Trump Fires US Cybersecurity Director Chris Krebs After Krebs Debunks Trump's Claims Of Election Systems Fraud

from the mad-king-tantrum dept

As we noted last week, it was widely expected that sooner or later Donald Trump would turn his post-election temper tantrum towards Chris Krebs, the widely respected director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA). Krebs had been standing firm in reporting that there was no evidence to support the widespread conspiracy theories about hacked voting machines. CISA had been proactively debunking these claims.

On Tuesday morning, Krebs tweeted about how election security experts all agreed that there was no evidence of manipulated elections — directly contradicting the ongoing unsubstantiated claims of the President and his enablers:

In response, a few hours later, Trump tweeted that Krebs was fired:

If you can’t read that, it’s the President saying:

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.

There is no evidence that any of that actually happened. None. Zero. Zilch. Every single one of those stories has been debunked (and most of them have literally nothing to do with Krebs’ job). The only thing truthful in those tweets is that Trump was firing Krebs. This is a disgusting abuse of power, supporting completely bullshit conspiracy theory nonsense, in order to remove a public servant who actually did his job well in protecting against such election manipulation.

Moments later, on his personal Twitter account, Krebs tweeted with class:

This is the kind of grace and class that Trump and his enablers will never understand.

As professor Steve Vladeck notes, “we’re worse off as a country” because of “this temper tantrum” by the President.

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Comments on “Trump Fires US Cybersecurity Director Chris Krebs After Krebs Debunks Trump's Claims Of Election Systems Fraud”

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ryuugami says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

True, but I do find it annoying when someone types "I don’t know about this agency so they must not do anything" in a comment instead of opening a new tab and educating themselves.

I recall a politician (US Senator?) that kept proclaiming that a certain government agency should be eliminated. Then one day he stopped, saying: "I checked what they do, and it’s important."

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re:

That was Rick Perry. When running for president in 2012, he stated that he would dismantle the Department Of Energy because he assumed it was a useless waste of money. Then, Trump appointed him head of that department and he stated he was shocked at all the vital things they actually did.

https://www.businessinsider.com/rick-perry-energy-department-comments-2017-1

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Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Trump never wanted to protect the election. He would only do so if that would make his win a certainty. The Electoral College invalidated more than 2 million votes in 2016; he had no reason to believe it wouldn’t happen again this year. As a result of his overconfidence, he made (so far as I can tell) little-to-no real effort to push for making elections more secure. Firing one of the people who actually tried to help secure the elections because they said aloud a harsh truth instead of a comforting lie? That doesn’t make Donny the Wannabe Don look like someone who wants a free and fair election, either now or (theoretically) in 2024.

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steell (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

The AC is correct, this being one of the rare times that Stephen T. Stone is incorrect.
"The Electoral College invalidated more than 2 million votes in 2016" is wrong, the Electoral College deals only with Electoral Ballots, and there are only 538 of them.
More at the link:

https://www.ncsl.org/research/elections-and-campaigns/the-electoral-college.aspx

This comment has been deemed insightful by the community.
teka says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

I would suspect that he means "invalidated" in a more everyday way, in that the Electoral College, by its function, invalidated/overruled more than 2 million votes (2.8something, iirc) by overriding the popular vote, often in small margins in the so-called ‘battleground states’

See also: EC making votes in some states more important than other states, uncoupling the democratic idea that 1 person = 1 equal vote.

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David says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

See also: EC making votes in some states more important than other states, uncoupling the democratic idea that 1 person = 1 equal vote.

Well, that’s by design. Representation in the Senate also ignores head counts. In contrast, the House which deals with the purse strings supposed to be somewhat in proportion to the head counts both with regard to incoming and outgoing money, has representative numbers that try to track population proportions more closely, of course with some adjustment through gerrymandering.

The Constitution is designed to give people as such representation, but not too much so. And the manners of actually picking those representatives have shifted over time. This is why Trump’s fantasy of having Pennsylvania legislature ignore the election and pick their own slate of pro-Trump electoral voters is actually a possibility under the federal constitution. And the next possibility is electors not voting for the candidates they claimed to be voting for (and the discrepancy of polling data with the election outcome shows that voting for Trump while not admitting to it in advance is rather common).

