MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Sidney Powell
President Donald Trump’s legal team is distancing itself from one of the attorneys who until as recently as a few days ago was speaking on his behalf — while spreading bizarre conspiracy theories about how he lost to Joe Biden.
"It's so big nobody wants to wrap their head around it, nobody wants to untie all the little knots that go into it. But we have to ... this cannot go on. Our votes must be counted, fair and true," Sidney Powell said on the right-wing TV network Newsmax late last week while describing an alleged scheme of thousands of co-conspirators, involving the major political parties and lasting decades, in which voting systems in the U.S. actually had ties to the late Venezuelan autocrat Hugo Chavez and were in fact secretly capable of switching, creating and destroying massive amounts of votes.
Powell, 65, also mused about the possible role of the Department of Justice and the CIA.
She offered no specific evidence for what one of the hosts acknowledged sounded "nuts."
Even a place like Georgia — where Biden, 78, narrowly beat Trump, 74, based largely on a surge of support in the Atlanta area — was not immune, Powell insisted to Newsmax. The state's top officials, all Republicans and vocal Trump supporters, were implicated too, she claimed, again without providing any proof.
"Georgia's probably gonna be the first state I'm gonna blow up," she told Newsmax, promising a “biblical” lawsuit.
Now the president's lawyers say she is out.
“Sidney Powell is practicing law on her own,” Trump campaign attorneys Rudy Giuliani and Jenna Ellis said in a brief statement Sunday. “She is not a member of the Trump Legal Team. She is also not a lawyer for the President in his personal capacity.”
However, in addition to her Newsmax interview, Powell spoke for about 15 minutes at a much watched and much criticized press conference last Thursday alongside Giuliani and Ellis, where the three identified themselves as part of Trump’s “elite strike force” and reiterated their baseless claims that the election had somehow been stolen.
Trump also said in a Nov. 14 tweet that Powell was a member of his “truly great team.”
Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Sidney Powell stands behind Rudy Giuliani (center) and other Trump campaign lawyers at a Thursday press conference.
Mat Hayward/Getty Sidney Powell
Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP/Shutterstock Sidney Powell (left) walks alongside former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn
Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, a Trump adviser, criticized Powell on Sunday as displaying "outrageous conduct," Politico reported.
She did not respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment, but told CBS News that while “I understand” the Trump campaign’s statement she said she “will continue to represent” legal challenges to the election and “will be filing suit soon.”
“The chips will fall where they may, and we will defend the foundations of this great Republic,” Powell said to CBS.
She reportedly worked as a federal prosecutor in Texas before starting her own firm in Dallas in 1993. More recently, she defended Gen. Michael Flynn, Trump’s first national security adviser, who pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI before trying to withdraw that plea this year.
Powell has also posted phrases on social media that are associated with the QAnon conspiracy theory, according to The Dallas Morning News.
Her rise and fall in the president's orbit is the latest example of his ill-fated attempts to overturn the election.
Until Monday Trump was impeding Biden's transition while his campaign sought recounts and launched “Hail Mary” legal efforts, as one election law expert described the lawsuits to PEOPLE.
So far, no widespread problems have been found in any state and Trump legal challenges have been almost entirely unsuccessful in court.
One Georgia judge rejected a suit there, saying the campaign's arguments had "no basis in fact and law."
Trump tweeted Monday night that he would keep up his fight against "fake ballots" while the transition was underway, though more and more Republicans have been calling on him to accept his defeat.