Outgoing President Donald Trump's legal team held a press conference on Thursday afternoon, faced with the unenviable task of justifying the President's lies about widespread voter fraud tipping the 2020 election to President-elect Joe Biden.
While the President's personal lawyer—Rudy Giuliani—and Trump's legal advisor Jenna Ellis have been some of his most vocal defenders in repeating the baseless claims, a less visible face has been Sidney Powell's, another member of Trump's legal team.
That changed when Powell took the podium at the Thursday press conference.
Sidney Powell, Mike Flynn's lawyer now working for Trump, says the election was rigged by "communist money" and a scheme devised by the late Hugo Chavez, President of Venezuala. pic.twitter.com/8XTnRHCzAM
— Josh Marshall (@joshtpm) November 19, 2020
"The Dominion Voting Systems, the Smartmatic software and the software that goes in other computerized voting systems as well, not just Dominion, were created in Venezuela at the direction of Hugo Chavez to make sure he never lost an election after one constitutional referendum came out the way he did not want it to come out."
There's a lot to unpack here.
First of all, Chavez has been dead since 2013.
Second, not only has the conspiracy theory that election software company Dominion Voting Systems switched Trump votes to Biden votes been repeatedly debunked, but Dominion was founded in Canada, not Venezuela. It has no relation to Smartmatic, which was founded in Venezuela, but not at the direction of Hugo Chavez. It was founded out of the uproar surrounding the 2000 American presidential election.
What's more, Smartmatic is not used by any of the swing states Biden secured in the 2020 election.
Powell claimed to have a signed affidavit from a military official in Venezuela who claimed to have seen the so-called fraud in action during Venezuelan elections
She posted screen shots of three pages from the affidavit, but according to the New York Times:
"The screenshots were incomplete and did not include a name or signature, and Ms. Powell did not respond to requests to view the full document."
People are growing frustrated that Trump's team is continuing to undermine trust in the U.S. election.
Trump and his team continue to make a mockery of the Venezuelan tragedy. To many, our crisis will now be shadowed by the ridiculous ways Trump has used it for his interests, and our true claims of far-reaching chavista crimes will be even further ignored by the world. https://t.co/88zbDAzIqX
— Germania Rodriguez Poleo (@iamGermania) November 19, 2020
First off—this is f'n lunacy.
Second—this has all been fact checked & unequivocally debunked.
Third—this IS F'N LUNACY‼️
...and YET...the GOP does nothing as these 3rd rate legal losers further sow distrust in our democracy for 30 pieces of silver.
It's maddening. https://t.co/XNlJpV1OIa
— Tara Setmayer (@TaraSetmayer) November 19, 2020
Is there not a single GOP member of House or Senate with the courage and common sense to denounce this deranged and dangerous talk? Just one! https://t.co/D9nW8Hq3Sv
— Mike Barnicle (@mikebarnicle) November 19, 2020
I love the idea that Hugo Chavez's technique for stealing an election would be a sophisticated computer scheme. Because high-tech brilliance is what we expect from a thug who managed to bankrupt an oil rich country. https://t.co/L4yGL4nYov
— Jonah Goldberg (@JonahDispatch) November 19, 2020
Sure, this is absurd. It's patently, obviously false. But the point is that there's a large group of people who want to believe the election was rigged and stolen, and they'll find whatever excuse they can to justify the core belief - that Democrats can never be legitimate. https://t.co/JBXtCe8hz9
— Patrick Wyman (@Patrick_Wyman) November 19, 2020
This would be a great time for Republican congressional leaders to dismiss this as the ranting lunacy that it is and say that they look forward to working with President-Elect Biden. https://t.co/jdaqL87RMp
— Seth Masket (@smotus) November 19, 2020
The press conference only exacerbated outcry that Trump and his ilk are seeking to undermine American democracy.
That press conference was the most dangerous 1hr 45 minutes of television in American history. And possibly the craziest. If you don't know what I'm talking about, you're lucky.
— Chris Krebs (@C_C_Krebs) November 19, 2020
This press conference is one of the lowest moments in American democracy.
— Dave Cavell (@DavidFCavell) November 19, 2020
Rudy Giuliani's press conference was full of false accusations with absolutely no evidence. It epitomized the era of accusation culture under Trump which infected both social and mainstream media to the point of nearly destroying our democracy.
This reign of terror must now end.
— Eugene Gu, MD (@eugenegu) November 19, 2020
President-elect Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris will be inaugurated on January 20th.