Trump Lawyer Claimed Long-Dead Hugo Chavez Tilted 2020 Election

Accusations by attorney Sidney Powell are among the unproven claims by GOP backers who insist Trump was robbed on Nov. 3. 

WASHINGTON — Though he died in 2013, the late Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez was somehow involved in a scheme to rig the 2020 election in favor of Joe Biden, according to a lawyer working for President Donald Trump’s re-election campaign on Thursday. Trump continues to contest the results of the Nov. 3 election.

In a hastily called Washington news conference on Nov. 19, the attorney, Sidney Powell, also claimed a “communist money” scheme also likely involved Cuba and “likely China.” Without offering any proof, she said the three countries likely financed software that was used to tilt the election in Biden’s favor.

The claim was the latest in a string of unsubstantiated attacks on the integrity of the Nov. 3 vote, and came on the same day the Trump campaign suffered its 30th courtroom setback in efforts to challenge results in swing states.

Attorney Sidney Powell speaks to the press about various lawsuits related to the 2020 election, inside the Republican National Committee headquarters on November 19, 2020 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

As the White House continues to fight Biden—it still refuses to cooperate with his transition team—some Republicans have begun to edge away from the administration. Others have leveled accusations of their own.

Texas Rep. Louie Gohmert has made one, citing a tweeted claim that U.S. military officials in Germany raided the offices of an electronic voting systems company, Scytl, and confiscated servers. That, Gohmert said, was evidence of voter fraud.

Gohmert has since conceded he’s not sure what, if anything, happened.

“I don’t know the truth,” he said during an interview on Newsmax, the conservative cable news channel. “I know that there was a German tweet in German saying that on Monday, U.S. Army forces went into Scytl and grabbed their server.”

Trump’s allies have claimed data on that server would show that Trump won re-election by a landslide, even winning California, which went 2-to-1 for Biden and hasn’t backed a Republican since George H.W. Bush in 1988.

Scytl, based in Barcelona, Spain, bills itself as the “worldwide leader in secure electronic voting, election management and election modernization solutions,” and says the only thing Gohmert got right is that he doesn’t know the truth.

“Servers in Frankfurt were used as back-up servers for a specific project for the European Parliament in 2019. These back-up servers were closed in September 2019,” said Gwendoline Savoy, a company spokeswoman.

“The U.S. Army has not seized anything from Scytl in Barcelona, Frankfurt or anywhere else,” she said, and “the company does not have offices in Germany.”

Scytl also “strongly denies any accusation related to election fraud,” Savoy said. “Scytl does not tabulate, tally or count votes in US public elections. We did not provide online voting to U.S. jurisdictions for the US elections.”

Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) questions Adam D. DeMarco, Major District of Columbia National Guard, during the House Natural Resources Committee hearing on Unanswered Questions About the US Park Police’s June 1 Attack on Peaceful Protesters at Lafayette Square on July 28, 2020 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Bill Clark-Pool/Getty Images)

Gohmert spokeswoman Kimberly Willingham did not respond to phone messages asking about Gohmert’s Scytl claims.

Re-elected this month to his ninth term in Congress, the 67-year old former Texas judge is no stranger to controversy and conspiracy. After voicing skepticism over the severity of the coronavirus pandemic, he became infected during the summer and blamed it on the mask he wore. The incident prompted House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy to call him “Congressman COVID.”

During a congressional hearing in 2017 with then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Gohmert unveiled a sprawling spiderweb-like chart which he said showed deep corruption in the Justice Department during the presidency of Barack Obama.

Gohmert in 2014 was sympathetic to a radio show caller who suggested the 2012 Sandy Hook school massacre, which left 20 children and six adults dead, may have been a hoax perpetrated to advance gun control. “I’m always learning new things and appreciate the input,” he said then, promising to watch a conspiracy theory video about it.

WASHINGTON, DC – NOVEMBER 13: U.S. President Donald Trump walks up to speak about Operation Warp Speed in the Rose Garden at the White House on November 13, 2020 in Washington, DC. The is the first time President Trump has spoken since election night last week, as COVID-19 infections surge in the United States. (Photo by Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images)

President Trump continues to claim that widespread voter fraud killed his re-election bid, tweeting that Biden “won because the Election was Rigged.” The president, who has yet to concede or offer independently confirmable evidence that he was cheated, has launched an array of lawsuits in key states, none of which has been successful.

Trump fired Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency chief Chris Krebs this week for what the president called “highly inaccurate” remarks about election integrity. Krebs, a Trump appointee, angered the president after his agency released a statement calling the 2020 election “the most secure in American history.”

The statement said that “[t]here is no evidence that any voting system deleted or lost votes, changed votes, or was in any way compromised.”

(Edited by David Matthew and Matthew Hall.)