A whole lot of the current election process is by regulation and convention and some after-the-fact penalties, and the Trump administration as well as the Republican party has demonstrated time and again that large swaths of it are willing to ignore regulation and convention, and the penalties will be pardoned by Trump anyway.

Yes, it would likely trigger civil unrest and uprisings to just ignore the election results, but since when did the Trump administration worry about civil unrest and uprisings?

So it will be over when it is over.

This comment has been deemed insightful by the community.
PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

""The Electoral College invalidated more than 2 million votes in 2016" is wrong"

It’s not wrong, it’s just an exaggerated way of stating the truth. 2.8 million more people voted for Clinton, but because they weren’t cast in certain states the EC ignored them.

The votes were valid, they just didn’t matter because a few thousand people in other states were more important.

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Not THAT AC says:

Re: Re: Trump was right

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/think-well/201812/why-many-people-stubbornly-refuse-change-their-minds seems to nail it.

"In practice, here is how the people who voted for Trump reduce their cognitive dissonance …" Of course, it appears that more than a few don’t consider the first option.

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Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re:

Trump is a sociopath, a narcissist, a liar, a con man, a manipulator, a racist, a sexist, a generally incompetent boob, a sore loser, a sore winner, and the third of three impeached U.S. presidents — but he is not insane. Comforting lies don’t look any better when applied to him as they do when they come from him.

Who Cares (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

Like I wrote common parlance
Or if you don’t like that I’ve got another definition:
Insanity is an overarching description of behavior by an individual or group that is characterized by abnormal* mental or behavioral patterns.

*Abnormal behavior is not to be confused with unusual/unexpected behavior.

As an example Trumps behavior when he sharpied over that hurricane map.

Bloof (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

Civil servants, sacientists, people whose job it is to be competent and to do the day to day work of the department they operate in to the best of their ability, rather than to push a political agenda.

https://www.adn.com/nation-world/2020/11/13/in-trumps-final-days-a-30-year-old-aide-purges-officials-seen-as-insufficiently-loyal/

The Trump Admin has an unqualified 30 year old political appointee hard at work purging the competent people from the US government for doing their jobs, for even contemplating working with the Biden administration and replacing them with likewise unqualified people with little experience, whose biggest qualification if their wilklingness to kiss the ring of the mad king,

Non political was maybe the wrong way of putting it, but they’re pumping raw sewage into the civil service the way they have the judiciary and it will take a long time to undo the damage they cause.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re:

While true, the silver lining is that a lot of it’s reversible. It will take some time for the US to regain any credit on the world stage, as we all got burned after naively thinking that getting rid of Bush’s cronies would be the end of it.

But, if you look at what Trump has done, and it’s easy to repair some of the worst of the rot. He did a lot of stuff via executive order, which means that it’s easily reversed by more executive orders. Since much of it wasn’t voted on by congress, there’s no need for a vote to change it. His staffing has consisted largely of installing family and political donors who were woefully unqualified for their jobs, while leaving other important roles completely unfilled.

In theory, at least, Biden can do a lot of good simply by kicking those people out and installing people who are qualified. Hell, all he has to do is employ people who are not fundamentally opposed to the departments he put them in charge of, and things should start to improve.

It’s a long, probably hard, road ahead and it’s going to be painful just to stop the slaughter of citizens that he’s been promoting this year, let alone repair the damage that has come elsewhere. But, since Trump is not a competent fascist, there’s more hope than there may have been.

We can probably start with this role here. Krebs was apparently unusual in that he was a competent, talented, non-partisan figure who knew what he was doing and was respected in his role and fired purely for doing his job properly, so there’s no reason he wouldn’t be considered again. If firing him has caused any damage, all he should have to do is enjoy the holiday break, accept his reinstation on January 21st, and carry on as he was.

Norahc (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

And any corrections Biden makes by Executive Order can just as easily be undone by the President that follows him. Just look at all the EO’s that President Obama enacted that were undone by President Trump’s EO’s.

I’ve got serious issues with Presidents using EO’s to bypass Congress to push their agenda (such as treaty compliance without a treaty ratification in the Senate).

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Thad (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

And any corrections Biden makes by Executive Order can just as easily be undone by the President that follows him. Just look at all the EO’s that President Obama enacted that were undone by President Trump’s EO’s.

