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Trump Fires Nation’s Top Election Security Director for His Efforts to Debunk Voter Fraud Claims

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  • President Donald Trump announced on Twitter Tuesday night that he was firing Chris Krebs, director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency. 
  • Both Krebs and the agency have been extremely outspoken in debunking the president’s false claims that the 2020 Election was riddled with voter fraud. 
  • Kreb’s firing received immediate and strong backlash from both Congressional Democrats and Republicans, with one GOP representative likening Trump’s recent firings to a “loyalty purge.”
  • While Krebs would have been replaced by his deputy, Matthew Travis, he was also reportedly pressured to resign Tuesday night. With that, the Trump administration has designated CISA Executive Director Brandon Wales as the agency’s new acting director.

Trump Fires Election Security Director

President Donald Trump fired the nation’s top election security official via Twitter on Tuesday after the official disputed Trump’s false claims about widespread voter fraud.

Christopher Krebs, who had been director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) since 2018, reportedly didn’t learn that he had been fired until he saw the tweet, according to NBC News. 

In the president’s post, he indicated that his decision to fire Krebs, at least in part, was based on a recent statement from Krebs. 

CISA has consistently affirmed that there has been no evidence of widespread voter fraud in this past election. In fact, under Kreb’s leadership, it even created a “Rumor Control” page that debunked a number of election fraud claims.

Last week, a committee made up of officials from CISA called the 2020 Election “the most secure in election history.” 

There is no evidence that any voting system deleted or lost votes, changed votes, or was in any way compromised,” those officials said in a statement. 

Krebs again reiterated that message Tuesday morning, saying, “On allegations that election systems were manipulated, 59 election security experts all agree, “in every case of which we are aware, these claims either have been unsubstantiated or are technically incoherent.” #Protect2020.”

Nonetheless, the president has taken issue with this stance. In fact, he disputed it as “highly inaccurate.”

“There were massive improprieties and fraud…” Trump said, claiming that votes were cast with the names of dead people, that poll watchers weren’t allowed into polling locations, and that “glitches” in voting machines changed Trump votes to votes for now-president-elect Joe Biden. 

The president has provided no evidence to back up his claims.

Still, this didn’t appear to be a massive blindside to Krebs. The same day that CISA statement went out last week, Reuters reported that Krebs expected to be fired by Trump for debunking his election fraud conspiracies.

Lawmakers Criticize Kreb’s Firing and Praise His Work

Last week, an unnamed DHS official told NPR that Kreb’s firing would “rock CISA.”

“Chris has earned the trust of staff all across the agency,” the official said. “He’s easily been the most competent and able of any political appointee I’ve worked with.”

Notably, that mindset seems to be true within Congress, as well. By Tuesday evening, Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Ma.) said on Twitter, “Christopher Krebs got fired because he did his job to protect our elections and stood up to Trump’s conspiracy theories.” 

“This is a disgusting abuse of power by a weak and desperate President who undermines our democracy and national security.” 

In a similar statement, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Ca.) said, “Instead of rewarding this patriotic service, the President has fired Director Krebs for speaking truth to power & rejecting Trump’s campaign of election falsehoods.”

It’s not just Democrats. Krebs has also been heavily praised by Republicans, and several have criticized the president’s decision to fire him 

“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,” Senator Ben Sasse (R-Ne.) said in a statement.

In an interview with CNN, Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Il.) described Trump’s recent firings as a “loyalty purge” by the White House.

“Chris Krebs said the election is secure… and of course, that is counter to what the president is trying to say,” Kinzinger said. 

One of the reasons why Krebs is so highly respected in Congress is because, in his role, he was intensely non-partisan. On top of that, CISA has been widely credited with helping to ensure that the 2020 election was free of foreign interference. 

“Honored to serve,” Krebs said on Twitter following his ousting. “We did it right. Defend Today, Secure [Tomorrow].”

Multiple CISA Officials Have Been Fired

As far as what happens next within CISA, Kreb’s role would have fallen to his deputy, Matthew Travis; however, Tuesday night, acting DHS secretary Chad Wolf reportedly called Travis and told him that the White House had overruled CISA’s line of succession. Under pressure from the White House, Travis then resigned. 

The Trump administration has now designated CISA Executive Director Brandon Wales as the agency’s new acting director.

It’s not just Krebs and Travis who have been hemorrhaged from CISA. Last week, CISA’s assistant director, Bryan Ware, handed in his resignation. That came reportedly after the White House specifically asked for his resignation. 

