The decade's most triggering comedy
A new report released on Tuesday offered an alleged documentation of a heated argument between one man and a team of people as they argued about whether conspiracy theories regarding the November election were true.
The report from Axios highlighted what it described as being the “craziest meeting of the Trump presidency,” which happened on December 18. The meeting took place days after the Electoral College finalized the results of the election.
The report features a few different people inside the White House who argued against “four conspiracy theorists” who “marched into the Oval Office,” but pays special attention to White House senior adviser Eric Herschmann, who immediately said “How the hell did Sidney [Powell] get in the building?”
The group included Powell, an attorney, former national security adviser Michael Flynn, former Overstock.com CEO Patrick Byrne, and former Trump administration official, Emily Newman.
The group came to meet with Trump in an attempt to convince him to continue fighting to overturn the results of the 2020 election.
“As Powell and the others entered the Oval Office that evening, Herschmann — a wealthy business executive and former partner at Kasowitz Benson & Torres who’d been pulled out of quasi-retirement to advise Trump — quietly slipped in behind them,” the report said. “The hours to come would pit the insurgent conspiracists against a handful of White House lawyers and advisers determined to keep the president from giving in to temptation to invoke emergency national security powers, seize voting machines and disable the primary levers of American democracy.”
Powell continued to push her unsubstantiated claim that Dominion Voting Systems rigged their machines to steal the election from Trump and that it was part of a communist plot carried out by foreign nations. Powell is now facing a $1.3 billion lawsuit over the claims, and numerous news organizations have been forced to run retractions over similar claims.
Powell reportedly waved around a piece of paper claiming that she had testimony from someone involved in rigging the machines and proposed declaring a national security emergency and allowing her and others to seize the voting machines.
“Hold on a minute, Sidney,” Herschmann interrupted, according to the report. “You’re part of the Rudy team, right? Is your theory that the Democrats got together and changed the rules, or is it that there was foreign interference in our election?”
“It’s foreign interference,” Powell insisted, then added: “Rudy hasn’t understood what this case is about until just now.”
Stunned by the remarks, Herschmann immediately yelled out to an aide in the outer Oval Office. “Get [White House counsel] Pat [Cipollone] down here immediately!”
“You’re quitting! You’re a quitter!” Flynn reportedly screamed at Herschmann, who initially ignored Flynn’s remarks. “You’re not fighting!”
Instead, Herschmann slammed Powell, saying, “All you do is promise, but never deliver.”
Herschmann eventually had had enough of Flynn’s ranting at those who dared to question Powell’s unsubstantiated claims, the report continues, and said, “Why the f*** do you keep standing up and screaming at me? If you want to come over here, come over here. If not, sit your a** down.”
Flynn reportedly took a seat.
Byrne also startled White House officials, claiming without evidence that they had “already abandoned” the president.
Axios highlighted an exchange that immediately followed:
At one point, with Flynn shouting, Byrne raised his hand to talk. He stood up and turned around to face Herschmann. “You’re a quitter,” he said. “You’ve been interfering with everything. You’ve been cutting us off.”
“Do you even know who the f*** I am, you idiot?” Herschmann snapped back.
“Yeah, you’re Patrick Cipollone,” Byrne said.
“Wrong! Wrong, you idiot!”
The meeting continued to go off the rails as even “mild-mannered” White House staffers started to get aggressive in confronting the conspiracy theories that were being floated. Trump even reportedly slammed mistakes that Powell made as being “very embarrassing,” saying they “shouldn’t have happened.”
Powell, wanting to shift attention away from her team’s embarrassing mistakes, then pivoted to reportedly claiming that she had not “lost” all of the court cases.
The report continued:
Every judge is corrupt, she claimed. We can’t rely on them. The White House lawyers couldn’t believe what they were hearing. “That’s your argument?” a stunned Herschmann said. “Even the judges we appointed? Are you out of your f***ing mind?”
Flynn and Powell both reportedly bashed Trump’s DOJ, prompting Herschmann to fire back that had Trump’s DOJ not worked hard to produce the evidence that Flynn needed in his case, Flynn’s “a** would still be in jail.”
“Where do you think Sidney got this information? Where do you think it came from?” Herschmann said. “From the exact same people in the Department of Justice that you’re now saying are corrupt.”
The report continued:
Byrne, wearing jeans, a hoodie and a neck gaiter, piped up with his own conspiracy: “I know how this works. I bribed Hillary Clinton $18 million on behalf of the FBI for a sting operation.”
Herschmann stared at the eccentric millionaire. “What the hell are you talking about? Why would you say something like that?” Byrne brought up the bizarre Clinton bribery claim several more times during the meeting to the astonishment of White House lawyers.
Axios described Herschmann as being “primed to brawl” as he repeatedly shot down ideas that had little basis in reality for how the administration could overturn the results of the election.
Even Rudy Giuliani reportedly was trying to get the other conspiracy theories to tone it down, according to someone in the room, who said, “When Rudy’s the voice of reason, you know the meeting’s not going well.”
Later, when Giuliani physically joined the meeting after previously having called in, the report states that Herschmann informed him of what Powell was saying:
“Rudy,” he said, turning to Giuliani, “Sidney was just in the Oval telling the president you don’t know what the fuck you’re doing. Right, Sidney?” He turned to Powell: “Why don’t you tell Rudy to his face?”
“Eric, really it’s not appropriate,” Trump replied curtly.
“What’s not appropriate?” Herschmann shot back. Turning to Powell, he said, “Why don’t you repeat to Rudy what you just told the president in the Oval Office — that he has no idea about the case and that he only just began to understand it a few hours ago.”
Just a few days later, Giuliani made sure that the Trump legal defense distanced itself from Powell, saying, “Let me say definitively, Sidney Powell was not part of our legal team. She hasn’t been for five weeks. She is not a special counsel for the president; she does not speak for the president, nor does she speak for the administration. She speaks for herself. … whatever she is talking about, it’s her own opinions. … I’m not responsible for them, the president isn’t, nor is anybody else on our legal team.”