President Donald Trump fired a top Homeland Security official who pushed back against false claims of voter fraud.
Chris Krebs, director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Agency, was among the election security officials who issued a statement last week that concluded that “There is no evidence that any voting system deleted or lost votes, changed votes, or was in any way compromised.”
Trump tweeted, “The recent statement by Chris Krebs on the security of the 2020 Election was highly inaccurate, in that there were massive improprieties and fraud – including dead people voting, Poll Watchers not allowed into polling locations, ‘glitches’ in the voting machines which changed..votes from Trump to Biden, late voting, and many more. Therefore, effective immediately, Chris Krebs has been terminated as Director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency.”
Twitter quickly put a label on his tweet, saying “This claim about election fraud is disputed.” Trump and his team have so far been turned back in the courts as they pursue his claims that the election was rigged.
Trump has refused to concede the election to Joe Biden. The AP and major networks declared Biden the projected winner on Nov. 7.
In recent days, Krebs has continued to push back against conspiracy theories about the 2020 election, including that election systems were manipulated. He wrote on Twitter that “59 election security experts all agree, ‘in every case of which we are aware, these claims either have been unsubstantiated or are technically incoherent.'” After his firing, Krebs wrote, “Honored to serve. We did it right. Defend Today, Secure Tomrorow [sic]. #Protect2020″
Trump’s claims have been amplified by conservative media, even as they present little to no evidence of systemic fraud. Trump’s legal team has been losing its court challenges. On Tuesday, Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani argued in federal court in Pennsylvania that there were enough illegal votes to overturn the results. But he was immediately met by an attorney representing several counties, who said that Giuliani’s claims were unverified and that his request to reject votes was “disgraceful.”
Fox News and Fox Business figures like Maria Bartiromo and Lou Dobbs have devoted numerous segments to the claims of voter fraud, while Newsmax has seen a spike in its ratings since the election as it declines to declare Biden the winner. Trump even tweeted a link to a Tucker Carlson segment in which he claimed that dead people voted in Georgia.
But on Friday, Carlson apologized after claiming that a dead man, James Blalock, voted in the election. But an Atlanta TV station tracked down his widow, Agnes Blalock, who said that it was she who voted under the name of Mrs. James Blalock. But Carlson did not address another dead person he claimed voted — Linda Kesler. In fact, that person did not vote, according to Atlanta station WXIA-TV.
Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, said in a statement, “Director Krebs worked diligently to safeguard our elections from interference and misinformation. He protected our democracy. And spoke truth to power. That’s why Trump retaliated and fired him. It’s pathetic and predictable from a president who views truth as his enemy.”
Some Republicans also defended Krebs. Sen. Ben Sasse (R-NE) said, “Chris Krebs did a really good job —as state election officials all across the nation will tell you — and he obviously should not be fired.”
Earlier on Tuesday, the board of canvassers in Wayne County, Michigan deadlocked on certifying the results in that county, with includes Detroit, after Republican members refused. Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson said that “Michigan’s Bureau of Elections stands ready to fulfill its duty to complete the canvas for Wayne County, address any clerical errors and improve the quality of the canvass overall. Importantly, this is not an indication that any votes were improperly cast or tabulated.” Later, the Wayne County board voted unanimously to certify the results, while calling on Benson to conduct an audit of precincts where absentee vote totals did not match.
Biden was declared the winner of Michigan, and has a lead of almost 150,000 votes.
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