Donald Trump has sacked the head of a US government cybersecurity agency that publicly rebuked the President’s allegations of widespread voter fraud.
Last week, the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency – part of the Department of Homeland Security – issued a statement describing the 2020 election as “the most secure in American history”.
It came hours after Mr Trump made a wild allegation that voting machine company Dominion had “deleted 2.7 million Trump votes nationwide”.
The statement issued by CISA, authored by members of its Election Infrastructure Government Co-ordinating Council and Election Infrastructure Sector Co-ordinating Council, said there was “no evidence that any voting system deleted or lost votes, changed votes, or was in any way compromised”.
“When you have questions, turn to elections officials as trusted voices as they administer elections,” it said.
CISA Director Chris Krebs tweeted the statement, writing, “TLDR: America, we have confidence in the security of your vote, you should, too.”
“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,” he tweeted.
“Therefore, effective immediately, Chris Krebs has been terminated as Director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency.”
He added, “The only thing secure about our 2020 election was that it was virtually impenetrable by foreign powers. On that, the Trump administration takes great credit. Unfortunately, the radical left Democrats, Dominion, and others, were perhaps more successful!”
Mr Trump also shared a clip of Ohio Republican Congressman Jim Jordan speaking on Fox News in support of the decision.
“I mean come on, they said the most secure election in American history?” Mr Jordan said.
“There are 73 million Americans who disagree with that statement. Why don’t we let the process work? Why don’t we let the law work? Why don’t we follow the Constitution? We’ve got 27 days until the electoral college meets, so let’s just let this play out. What’s wrong with four weeks of investigating this election, with all the irregularities in all these key swing states?”
Shortly after the announcement, Mr Krebs tweeted from his personal account, “Honoured to serve. We did it right. Defend Today, Secure Tomrorow (sic). #Protect2020”
Nebraska Republican Senator Ben Sasse – a frequent critic of the President, who in turn calls him “Little Ben Sasse” – slammed the move.
“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,” Mr Sasse said in a statement.
Lauren Underwood and Bennie Thompson, the Democratic chairs of the House of Representatives Homeland Security Committee, said the decision to fire Mr Krebs “makes America less safe”.
In a joint statement, they praised Mr Krebs for putting “national security ahead of politics” and “refusing to cave to political pressure from the White House”.
“In firing Director Krebs for refusing to lend credibility to his baseless claims and conspiracy theories about voter fraud, the President is telling officials throughout the administration to put his political interests ahead of their responsibilities to the American people,” they said.
“That is not only disturbing, it is anti-democratic.”
Mr Krebs’ sacking came soon after a story in The Epoch Times raised questions about the CISA statement.
The newspaper’s website noted that Dominion and Smartmatic, a separate voting technology company that has also come under scrutiny, are members of CISA’s Election Infrastructure Sector Co-ordinating Council, which co-authored the statement.
The Epoch Times said CISA did not respond to questions about whether either company had any input in the statement.
Dominion prominently cites CISA’s “debunking” of election fraud claims in a detailed response on its website titled “Setting the Record Straight: Facts and Rumours”, but does not disclose its affiliation with the body.
The Trump campaign and Republicans have made as-yet-unproven claims of widespread election fraud, and more recently have zeroed in on the use of the Dominion machines used in a number of key states.
“We’re getting ready to overturn election results in multiple states,” Trump lawyer Sidney Powell told Fox News on Sunday.
The former Assistant US Attorney said there was enough evidence to launch criminal investigations in multiple states and that Dominion software had switched “millions” of votes from Mr Trump.
“I don’t make comments without having the evidence to back it up,” she said. “President Trump won this election in a landslide. It’s going to be irrefutable.”
Dominion has flatly denied all allegations of wrongdoing, saying “election fraud conspiracies are 100 per cent false”.