Sidney Powell Has Become No More than a Channel for the Fevered Rantings of Her Twitter Followers

Sidney Powell has outdone herself in this motion for recusal, submitted 16 months after the appropriate time for such a motion. This thread unpacks it.

I want to look at the crazy-ass echo chamber that Powell is engaged in.

In her filing, she argues that because “a random sample of tweets of citizens in response to the hearing” suggest Judge Emmet Sullivan is biased, it supports a claim that he appears biased.

Because “unbiased, impartial adjudicators are the cornerstone of any system of justice worthy of the label, [a]nd because ‘[d]eference to the judgments and rulings of courts depends upon public confidence in the integrity and independence of judges,’ jurists must avoid even the appearance of partiality.” Al Nashiri, 921 F.3d at 233- 234. The court jettisoned any appearance of neutrality before and throughout the hearing. Judge Sullivan’s words and conduct prior to and during the hearing have had a profound negative affect on “public confidence in the integrity of the judicial process” and require him to recuse himself under §455(a) and §455(b)(1). Liljeberg v. Health Servs. Acquisition Corp., 486 U.S. 847, 860 (1988). See Ex. A (a random sample of tweets of citizens in response to the hearing).


The court’s hostile tenor made its abject bias resounding to thousands who listened or who read the transcript. Countless tweets from Americans who were watching what became a circus reflect their view of the federal judiciary. Ex. A. It was apparent that the court was desperate to find something wrong.

Here’s the list of tweets she draws on.

The first is “Undercover Huber,” one of the two most ardent recyclers of her garbage propaganda. For some reason Powell redacts his avatar but here it is:

Powell has likely violated PACER rules with this filing, as she submitted the personal information of a bunch of random people without redacting it. Suffice it to say that these people are responding to:

  • High Gaslighter Catherine Herridge
  • Powell herself
  • Mike Flynn himself
  • QAnon account @SSG_Pain
  • Jack Posobiec
  • Epoch Times
  • John W Huber
  • Lara Logan
  • President Trump
  • Tom Fitton
  • The Last Refuge



Some are fairly obviously bots.

But the craziest bit is that Sidney Powell includes these two tweets in her totally random collection of tweets which she has obviously searched for by searching on “Eric” and “Judge Sullivan” (which means they’re not random at all):

It turns out, however, that one of just a few that had that reaction to this hearing. The rest of tweets that come up on such a search invoke a more generalized conspiracy about a black judge being friends with a black former Attorney General.

That doesn’t matter to Sidney Powell. She’s got a point to manufacture.

Back in her motion to recuse, she suggests (having lauded Sullivan in the past in this case because of his actions in the Ted Stevens case) that the reason Sullivan did dismiss Stevens’ case but not Flynn’s is because Holder made the motion in the former.

There are only two material differences between the government misconduct here and that in the Stevens case. The first is that the government misconduct against General Flynn is far worse—and it goes all the way to the Obama oval office. ECF No. 248; Exs. D, E. The second is the name of the Attorney General. As the court noted on the record last week, “Eric” moved to dismiss the wrongful Stevens case—with prejudice—and the court granted it immediately on a two-page motion. Hr’g Tr. 09-29-20 at 90.

I think the suggestion is that if a black Attorney General had made the request here, Sullivan would have granted it.

And from there, she goes exactly where her Twitter nutjobs want her to, and demands — with no basis whatsoever — all communications between Emmet Sullivan and Eric Holder.

All communications and visits with Eric Holder about this case or General Flynn, identification of the number of visits Eric Holder has made to Chambers about this case or General Flynn, or other personal meetings regarding General Flynn with Eric Holder to whom Emmet Sullivan referred as “Eric” on the record in the hearing. Hr’g Tr. 09-29-20 at 89.

Powell’s fevered motions have literally become just the expression of the Id of her own crazed Twitter thread.


32 replies
  1. ohsopolite says:

    Using “affect” instead of “effect” in the third sentence of the first quoted paragraph does not speak well for Powell’s grasp of the English language, let alone her dubious legal acumen.

    • boba says:

      I believe that is a correct usage of affect (to influence) and that it should not be effect (result, to cause a result).

      • subtropolis says:

        Nope, it should be effect. “… had a profound negative effect on …”

        It could be Marcy’s error, though. I don’t know whether she’s copying & pasting or transcribing. Mistakes happen, and this is really small beer.

