A month after losing the November election, former president Donald Trump sought to appoint "Kraken" lawyer Sidney Powell as "special counsel" to investigate his false claims of election fraud — and, presumably, attempt to overturn the results.
However, when Trump's personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, got wind of Powell's possible appointment, he raced to the White House to intervene, according to "Peril," the new book from veteran journalists Bod Woodward and Robert Costa.
"Once Giuliani arrived, still putting on his tie, it was apparent there would be no harmony," Woodward and Costa wrote. "Giuliani gruffly told Powell she had to start looping him into her legal work. No more surprises. She was sharp in response: 'You never get back to me when I do. Read your texts.' Giuliani shook his head. 'Not true,' he said. 'You're the one keeping me in the dark!'"
According to CNN editor Chris Cillizza, "that was the end of that," and Trump never appointed Powell as "special counsel."
In a column published Tuesday, Cillizza writes that "amazingly," Giuliani's "massive ego" appears to have "saved the country from an utter disaster."
"Giuliani, the former New York City mayor, had aggressively positioned himself as the ringleader of Trump's merry band of conspiracy theorists," Cizilla writes. "And he didn't want to give up that prime position."
Cillizza notes that at the same meeting where Trump proposed appointing Powell as "special counsel," the former president also suggested that he would use the National Emergencies Act to seize voting machines.
"The chaos depicted in that episode is frightening. As Trump's circle of yes-men (and -women) shrunk in the aftermath of the election, he began to not only rely on decidedly fringe voices like Powell but also considered ways to formalize her role as chief conspiracy theorist within the formal government apparatus," Cizilla writes. "That Giuliani's ego -- and his desire to be the central legal conduit for bogus election fraud claims for Trump -- appears to be the only things that stood in the way shows you just how willing Trump, in his final days in office, was to shatter all norms in pursuit of a farcical election challenge."