The US president has attacked CBS and its news program 60 Minutes for airing a lengthy interview with the country’s former cybersecurity official who labelled Donald Trump’s claims of election fraud as “farcical”.
Chris Krebs is the former director of the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (known as CISA) which oversaw the integrity of the 2020 election.
Throwing cold water on the president’s baseless claims of a rigged election, Krebs labelled the process “the most secure in American history” on November 12. For doing so he was promptly fired in a presidential tweet.
Krebs, a lifelong Republican, says he “stands by” his statement on the integrity and security of the election.
The worst part, he told 60 Minutes, was not being able to say goodbye to his team.
“I don’t know if I was necessarily surprised. It’s not how I wanted to go out,” he said of Trump’s embittered reaction.
“The thing that upsets me the most is that is I didn’t get a chance to say goodbye to my team… That’s what I’m most upset about,” he said.
CISA helps secure computer systems in vitally important infrastructure including nuclear power plants, for example, and the election hardware in all 50 states.
“There’s no evidence that any machine that I’m aware of has been manipulated by a foreign power,” Krebs said, describing such allegations pushed by the president as “farcical claims”.
Fired cyber security official calls Trump’s claims of voter fraud ‘nonsense’
Christopher Krebs, the former director of the Cyber Security and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) appeared on 60 Minutes Sunday where he refuted President Trump’s repeated claims of widespread voter fraud. Trump fired Krebs, a lifelong Republican, after CISA released a statement saying that this was the most secure election in U.S. history, contradicting the president. Krebs stands by the statement released by CISA, and called any claims of voter fraud, rigged voting machines, and any other allegation made by Trump or his legal team, nonsense and a hoax. He went a step further when speaking about the recent press conference held by Trump’s lawyers, at which they made numerous allegations of fraud. “It was upsetting because what I saw was an apparent attempt to undermine confidence in the election. To confuse people. To scare people.” Krebs said of the press conference. He later added, “What it was actively doing was undermining democracy. And that’s dangerous.”
Krebs rebuked Trump’s myriad election conspiracies throughout the interview and recounted his shock at the president’s tactics to subvert the country’s democracy.
“It was upsetting because what I saw was an apparent attempt to undermine confidence in the election, to confuse people, to scare people. It’s not me, it’s not just CISA. It’s the tens of thousands of election workers out there that had been working non-stop, 18-hour days, for months,” he said.
“They’re getting death threats for trying to carry out one of our core democratic institutions, an election.”
Fuelled on by Trump and his allies, he called the attacks on election workers “a travesty”.
As it became clear Trump would lose, his lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, began holding hastily thrown together press conferences alleging fraud and spreading lies that votes were counted in foreign countries.
“It didn’t make sense,” Krebs said. “What it was actively doing was undermining democracy. And that’s dangerous.”
Fact Check: Even if the nonsense claims of hacked voting systems and tallies were true – they're decidedly NOT & ppl propagating the claims are doing democracy great harm – every canvass, audit, or recount conducted by hand has been consistent. Can't hack paper. #WeArePerseus— Chris Krebs (@C_C_Krebs) November 28, 2020
As Trump watched the 60 Minutes program on Sunday night (local time), he lashed out on Twitter, accusing producers of not contacting the White House for comment.
He labelled the show “ridiculous” calling it a “one sided story on election security, which is an international joke” before again firing off debunked conspiracy theories.
Like a growing majority of the president’s tweets, Twitter quickly slapped a warning on it.
Arizona officially certifies result for Joe Biden
Arizona officials certified Joe Biden’s narrow victory over Trump in the state on Monday (local time).
Democratic Secretary of State Katie Hobbs and Republican Governor Doug Ducey stood up for the integrity of the election even as lawyers for Trump were across town arguing without evidence to nine Republican lawmakers that the election was marred by fraud.
“We do elections well here in Arizona. The system is strong,” Ducey said.
Biden won Arizona by 0.3 per cent of the nearly 3.4 million ballots cast, a margin of just under 10,500 votes. He’s the second Democrat in 70 years to win the state.
The certification also paves the way for Democrat and former astronaut Mark Kelly to take his seat in the US Senate, formalising his victory in a special election to replace the late John McCain. Kelly is scheduled to be sworn in on Wednesday in Washington.
Key states to have now certified the election results include Nevada, Pennsylvania, Georgia, Michigan and Arizona. President-elect Biden has taken the first formal preparations for his January 20 inauguration, unveiling the inaugural committee that will lead arrangements for the day.