Some of them were and some of them weren’t. It’s not always as simple as just saying "we’re not going to do that anymore"; a lot of the time you have to make a proposal for how an executive agency will be run and you have to justify it. That’s why, for example, Trump’s EO reversing DACA failed.

I’ve got serious issues with Presidents using EO’s to bypass Congress to push their agenda (such as treaty compliance without a treaty ratification in the Senate).

And I’ve got serious issues with Mitch McConnell stonewalling everything a Democratic president proposes just because he’s a Democrat. EOs are a tool like any other — they can be used properly or they can be abused. Just like the legislative process.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

"And I’ve got serious issues with Mitch McConnell stonewalling everything a Democratic president proposes just because he’s a Democrat"

It boggles my mind that the man keep getting elected when his only platform seems to be "I will happily destroy the country so long as a Democrat doesn’t get to do something positive", but I hope his days are ending soon.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

Unfortunately and horrifyingly enough that sort of tactic goes over really well to people who have been told that the other side is comprised of the forces of satan(not exaggerating) and/or who are focused on destroying the country and take away everyone’s ‘rights'(guns, bibles and the ability to force them down other’s throats and the ability to ‘own the libs’ seem to be the top three in the minds of people like that).

If you’ve been told that the other side is nothing short of pure evil and wants to get you then someone who promises to block anything they might try to do, even if it seems harmless, goes from petty, vindictive partisan hack to savior of the country.

Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re:

"…guns, bibles and the ability to force them down other’s throats and the ability to ‘own the libs’ seem to be the top three in the minds of people like that…"

And with 72 million americans being that particular brand of incorrigible fuckwit I think the 70% of the US not believing that way will have to finally man up and lay aside "reconciliation" or "bridging the gap" in favor of hitting back…and maintaining the beating until common sense starts falling out of that particular pinata.

Because if they don’t run those asshats right out of town on rails and make it abundantly clear their views are unacceptable among the civilized there’ll just be more trumps in the future. Probably less obvious and far more actively malicious rather than inept.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

"And any corrections Biden makes by Executive Order can just as easily be undone by the President that follows him"

True, but I’m sure he will do other things that are not so easily undone. Hopefully things that will be clear in their benefit, but we’ll see.

"I’ve got serious issues with Presidents using EO’s to bypass Congress to push their agenda"

Yes, but as ever it depends on the reasoning behind it. Using them because the opposing party will happily shut down the government rather than agree to pay for the things their party put in place before? That’s good. Using them because they know that no sane vote would ever agree to such things? Bad.

Thad (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

In theory, at least, Biden can do a lot of good simply by kicking those people out and installing people who are qualified.

The trouble is, a significant proportion of the people who are qualified for those jobs have now gotten other jobs and will not be interested in going back. There’s every possibility that Trump’s actions have resulted in a brain drain among civil servants that we’ll be feeling for a generation (much like his fuckery in the courts).

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

I sincerely doubt that all the judges appointed by Trump are incompetents. If nothing else, I believe Trump himself to be basically incompetent and by pure chance some decent, or even excellent judges were probably installed. Also, some people do take their positions seriously and surprise by how much they grow into their roles, even if they were appointed to be partisan toadies (shades of Thomas More as portrayed in "a man for all seasons").

Toom1275 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

The judge with the "covid-19 restrictions are unconstitutional" sham ruling? Trump pick.

Nominees that hunt ghosts in their spare time? Yep.

Nominees with years of criticism of their innate inability to put the law ahead of their personal biases? Check

Nominees who have never tried, or in some cases even argued, a case before? Multiple.

"Flush the law and Constitution to pave the way extremist right-wing policy" Federalist Society? That’s the recruiting pool.

Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re:

"We’re worse off as a country because of this President."

No. You’re worse off as a country because 72 million americans are such horrible fuckwits they’re willing to go to bat for that president even when the package includes fascism, racism, misogyny and history revisionism.

Liberals and moderates have tried to debate and reconciliate with those 1 in 3 for decades with the only result being Popper’s Paradox of Tolerance playing out in real life.
It’s time for the moderates and liberals to lay that debate aside and find a hefty rock. Or the next Trump will be slightly less inept than the current one.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

"they’re willing to go to bat for that president even when the package includes fascism, racism, misogyny and history revisionism."

