cut the ground from under

cut the ground from under (someone)

To suddenly cause problems for someone. I plan to cut the ground from under the prosecutor with this line of questioning.
See also: cut, ground

cut the ground from under

Unexpectedly withdraw support or destroy one's foundation, trip someone up. For example, Overriding his veto, Congress cut the ground from under the President. This metaphoric phrase alludes to removing the solid earth from under someone. [Mid-1800s]
See also: cut, ground

cut the ground from under somebody/somebody’s ˈfeet

suddenly spoil somebody’s idea or plan by doing something to stop them from continuing with it: When he announced that all my figures were out of date, he really cut the ground from under my feet.
See also: cut, feet, ground, somebody
References in classic literature ?
Alexey Alexandrovitch had gained a brilliant victory at the sitting of the Commission of the 17th of August, but in the sequel this victory cut the ground from under his feet.
It was impossible to say No: she had fairly cut the ground from under his feet.
In the moment of realization, after all his toil and waiting, you cut the ground from under his feet, destroy his idea, and make his gains worthless to him.
His cordial agreement with all I said cut the ground from under my feet.
He will cut the ground from under his own feet if he does; but I make no exception as regards any one else, for I want to have the matter out and know which is the best man.
According to an EP statement, it also called on the EU to consider convening a donor conference and stressed the need for a political transition in Syria and an inclusive government in Iraq to cut the ground from under the so-called ISIL.
Full browser ?