On the Monday night episode of his top-rated show, Fox Business Network host Lou Dobbs decided to hand over the microphone to one of his guests, the attorney Sidney Powell.
What Dobbs didn’t mention is that eight days earlier, President Trump’s reelection campaign had put out a statement dropping Powell from its legal effort to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election. The statement, which was released by Trump attorneys Rudolph W. Giuliani and Jenna Ellis, followed conspiratorial comments that Powell had made at a news conference three days earlier, part of a larger track record of questionable accusations lobbed by the former federal prosecutor. A Trump campaign official told The Washington Post at the time that Powell “was too crazy even for the president.”
But Powell’s lack of official credentials with the Trump campaign was no drawback for the most popular opinion hosts on Fox Business Network and Fox News. In addition to her appearance on Dobbs’s show, she was interviewed on Monday night by Sean Hannity, who hosts the most-watched show on Fox News. Hannity also hosted Powell on his radio show earlier in the day.
On both Fox Business and Fox News, Powell alleged mass fraud and misconduct on the part of the companies that administered voting machines and the states that tabulated the results and oversaw the counting process. (Network representatives did not respond to The Post’s request for comment about the veracity of her comments.)
“The system was set up to shave and flip different votes in different states,” Powell said on Fox Business on Monday night. “It’s really the most massive and historical, egregious fraud the world has ever seen.” Dobbs, who did not raise questions or ask Powell for proof, suggested that the Republican governor and secretary of state of Georgia should both be prosecuted.
“There was a whole plot going on and a lot of people involved in this,” Powell told Hannity, who, unlike Dobbs, acknowledged that Powell was no longer officially part of the Trump team.
Hannity did not challenge Powell when she claimed, without evidence, that voting machines “ran an algorithm that shaved votes from Trump and awarded them to Biden,” that companies “used machines to trash large batches of votes that should have been awarded to President Trump,” and that “they used the machine to inject and add massive quantities of votes for Mr. Biden.”
The companies involved, including Dominion Voting Systems, have denied the allegations, and Attorney General William P. Barr seemed to shoot down Powell’s theory in an interview with the Associated Press on Tuesday. “There’s been one assertion that would be systemic fraud, and that would be the claim that machines were programmed essentially to skew the election results,” he said. “And the [Department of Homeland Security] and [Department of Justice] have looked into that, and so far, we haven’t seen anything to substantiate that.”
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Earlier in the day on his radio show, Hannity argued that Trump should pardon himself and his family like he pardoned Powell’s client, Michael Flynn. Legal experts have questioned whether a president actually has the power to pardon himself, though.
Last week, Powell told Dobbs in a Fox Business interview that Trump “was elected in an absolute landslide nationwide” — even though the nonpartisan Fox News Decision Desk declared Biden the winner of the presidential election back on Nov. 7, the same day as other mainstream news organizations.
Since the election was called, Powell has not appeared on any of the network’s most down-the-middle news shows, although she has been a regular presence on Dobbs’s show and other opinion shows across the networks.
The warm welcome given to Powell by Dobbs, Hannity and Maria Bartiromo stands in stark contrast to comments made by their colleague Tucker Carlson, who on Nov. 19 called out Powell for not providing his show with evidence of her election fraud claims. “We invited Sidney Powell on the show,” Carlson said. “We would have given her the whole hour. We would have given her the entire week, actually, and listened quietly the whole time at rapt attention. That’s a big story. But she never sent us any evidence, despite a lot of requests — polite requests. Not a page. When we kept pressing, she got angry and told us to stop contacting her.”
Appearing on Bartiromo’s Fox Business show the morning after Carlson’s initial segment, Powell denied his characterization of her reaction. “No, I didn’t get angry with the request to provide evidence,” she said. “In fact, I sent an affidavit to Tucker that I had not even attached to a pleading yet to help him understand the situation, and I offered him another witness who could explain the mathematics and statistical evidence far better than I can. I’m not really a numbers person. But he was very insulting, demanding and rude, and I told him not to contact me again, in those terms.”
On Nov. 28, Powell retweeted the president’s criticism of Fox’s weekday and weekend news operations, which he called “virtually unwatchable.” On Nov. 22, she retweeted a post from conservative attorney Lin Wood, who wrote that “Fox News is now part of the propaganda arm of the leftists/Communists who think they are going to overthrow our Constitution.” (At the same time, Powell has given interviews to Fox’s rivals, including Newsmax and Sinclair Broadcast Group.)
Powell also retweeted several videos in which prominent conservatives criticized Carlson’s comments about her. “@TuckerCarlson you are not being genuine in how you represented yourself to @SidneyPowell1,” Flynn wrote on Nov. 20. “Why are you acting like a “Bell Ringer” and not a real journalist.”