The Powell Doctrine
Until last week, when she said the president’s reelection was stolen by Hugo Chavez (the Venezuelan strongman who’s been dead since 2013), Atlanta attorney Sidney Powell was part of the legal team representing the current occupant of the White House in his quest to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential contest. If Powell’s name sounds vaguely familiar to you, it may be that you recall the eccentric lawyer who took up representation for Michael Flynn, the administration’s first national security adviser, when he tried to rescind his two guilty pleas to charges of lying to the FBI.
Now that Flynn has been pardoned by his commander-in-chief, Powell has even more time on her hands to spin racist conspiracy theories about allegedly vote-flipping voting machines, and all manner of hijinks.
So on December 2, Powell joined Lin Wood, another Atlanta attorney, for a press conference at which they urged their followers — a group made up of the hard-core conspiracy-minded MAGA-world base — not to vote in Georgia’s upcoming races for U.S. Senate. When Wood turned the microphone over to Sidney Powell, she was greeted like a rock star with cheers and chants.
“How about Sidney Powell and Mike Flynn in 2024?” Wood asked. The crowd roared its approval.
Just the day before, Wood took to Twitter to call for the current tenant of the Oval Office to declare martial law in order to un-steal the election. The nation is headed toward civil war, he said. Attached to Wood’s tweet was a press release from the We the People Convention that conveyed the same demand.
Not long afterward, Michael Flynn — who is a retired U.S. Army general — tweeted out the same press release, adding the words: “Freedom never kneels except for God.” In the same tweet, he tagged several right-wing media figures, including Maria Bartiromo, Lou Dobbs and Mark Levin, as if to say, “Here is a thing you should be talking about.”
Flynn, it should be noted, is a devotee of the QAnon conspiracy theory, which is designed to demonize Democrats, artists, Jews and people of color, in such a way as to put their lives in danger.
Also part of the Woods-Powell-Flynn monkey-wrenching gang is the stochastic terrorist Ali Alexander, whose apparent aim is to smear people in such a way that unhinged followers pose a threat to his targets. Alexander often appears to work in tandem with the propagandist Mike Cernovich, who was among those who promoted the 2016 Pizzagate conspiracy theory, which ended up with a North Carolina man arriving at a Washington, D.C., pizzeria with a long gun and a pistol, and firing a shot inside the establishment, where he was certain a child-trafficking ring ostensibly operated by top Democrats was based. (Miraculously, no one was hurt.)
Alexander has been organizing conspiracy theorists and far-right groups such as the Proud Boys to rally at key symbols of power under the rubric “Stop the Steal,” a campaign designed to “force” legislatures in battleground states to call a special session to appoint Republicans to the Electoral College who will vote for their own party rather than the party whose candidate won the election in that state. (It is customary for members of the Electoral College to vote for the presidential candidate who won the popular vote in their state, which in these cases was the Democrat, Joe Biden.)
On Tuesday, Alexander tweeted out a video of himself updating his followers on the effort. “We have Republican leadership that is backstabbing us but are trying to give the public optics,” he said. “What you absolutely need to do is tell every single Republican member that if you do not put out a press release stating that you support a special session, then I’m going to donate money to your primary opponent when you’re up next.”
“Tell them,” he continued, “‘Oh, you live in a Republican district? Good. It’ll be easier to oust you.’ So you tell them, if we don’t get press releases that say that they stand in support of the people who already support Trump, they’re gone … We’re giving the party an opportunity to come back to its base without burning it down immediately, but we’re willing to burn it all down.”