Jenna Ellis is a right-wing Christian lawyer who served as a legal adviser to Trump during his final year in office. With a law degree from the University of Richmond in Virginia, she began her legal career as a deputy district attorney in Weld County, a rural area of Colorado. Ellis later worked at the Dobson Policy Institute—run by evangelical activist James Dobson, who advocates for such so-called “family values” as corporal punishment and intolerance of LGBTQ rights. Although she has never litigated in a federal or district court, Ellis describes herself as a “constitutional law attorney.” In 2019 she joined the Trump administration as a “senior legal advisor,” eventually playing a role in disputing the outcome of the 2020 election.
January 6, 2021
- On Dec. 31, 2020, Ellis delivered a memo to Trump arguing that Vice President Mike Pence should not certify Electoral College votes from any states where Trump and his allies believed fraud had occurred. On Jan. 4, 2021, she made the same argument on the pro-Trump media channel Real America’s Voice. Politico points out that her grasp of constitutional powers is “widely disputed” by legal authorities.
- On Jan. 5, 2021, Ellis issued a second memo addressed to Trump’s lawyer Jay Sekulow arguing that elements of the Electoral Count Act were unconstitutional and that Pence could and should stop the electoral vote count early in the process the following day.
- Ellis is a member of Turning Point USA (TPUSA), a group that participated in the Jan. 6 March to Save America rally that devolved into the violent attack on the Capitol that afternoon.
- Since angry Trump supporters attacked the Capitol, Ellis has downplayed the significance of the event, claiming on Nov. 9, 2021, that “January 6 is the new Russia Collusion. Democrats will continue to drive this propaganda until they come up with a new way to try to push Trump and his supporters aside.”
- In January 2022, Ellis was subpoenaed by the House Select Committee investigating the insurrection. In response to the subpoena, she tweeted that members of the committee are “just mad they can’t date me.”
The Big Lie
- On Nov. 9, 2020, Ellis tweeted: “Election fraud = national security threat,” a militant endorsement of right-wing claims that Biden had stolen the election.
- In the weeks leading up to the Jan. 6 congressional procedure for certifying the election, Ellis continued to use her platform of over 897,000 followers on Twitter to issue false and misleading statements about the election. On Dec. 3, for example, she recycled the viral—and discredited—theory that Georgia elections officials had counted fraudulent ballots after ejecting observers from the room. “The VIDEO EVIDENCE being shown in the Georgia Senate Hearing is SHOCKING,” she tweeted. “Room cleared at 10:30pm. 4 people stay behind. Thousands of ballots pulled from under a table in suitcases and scanned. FRAUD!!!” Her tweet drew 108,000 “likes.”
- In the year following the election, Ellis continued to double down on the lie that the election had been stolen. In June 2021, for example, she wrote an article for Newsmax, a pro-Trump news outlet, claiming: “We have a system that is still the best government system ever designed. It isn’t perfect, and we saw clearly ways that it could be ignored, manipulated, and outright discarded in 2020.”
- Ellis used her podcast Just the Truth With Jenna Ellis and her platform on Twitter to voice support for partisan election audits in multiple states.
- In a June 6, 2021, episode of her podcast, Ellis invited Arizona GOP Chair Kelli Ward and Arizona State Rep. Jake Hoffman to discuss the Maricopa County election audit.
- On Twitter she has endorsed audits and audit attempts in Pennsylvania, Georgia, Arizona, and Texas.