  2. foggycoast says:

    maybe a naive question at this point….is this really all about flynn’s military pension and status? afaiu, if trump pardons him the conviction remains on his record. does that affect his military pension?

    • subtropolis says:

      It seems to me that it’s about avoiding putting Flynn in a position where he might choose to do a deal, but doing so in a manner which does not require a pardon. I’m a little surprised at that because Trump sure doesn’t seem to give a damn. But, the ultimate goal is to keep Flynn’s head above water lest he does something desperate. Similar to how Stone was taken care of.

      As for his pension, etc., I’d think that he’d lose it but that’s an uninformed guess.

      • Rugger9 says:

        Loss of pension requires Dismissal from the Army which takes a court martial. If the Army chooses to go that route (and they just might be angry enough to do so) it will be after the civilian prosecution is complete. “Conduct unbecoming of an officer” or “conduct bringing discredit upon the service” among others would be the charges if I had to guess.

      • MattyG says:

        Even DT knows that Flynn knows the skinny on major aspects of DT/Russia, DT/Turkey, DT/Saudis etc. A pardon doesn’t protect DT since Flynn could still be forced to testify about what he knows, and letting him rot in jail – something DT wouldn’t have an issue with in and of itself – would risk Flynn deciding to “return the favor” and sing an interesting tune. A book, interviews etc., pull a Cohen basically. So DT is intent on avoiding both having to pardon him OR seeing him sent to jail.

        Getting the charges dropped altogether is the obvious best outcome for DT. So DOJ standing on it’s head and all it’s buffoonery is because of this IMHO.

  3. Alan Charbonneau says:

    I am not a lawyer, but even I can tell that this is sheer idiocy. The irony of her statement “It was apparent that the court was desperate to find something wrong” really struck me as amusing. Her entire defense of Flynn has been “desperate to find something wrong”.

    The “random” tweets are so not-random that to pretend otherwise is simply bizarre. I think most attorneys would be embarrassed to put forth such an argument.

    • subtropolis says:

      Yeah, including the tweets was bonkers. My guess is she as motivated to do so because it’s like tossing chum in the water. “omg! She’s using OUR awesome deductive powers to argue her case!!1!”

      It’s ridiculous, but these are people who aren’t shy about rubbing shoulders with the Q Believers. Powell is utterly contemptuous.

    • Eureka says:

      foggy, I’ve got an archive question for you. If one views, say, a wingnut website (but really any site) thru (like a wayback captured url), does that mean that only can access the visitor’s info like IP address and such? Can elements loading from the originating site get a visitor’s info, is there a hybrid-like basis? Like if you click to read fox news article title, does fox dot com also get the visitor’s info?

      Related question, can captures contain malware or trackers (such as can be embedded in ads on websites)?

      • tropo says:

        When spiders a page, it creates local copies of all the linked images and other files a page links to, and recreates the links internally. Nothing links back to the original page, so you won’t be leaking information to the original site. Linking back to the original site would actually defeat what Internet Archive is trying to do in the first place, as it would not effectively be a backup, if it had to reference the original.

        • tropo says:

          I have to add though: I haven’t poked at it enough to know how it handles the “outlinks” (third party links to other sites like twitter and such.)

        • Eureka says:

          Thanks, tropo — that’s what I had always thought to be the case. But in the last several months/ year or so (and if I had a concrete e.g. in front of me right now it would help, but I do not), I’ve noticed that loading some captures of pages (from major news orgs or otherwise legit sites) that the loading seems ‘alive’ like some hybrid storage thing is happening (like where a js-based popup/pop-over will obscure, say, a news-org page that has already loaded but it doesn’t like that you are in private browsing mode) (and to be clear, I _am_ talking about archived pages/captures, _not_ the option of visiting the live page on the web) .

          So maybe it’s the case that the pages in question just got archived with the moving-piece junk, too. Wish I had an example to share/inspect on hand of what’s prompting my question(s).

        • skua says:

          Saving and then opening the saved file of a “shuttering” webpage as “HTML only”, rather than “Complete”, worked for me yesterday.

        • Eureka says:

          Thanks, skua. Another solution to that particular problem is to disable javascript, as commenter phoneinducedpinkeye has pointed out.