Don’t forget deaths. Yesterday represented the highest daily death toll since July 30th (nearly 2,000), hospitals are past capacity in many places and deaths are a lagging indicator with a lot more people having been infected in recent weeks. Oh, and the holiday season is about to begin…

But, Trump fans apparently wish to cheer this on.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

I guess car crash deaths are really going to go through the roof. Yes, I have actually seen a posting elsewhere claiming that maybe 20% of reported deaths were actually car crash deaths misreported to get more money. Never mind that that would be criminal fraud and a doctor would have to sign off on it (and all the other doctors in the hospital would have to keep quiet for the scam to work). Damned hard to disprove, though, as fewer miles traveled translates to fewer accidents, hence fewer deaths, hence "missing" road deaths. He also claimed a raft of other misreporting and then claimed covid is no worse than a bad seasonal flu.

This is the mindset that the sane have to, if not fight, then at least work around.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

"Never mind that that would be criminal fraud and a doctor would have to sign off on it (and all the other doctors in the hospital would have to keep quiet for the scam to work)"

Don’t forget that the amount of money the doctors would get for the scam is an order of magnitude lower than the money lost through cancelling elective surgeries due to the pandemic. That’s the one that makes me laugh. For this scam to work, they’d have to be denying themselves tens of thousands of dollars to get a couple of extra grand.

"Damned hard to disprove, though, as fewer miles traveled translates to fewer accidents, hence fewer deaths, hence "missing" road deaths."

It’s easy to disprove. Even with the difference in road deaths, excess mortality is significantly higher more than would be expected. What caused them?

I know there’s no way of dealing with anyone who’s already so far down the rabbit hold that they’ll wave away 250k deaths (so far) and an unknown number of permanent health problems caused by the pandemic, or the sort of idiot who thinks that the entire world is conspiring on this to make the US look bad, but that’s the main issue. Argue all you want about what caused them, but why are there so many new corpses?

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

I’m of the opinion that if you ignore politics, you probably shouldn’t be voting. That’s why countries keep getting screwed on a regular basis with bad leaders – if you don’t pay attention, you’re easily fooled by people promising things that will never happen, or swayed by lies that are obvious to people who have been paying attention.

There is, sadly, no way to really enforce such a thing.

Anonymous Coward says:

We’re worse off as a country because of this President.

We may be worse off as a country, but it is not exclusively the President’s fault. Congress has the ability to change things, but thanks to hyper-partisanship they’ve largely become worthless.

Trump may be a buffoon, but don’t delude yourself into thinking he is the only one responsible for the state of our nation.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Yeah, not surprised

If there’s one thing Trump absolutely cannot stand it’s a person willing to call him out on his lies rather than grovel and give him total loyalty.

Krebs may have been fired but it was for standing up to a liar and would-be tyrant, someone attempting to burn american democracy to the ground just because he lost, and that’s one hell of a bragging right.

Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Yeah, not surprised

"Krebs may have been fired but it was for standing up to a liar and would-be tyrant, someone attempting to burn american democracy to the ground just because he lost, and that’s one hell of a bragging right."

…and some 70 million americans loathe him for it. "American democracy" has become part of the No True Scotsman fallacy the way americans keep hauling it out and waving it around.

Yeah, those last four years? It’s how american democracy works sometimes.
Ferguson and George Floyd? It’s how american lawmen work quite often.
Trump? A quintessentially american president who 30% of the citizenry are willing to stand up for at any cost.
McConnell? Represents his american constituency perfectly.

Trump is a symptom, not a prime cause. The same way Goldwater was a symptom and Cheney, Ashcroft and Rumsfeld were symptoms.

There’s a reason there’s a state law on the books in Tennessee mandating that the governor every year declares the 13th of july a celebratory day for Nathan Bedford Forrest, founder of the KKK and why no one has ever even thought of changing that.

Taken as a whole the US would be to be a schizophrenic who keeps punching itself in the nose while alternately screaming racist slurs and civil rights slogans.

The myth of the american way is as grounded as that of the modern englishman who insists his nation was shaped by King Arthur and Merlin.

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That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re: Mind blown

Afraid you lost me there, are you saying that an argument that starts and ends at ‘Nuh-uh!’ isn’t equivalent to one that lays out the various counter-points and objections and then backs them up with reasoning and evidence in an attempt to make a compelling and convincing case?

Learn something new every day I guess, in this case how gorram lazy the trolls have apparently gotten.

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