US President Donald Trump has taken the extraordinary step of distancing himself from one of the top lawyers trying to keep him in power.
The move comes as Trump's campaign makes ever more outlandish claims of voter fraud, just as remaining legal avenues for him to remain in office get choked off.
On Sunday (US time), the Trump team effectively dumped Sidney Powell, a lawyer who had been one of the most high-profile of the President's supporters and also the most willing to posit bizarre theories as to why the election had been lost.
Trump himself had cited Powell as part of his "team" spearheading the "legal effort" around the elections a week ago.
Just days ago, Powell appeared at press conferences alongside Trump's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani and legal adviser Jenna Ellis.
However, Powell appeared to have crossed a line on Saturday when she claimed that Trump lost the state of Georgia in the presidential election because Republican Governor Brian Kemp – an ally of Trump – was in cahoots with Venezuela and had been bribed to flip votes to Joe Biden.
That prompted the former Governor of New Jersey Chris Christie, one of the most high-profile politicians to first back Trump during his initial election bid, to berate Powell.
"Sidney Powell accusing Governor Brian Kemp of a crime on television yet being unwilling to go on TV and defend and lay out the evidence that she supposedly has, this is outrageous conduct," he said on Sunday.
A bizarre statement from Giuliani and Ellis said Powell had nothing officially to do with the election court cases despite her constant presence alongside both of them.
"Sidney Powell is practising law on her own," the statement read.
"She is not a member of the Trump Legal Team. She is also not a lawyer for the President in his personal capacity."
Powell is a well-known conservative lawyer. Her profile rose when she took on the case of Michael Flynn, a Trump aide who pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI.
She had played a central role in Trump's efforts to get hundreds of thousands of votes nullified in big cities such as Philadelphia and Detroit that voted for Biden. But the legal strategy has failed to produce any big changes to the tallied results.
She received the nickname the "Kraken," a huge mythical sea creature, after she vowed to "release the Kraken" of evidence to back up her claims.
However, that has yet to occur.
Tucker Carlson, a Fox News commentator who has long been a supporter of Trump, laid into Powell last week, berating her for making big claims about election fraud but not backing them up with any proof.
"We took Sidney Powell seriously, with no intention of fighting with her. We've always respected her work and we simply wanted to see the details," he said.
"But she never sent us any evidence, despite a lot of polite requests. When we kept pressing, she got angry and told us to stop contacting her.
"When we checked with others around the Trump campaign, people in positions of authority, they also told us Powell had never given them any evidence to prove anything she claimed at the press conference."