Ever since Trump-aligned attorney Sidney Powell went on Fox Business and promised to “release the kraken”—a reference to her plot to expose baseless accusations of voter fraud and overturn the election results in favor of President Trump—the phrase has exploded in popularity as a rallying cry among QAnon supporters and members of Trump’s orbit, and become a butt of jokes among others as her nationwide legal effort fails at almost every turn.
Powell, a former federal prosecutor who rose to prominence as former Trump National Security Adviser Michael Flynn’s attorney, first uttered the phrase—which is a catchphrase from the 1981 movie “Clash of the Titans”—on Fox Business in mid-November during an interview with Lou Dobbs, claiming Trump’s legal team had a mountain of evidence to overturn the election results in several key states.
Since then, the Trump campaign has cut ties with Powell as she floated increasingly unhinged conspiracy theories and the “Kraken” conspiracy theories have been almost entirely debunked, but the phrase has lived on as the attorney continues her longshot bid to change the results of the election.
After Powell first used the phrase on November 13, the word “kraken” racked up hundreds of thousands of interactions on Facebook, according to the social media analytics tool CrowdTangle.
QAnon conspiracy theorists—who have a known ally in Powell—have embraced the catch phrase as a “masterstroke of the plan to overturn the election results,” according to Mike Rothschild, who recently published a book about conspiracy theories and tracks QAnon online.
Reached for comment Monday, Powell dismissed those who criticize the “kraken” as a collection of conspiracy theories. “That’s what they always say,” Powell said. “I’m obviously over the target. The fraud is blatant.”
Powell has filed lawsuits in battleground states across the country, including Michigan, Georgia, Arizona and Wisconsin, with little success. On Monday, a federal judge threw out her lawsuit in Georgia. Powell filed an emergency appeal Monday night.
“The claims in the Kraken lawsuit prove to be as mythological as the creature for which they’re named,” Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger said Monday. “Georgians can now move forward knowing that their votes, and only their legal votes, were counted accurately, fairly, and reliably.”
What To Watch For
QAnon followers believe that Powell’s “kraken” legal case will eventually end in the Supreme Court, where the justices will overturn the results of the election, a hope that is not steeped in reality. “They think everything is leading up to Trump’s hand-picked justices seeing the wisdom in all these dismissed suits and using some non-existent mechanism to award the election to Trump,” Rothschild said.