      • Raven Eye says:

        I am able to check the logs provided by my ISP for my website and can see the visitors IP address. In one case, I determined that my site was accessed by an airline’s account. In that situation they (having read the URL on my luggage tag) were visiting the site at the same time they should have been making sure the bag was being loaded on the plane (at a small airport). The bags didn’t arrive in DC when I did, ended up being handled by a code-share airline, and were missing for a couple of days.

        The very nice customer service guy at the originating airline, when presented with the log information, was quite apologetic (he actually worked hard to find the luggage and resolve things), and a thick wad of frequent flier miles ended up in my account — without me even asking.

        • Eureka says:

          ;) interesting outcome there. Sounds like someone was doing some research (and then got out-researched).

      • foggycoast says:

        generally speaking does not collection IP information.

        is there malware in the Wayback Machine….undoubtedly.

        since the Wayback collection the html of web pages some site code their pages redirects and other dynamic code. it’s complicated for sure.

    • subtropolis says:

      That was an interesting read for me, because the narrative aligns closely with my own impression of where and how it all came about.

      “How do I know this? Because I am Q. In fact, I am the original Q. One of them, anyway.”

      I believe it. Not because I have anything invested in this particular origin story, but it’s nonetheless pretty much exactly what I presumed had happened, and this person has obviously the experience with the boards that he says that he does.

      It was all just shitposts and trolling. And it found a hungry audience in multitudes of credulous, angry dimwits who’d been chummed up by the Troll King himself, who had very good reason to desire that they go ever further down the rabbit hole. And the various Q shitposters obliged, spinning that wheel of crazy; stirring up a thick ragou of nonsense that kept the marks hungry for more.

      Still, it’s mind-boggling that so many have fallen so hard for his. And, a little bit terrifying that many Republicans are not above wading in that stench.

      • Ken Muldrew says:

        Yeah, the banality of popular mass-movements. I thought it was at least taking Q from the Q-document, but no, it’s just Star Trek. Anyway, there are sure a lot of people searching for a utopian ideology and they aren’t too fussy about which ones they glom onto. Let’s hope nobody with genuine evil intentions discovers the secret sauce that captures these people.

  4. klynn says:

    Reading this post made me feel like we are in an alternate universe. Powell’s depth of connection to propaganda, paired with her “clean” and controlled online presence makes me wonder about actors that back her.

    • pseudonymous in nc says:

      Yeah, Powell has got high on her own supply, and by ‘supply’ I mean the three-star Twitter loons. So has Grenell with his troll minions. So have the Federalist faceplants who block most people who call them out.

      EW has spoken a little about how the Flynn case is where the alternative history of the Russia investigation manufactured by the frothers overlaps most obviously with the bonkers world of Qanon, and the intersection of that Venn diagram grows larger by the day.

      All of these people are connected to power. That’s what makes it scary.

  5. Eureka says:

    I can’t believe I am reading this, that this actually happened. In a federal court filing by an actual attorney in a high profile case in the United States of America.

    ETA: now that I see your comment, klynn, it seems we had similar reactions.

  6. Krisy Gosney says:

    Could this filing have been thrown together or pulled out of the file labeled ‘far-out, hail Mary’s’ and filed today to create a diversion from the false date trickery they tried to pull off (and that Pres Trump tried to promote in the last debate)?

  7. PeterS says:

    I was amused that Powell thinks that Judge Sullivan is guided by Rachel Maddow. I also enjoyed the restrained tone of her closing sentence, “the appearance of bias here is terrifying”.

  8. tvor_22 says:

    Flynn’s buddy, Anthony Shaffer, has been feeding the qanon mill too. I’ve been trying to find people who were spreading Binney’s initial NSA-as-leakers conspiracy theory and Shaffer’s one of the ones who provided the most explicit description, going the extra step and suggesting it was the retired NSA operatives who did the hacking themselves (he said this appearing next to Binney on Hannity in 2017, with Binney nodding along, and also in a new yorker article where he was quoted as describing a “task organization” of retired intelligence workers). Other reason’s he interesting: around the time Stone’s plot was hatched, Shaffer snapped a selfie of himself steps away from The Beach Cafe on the upper east side (Roger Stone’s watering hole). Could be nothing and Binney just fed him the same shit he fed everyone else, but it could also be he’s balls deep too. He was also in the UK when everyone thought Assange was going to drop the Podesta material (but bottled it) and posted a selfie of himself monitoring the event as he watched the live stream on his laptop.

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