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Jan. 6 Committee Goes After Peddlers of Trump’s Fraud Claim; Seeks to Depose Rudy Giuliani, Sidney Powell, and Jenna Ellis

Sidney Powell and Rudy Giuliani via Drew Angerer_Getty Images

Sidney Powell looks on as and Rudy Giuliani gestures to a map which alleged “pathways to victory” in their attempt to keep Donald Trump in office.

Former President Donald Trump’s former lawyer Rudy Giuliani, legal advisor Jenna Ellis, and two other peddlers of his false election fraud claims have been hit with subpoenas in the Jan. 6 investigation.

Sidney Powell, who unsuccessfully tried to overturn President Joe Biden’s victory in four states, stood behind Giuliani in a widely ridiculed press conference in December.

As sweat apparently laced with hair dye dribbled down his face, Giulaini gestured to a placard boasting “Multiple Pathways to Victory” long after Trump had lost. Powell announced her disastrous plan to “Release the Kraken” — a phrase she borrowed from the Hollywood blockbuster “Clash of the Titans.” That litigation failed in spectacular fashion, leading a federal judge to refer Powell and her co-counsel to their respective bar associations for “possible suspension or disbarment.”

The fourth recipient of the subpoena, ex-Trump communications officer and former Sinclair Media Group talking head Boris Epshteyn, was the man whose far-right commentary was designated as “must-runs” on the conservative media network’s galaxy of hundreds of local television stations from coast to coast. Sinclair dropped Epshteyn in 2019, but he reportedly had a phone call with Trump on the morning of Jan. 6.

Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.), the chairman of the Select Committee to Investigate the Jan. 6 Attack on the U.S. Capitol, said that all four of the subpoenaed individuals contributed to the theories that underpinned the siege.

“The Select Committee is looking into the causes that contributed to the violence on January 6th, including attempts to promote unsupported claims of election fraud and pressure campaigns to overturn the 2020 election results,” Thompson wrote in a statement. “The four individuals we’ve subpoenaed today advanced unsupported theories about election fraud, pushed efforts to overturn the election results, or were in direct contact with the former President about attempts to stop the counting of electoral votes.”

The letters to Giuliani and Powell cite Axios’s reporting that both of them urged President Trump to direct the seizure of voting machines around the country.

In Giuliani’s case, the committee noted, the ex-mayor was told that that the Department of Homeland Security had no lawful authority to do so.

The committee also described the blowback Powell has received so far from over her “Kraken” lawsuits, from both court sanctions and possible civil liabilities.

“The Select Committee notes that one federal court has imposed monetary sanctions against you and referred you to the State Bar of Texas for possible disbarment based on your pursuit of election fraud claims that were ‘not well-grounded in fact’ but, rather, based on ‘conjecture and speculation,'” they wrote in a footnote. “Indeed, you have argued in a separate federal case that certain of your claims of election fraud were merely ‘opinions’ that ‘reasonable people would not accept . . . as fact.'”

The committee was referring to one of Powell’s legal arguments to try to swat away a $1.3 billion lawsuit by Dominion Voting Systems, a company at the heart of her election conspiracy theories. Powell recently asserted that she still believes those theories to try to dismiss a separate complaint by a Venezuelan businessman.

Lawyer Jenna Ellis (R) listens to Melissa Carone, who was working for Dominion Voting Services, as she speaks in front of the Michigan House Oversight Committee in Lansing, Michigan on December 2, 2020. - Jenna Ellis, one of US President Donald Trumps lawyers, has tested positive for coronavirus, according to media reports on December 8, 2020. Ellis had attended a Christmas party at the White House. Her reported positive test also comes just days after Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani tested positive. He was hospitalized on December 6, 2020.

Lawyer Jenna Ellis (R) listens to Melissa Carone, who was working for Dominion Voting Services, as she speaks in front of the Michigan House Oversight Committee in Lansing, Michigan on December 2, 2020. (Photo by JEFF KOWALSKY/AFP via Getty Images.)

As for its interest in Ellis, the committee wants to scrutinize reports that she prepared and circulated two memos “purporting to analyze the constitutional authority for the Vice President to reject or delay counting electoral votes from states that had submitted alternate slates of electors,” according to the committee’s letter.

Thompson estimated that the committee has spoken to more than 400 witnesses to date. Powell and Giuliani did not immediately respond to Law&Crime’s requests for comment.

Read Giuliani’s letter below:

(Featured photo via Drew Angerer/Getty Images.)

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Law&Crime's managing editor Adam Klasfeld has spent more than a decade on the legal beat. Previously a reporter for Courthouse News, he has appeared as a guest on NewsNation, NBC, MSNBC, CBS's "Inside Edition," BBC, NPR, PBS, Sky News, and other networks. His reporting on the trial of Ghislaine Maxwell was featured on the Starz and Channel 4 documentary "Who Is Ghislaine Maxwell?" He is the host of Law&Crime podcast "Objections: with Adam Klasfeld."