United States (U.S.) President Donald Trump on Wednesday fired, Director of Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency Christopher Krebs, the federal agency that vouched for the reliability of the 2020 election.
Trump fired Krebs in a tweet, saying his recent statement defending the security of the election was “highly inaccurate”.
The firing of Krebs, a Trump appointee, comes as the president is refusing to recognise the victory of Democratic President-elect Joe Biden and removing high-level officials seen as insufficiently loyal.
He fired Defence Secretary Mark Esper on November 9 – part of a broader shakeup that put Trump loyalists in senior Pentagon positions.
Krebs, a former Microsoft executive, ran the agency known as CISA from its creation in the wake of Russian interference with the 2016 U.S. election through the November election.
He won bipartisan praise as CISA coordinates federal state and local efforts to defend electoral systems from foreign or domestic interference.
He kept a low profile even as he voiced confidence ahead of the November vote and, afterwards, knocked down allegations that the count was tainted by fraud.
At times, he seemed to be directly repudiating Trump, a surprising move from a component of the Department of Homeland Security, an agency that has drawn criticism for seeming to be too closely allied with the president’s political goals.
CISA issued statements dismissing claims that large numbers of dead people could vote or that someone could change results without detection.
Pennsylvania’s Supreme Court yesterday overturned an order requiring that election observers be allowed within six feet of ballot-counting operations.
In its decision, the court said state law only requires that observers be allowed “in the room” where ballots are counted and does not mandate a minimum distance, NBC News said.
The 5-2 majority opinion also found that the Philadelphia Board of Elections “did not act contrary to the law in fashioning its regulations governing the positioning of candidate representatives,” according to the Philadelphia Inquirer.
“Critically, we find the board’s regulations … were reasonable,” Justice Debra Todd wrote.
The ruling reverses a Nov. 5 order in which Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court Judge Christine Fizzano Cannon sided with the Trump campaign and agreed to reduce the 25-foot distance from which “candidates, watchers or candidate representatives” could watch the votes being counted.
It also undercuts allegations by President Trump’s campaign that his supporters were illegally prevented from observing the tabulation process that’s projected to have helped Joe Biden capture the White House.