the Kraken, but kept the lawyer who tweeted “MicroPenis” and kept the lawyer whose face keeps melting.https://t.co/1J4ts7jGE1
— Palmer Report (@PalmerReport) November 22, 2020
This is all part of the plan. As Trump’s lawyer Sidney Powell couldn’t subpoena Hugo Chavez, due to The Diplomatic Motherboard Act of 1927. Now she is free to data-hack Dominion Systems’ C-drive and prove that Joe Biden fraudulated the Michigan voter rolls
— Jason O. Gilbert (@gilbertjasono) November 22, 2020
I know Herman Cain died, but I really think a case can be made for Sidney Powell as the true peak of MAGA
— J-L Cauvin (@JLCauvin) November 22, 2020
I’m eager to see how Sidney Powell’s fans reconcile their enthusiasm for her conspiracy theories with President Trump’s decision to kick her off his legal team.
— Chris Megerian (@ChrisMegerian) November 22, 2020
I'm just laughing imagining Jenna Ellis and Rudy Giuliani getting together to figure out what's wrong with their legal strategy and deciding it's all Sidney Powell's fault
— Thor Benson (@thor_benson) November 22, 2020
Sidney Powell is the female version of Rudy Giuliani. Only less entertaining and possibly more batshit.
— Broke Boy (@thebr0keb0i) November 22, 2020
4. In the past few days, any Republican or conservative commentator who offered even the mildest criticism of Sidney Powell was attacked by diehard Trump fans.
What will those fans say now?
— Yashar Ali 🐘 (@yashar) November 22, 2020
I have evidence of biblical proportions about Sidney Powell stealing $755 worth of sex toys from the shop next to Four Seasons Total Landscaping, but I'm going to wait till the right time to drop it. Book me on the news shows in the meantime!
— George Takei (@GeorgeTakei) November 22, 2020
Just so you're aware, Trump’s lawyer Sidney Powell's position is that Georgia's Republican governor conspired with the CIA to steal the election from their own party’s president to benefit from election insurance per a scheme created by Venezuela's Hugo Chavez, who died in 2013.
— Brian Tyler Cohen (@briantylercohen) November 22, 2020
This attempt by Trump's legal team — Giuliani, Ellis — to distance themselves from Sidney Powell's insane conspiracy theories is going to be super awkward next time — oh, I dont know — say, Trump Giuiliani, or Ellis — tweet about the very same insane conspiracy theories.
— Jake Tapper (@jaketapper) November 22, 2020
Trump told allies that Sidney Powell was too much, even for him, after Thursday. He sees the fight as uphill but fleeting and doesn’t see her as helpful anymore, per several advisers.
— Josh Dawsey (@jdawsey1) November 22, 2020
People are sometimes too quick to describe public figures as "insane" but I wonder if that's literally true in the case of Sidney Powell. https://t.co/ZWf7Q0blmh
— Nate Silver (@NateSilver538) November 22, 2020
Maybe Hugo Chavez (d. 2013) took down Sidney Powell?
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) November 22, 2020
This is, I suspect, the real reason Trump is trying to separate from Sidney Powell. Republicans will let him trash democracy and rule-of-law, but not at the cost of the January 5 run-off. https://t.co/CFBs9p3ZHQ
— emptywheel (@emptywheel) November 22, 2020
first they came for Sidney Powell and I did not speak out— because I was laughing so hard I couldn't catch my breath
— Jeff Tiedrich (@itsJeffTiedrich) November 22, 2020
Sidney Powell will no longer have a vote on Trump legal strategy, making her the only American Trump has successfully disenfranchised in the course of 34 lawsuits.
— WithPrejudiceHat (@Popehat) November 22, 2020
What a train wreck
On left (Nov 22):
"Sidney Powell…is not a member of the Trump Legal Team"
On right (Nov 14):
Trump: "Giuliani…Sidney Powell, and Jenna Ellis, a truly great team, added to our other wonderful lawyers"
I guess it turns on what the meaning of "is" is. pic.twitter.com/PbXawZ3xRa
— Ryan Goodman (@rgoodlaw) November 22, 2020
The Twitter responders above have covered all the possible reasons for Powell’s departure that one can imagine, but there is one unified theory that could provide a rationale, not just for the implosion of Trump’s legal team, but for all of his petulant post-election shenanigans, unlikely as it may sound.
Consider the possibility that Trump was so concerned about the lack of entertainment available to Americans now that the TV and movie industries have slowed their output to a crawl — due to the restrictions that the COVID-19 pandemic has placed on their productions — that he decided to stage this overly dramatic farce with election fraud as its subject purely for the shits and giggles it would provide the nation as his lawsuits progressed.
Granted, such an idea is antithetical to the common image of Trump as a self-involved narcissist who cares little to nothing about anyone except himself and perhaps some members of his family, but when all logic and reason seems to no longer apply to the events at hand, one must seek innovative reasons for the inexplicable.
If only the lame-duck president’s motivations could be so benign.
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Vinnie Longobardo is a 35-year veteran of the TV, mobile & internet industries, specializing in start-ups and the international media business. His passions are politics, music and art.