McConnell called Sidney Powell and Lin Wood 'clowns' as they pushed to help Trump overturn the election

McConnell called Sidney Powell and Lin Wood 'clowns' as they pushed to help Trump overturn the election
A composite image of (l-r): Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and attorneys Sidney Powell and Lin Wood.Alex Brandon/AP; Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP; Meg Kinnard/AP
  • Mitch McConnell called two of the biggest drivers of 2020 election conspiracies "clowns."
  • He was referring to GOP attorneys Sidney Powell and Lin Wood in an interview for a forthcoming book.

Then-Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell blasted far-right attorneys and at-times Trump advisors Lin Wood and Sidney Powell as "clowns" ahead of Georgia's critical Senate runoffs in January 2021 that sealed Republicans out of power in Washington.

"Everybody around him, except for clowns like Sidney Powell and Lin Wood, are trying to get him to do the right thing," McConnell told New York Times reporters Jonathan Martin and Alexander Burns in an interview for their forthcoming book of efforts to get President Donald Trump to accept that he lost the 2020 election.

McConnell's statement that "everybody around" Trump was trying to convince him to concede the race is belied by the mountains of reports, emails, and text messages that have come to light since the January 6 insurrection. McConnell's comments were first reported by CNN which obtained an advance excerpt of the book, "This Will Not Pass: Trump, Biden, and the Battle for America's Future."

White House chief of staff Mark Meadows was pressing the Justice Department to probe a ridiculous conspiracy theory that Italians changed votes using satellites. Outside of the official government, Trump's allies like Stephen Bannon and Rudy Giuliani were gathering at the Willard Hotel, which is right across from the White House, in the days ahead of January 6 to find a way for Trump to cling to power.

Establishment Republicans may have treated Wood and Powell like gadflies, but they were at times very closely involved in Trump's broader orbit. Powell, who helped popularize election conspiracy theories under the umbrella "Release the Kraken," was floated as a potential special counsel to investigate voter fraud.


Trump had a more definite break with Wood after the attorney suggested then-Vice President Mike Pence could face execution by firing squad and that Republicans should boycott Georgia's Senate runoffs. But Trump had praised the Wood before those comments.

Wood, who responded to Insider after the initial publication of this story, said in response to McConnell's reported comment that he "did not know what his factual basis was to make that type of insult." Wood added that "I pray for Mitch McConnell."

"I don't know Mitch McConnell and he doesn't know me," Wood said in an interview. "I'm not a clown. I'm a 69-year-old lawyer who loves Jesus Christ."

In response to questions from Insider, Wood strongly objected to an implication that he and Powell worked extensively together. He also refused to say Biden was the legitimate and duly elected President of the United States, still arguing that more investigations should be undertaken into the election's outcome.

Powell and Wood have faced both professional and potential civil liability for their comments. A Michigan judge ordered the lawyers to take basic education courses on how to file a lawsuit.


"This lawsuit represents a historic and profound abuse of the judicial process," U.S. District Judge Linda Parker wrote in her scathing opinion.

Powell could not be reached for comment.

This story was first published on April 13, 2022, and has been updated to reflect Lin Wood's response.