Special Counsel Investigation Looks into Firing of Cybersecurity Official

May 31, 2023

Special Counsel Jack Smith’s investigation into former President Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election has reportedly turned to his firing of Chris Krebs, who served as Director of the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), just days after the election.

In November, Attorney General Merrick Garland appointed veteran career prosecutor Smith as special counsel to determine whether criminal charges ought to be brought against Trump.

Then-President Trump fired Krebs in November 2020, five days after CISA issued a statement calling that month’s presidential election “the most secure in American history.”

Sources have told the New York Times that Smith has subpoenaed former Trump White House staffers who may have been involved in Krebs’ dismissal.

Sources further told the Times that Smith’s investigators have already interviewed Krebs. They are reportedly seeking information about how White House officials at the time, including those who worked in the Presidential Personnel Office, approached the Justice Department, to which Trump had turned after his loss to Joe Biden as a way to try to stay in power.

Investigators reportedly apeared to be focused on Trump’s state of mind when Krebs was fired, as well as establishing a timeline of events leading up to the deadly January 6, 2021 insurrection upon the U.S. Capitol.

In December 2020, the month after his firing, Krebs filed a lawsuit against then-Trump attorney Joseph diGenova, who had said on the conservative TV outlet Newsmax that the cybersecurity expert “should be drawn and quartered” as well as “shot.”

Krebs had sought monetary damages and the removal of the video he said was threatening and defaming from Newsmax’s archives. He also claimed that Trump, members of his team and Newsmax were engaging in “a calculated and pernicious conspiracy” to defame not just him but also other members of the Republican Party who disagreed with Trump’s baseless claims of election fraud. 

DiGenova apologized to Krebs for his “inappropriate statements” in April 2021.

Krebs has also testified before last year’s House Select January 6 Committee that before he was fired he was aware of “skepticism” among Trump allies about his “loyalty to the President.”

ABC News’ Jonathan Karl reported that White House staffers had even drafted a document outlining reasons to distrust Krebs, including that the cybersecurity expert’s wife had “posted a family photo on Facebook with the ‘Biden Harris’ logo watermarked at the bottom.”

According to Times sources, the special counsel’s team is also looking into broader efforts by Trump officials to test the loyalty of federal officials and potential hires. 

PHOTO: Chris Krebs Sept 2017

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