A new report from The Washington Post reveals that the effort after the 2020 election to collect potentially extremely sensitive data from machines used in the electoral process was more expansive and coordinated than previously known.
Sidney Powell, an infamous far-right lawyer who Trump once named as a member of his post-election legal team and who was broadly involved in attempts to undercut the 2020 election, was evidently closely involved in setting up these efforts. Revelations about the multi-state scheme, which targeted locales in Nevada, Michigan, and Georgia, emerged from what a technology firm called SullivanStrickler produced in response to a subpoena in a Georgia lawsuit. That firm completed work in these locations to obtain or examine data from local election systems. In two instances, the efforts were conducted under court authority, but a Michigan judge dealing with disputes over initial mistakes from human error in Antrim County’s election results specifically restricted the “use, distribution or manipulation of the forensic images and/or other information gleaned from the forensic investigation without further order of this court.”
A conference put on by election conspiracy theorist Mike Lindell later saw the promotion of data garnered — apparently by SullivanStrickler — from the Antrim case. Powell — who was not, on paper, actually involved in the Michigan litigation over the Antrim results — arranged payment for the first day’s work that SullivanStrickler completed in the case. Paul Maggio, the chief operations officer for the tech firm, indicated to Powell and another election conspiracy theorist, former intelligence official Jim Penrose, that data from the Antrim case would be available. Powell also helped direct work launched by SullivanStrickler in Wayne County, a Michigan jurisdiction that includes Detroit. Attempts by allies of the former president to obtain Wayne County data weren’t previously known, according to the Post.
On December 21, 2020, Maggio sent an invoice characterized as “the retainer for the Wayne County, Michigan work, starting tomorrow.” Powell replied within minutes that an employee of hers would “transfer money promptly, with the understanding that I and Phil Waldron and Todd and Conan will receive a copy of all data immediately.” The Post says that local officials in Wayne County didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment about the revelations. The level of success for the Wayne County work — meaning how much data the Trump allies obtained — isn’t immediately clear. Powell was also involved in a covert effort to copy election system data from a jurisdiction in Georgia called Coffee County. Maggio and his firm also participated in the Coffee scheme, and emails indicate he kept Powell updated about the work.
David Cross, a lawyer for plaintiffs in the Georgia court case that provided the backdrop for these revelations, indicated their side would be alerting the judge in the case — and the FBI — to the records. Cross said the plaintiffs’ team would provide materials to the FBI alongside both state and local election officials in Georgia. Newly available info provides an array of revelations beyond the startling details about Powell, such as how SullivanStrickler’s services were used by the Trump campaign after a court order allowing a limited examination of election-related machinery in Clark County, Nevada. Powell was also involved in efforts at the White House. Former White House counsel Pat Cipollone said in testimony to the House riot panel that Powell may have been under the impression after a lengthy December 18, 2020, meeting at the White House that she was appointed special counsel, with an aim of dealing with (imaginary) fraud. What corrupt steps might Trump have undertaken to convince Powell of such a thing?