See what others are saying: (NBC News) (CBS News) (Politico)

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Republicans Say They Will Block Bill To Avert Government Shutdown and Debt Default

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Democrats argue the bill is necessary to prevent an economic catastrophe.


Democrats Introduce Legislation

Democrats in the House and Senate unveiled sweeping legislation Monday that aimed to keep the government funded through early December, lift the federal debt limit, and provide around $35 billion for Afghan refugees and natural disaster recovery.

The bill is needed to avoid a government shutdown when funding expires next week. It is also necessary to prevent the Treasury Department from reaching the limit of its borrowing authority, which would trigger the U.S. to default on its debt for the first time ever.

For weeks, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has urged Congress to raise the federal debt limit, also known as the debt ceiling, warning that the department will soon exhaust all of its measures to keep the federal government within its legal borrowing limit.

If the U.S. were to default, it would be unable to pay its debts, sending massive shockwaves through the financial system.

Democrats have painted the bill as crucial to avert an economic doomsday that would massively undermine recovery.

They argue that the combination of a government shutdown and a debt default would destabilize global markets and leave millions of Americans without essential aid.

Republicans Vow to Oppose Raising Debt Ceiling 

Despite the considerable threats, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has repeatedly said Republicans will not vote to increase the debt ceiling, arguing that Democrats should do it without their help because they are pushing trillions of dollars in new spending priorities.

Democrats have slammed the Republican leader’s stance as hypocritical. They point out that while it is true they are proposing new spending, it has not been approved yet, and the debt that currently risks default has been incurred by both parties.

Democrats also noted that trillions of dollars were added to the federal debt under former President Donald Trump, which is more than what has been added by President Joe Biden. As a result, Republicans raised the debt ceiling three times during the Trump administration with the support of Democrats.

McConnell, however, remains unlikely to budge. On Monday, White House officials said McConnell has not outlined any requests or areas of negotiation in exchange for support of the legislation. 

While the bill is expected to pass the House, it appears all but doomed in the Senate, where it needs 60 votes to break the filibuster.

See what others are saying: (The Washington Post) (The New York Times) (Politico)

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California Gov. Gavin Newsom Survives Recall

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Experts say the outcome should act as a warning for Republicans who tie themselves to former President Donald Trump and attempt to undermine election results by promoting false voter fraud claims.


Recall Effort Fails

After seven months and an estimated $276 million in taxpayer money, the Republican-led effort to recall California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) failed Tuesday.

Just under 70% of the votes have been reported as of Wednesday morning, showing that “no” on the recall received 63.9% of the vote. That’s nearly twice as many votes as “yes,” which had 36.1%.

According to The Washington Post, even if the margin narrows as more votes are counted, this still marks one of the biggest rejections of any recall effort in America over the last century.

Analysts say the historic rebuke was driven by high Democratic turnout and broader fears over resurging COVID cases.

While the Delta variant continues to push new infections to record highs in many parts of the country with lax mask rules and low vaccination rates, California, once a global epicenter of the pandemic, now has one of the highest vaccination rates and lowest new caseloads in the nation.

Newsom has continually tried to convince voters that those figures are the results of his vaccine and masking policies, which have been some of the most aggressive in the U.S. 

Given that polls showed the pandemic was the top concern for California voters, it is clear that the majority favored his policies over those of his competitors. Larry Elder, the Republican talk radio host of led the field of 46 challengers, ran on a platform of getting rid of essentially all COVID restrictions.

Newsom’s Remarks

In his victory speech Tuesday night, Newsom painted the recall’s failure not only as a win for Democratic coronavirus policies but also for Democracy at large.

“We said yes to science. We said yes to vaccines. We said yes to ending this pandemic,” he said. “We said yes to people’s right to vote without fear of fake fraud or voter suppression.” 

“I think about just in the last few days and the former president put out saying this election was rigged,” he continued. “Democracy is not a football. You don’t throw it around. That’s more like a, I don’t know, antique vase. You can drop it and smashing a million different pieces. And that’s what we’re capable of doing if we don’t stand up to meet the moment and push back.”

“I said this many, many times on the campaign trail, we may have defeated Trump, but Trump-ism is not dead in this country. The Big Lie, January 6th insurrection, all the voting suppression efforts that are happening all across this country.” 

A Warning for Republicans

Newsom’s remarks took aim at the efforts by Elder and other Republicans — including former President Donald Trump — who over the last week have claimed falsely and without evidence that voter fraud helped secured the governor’s win before Election Day even took place.

While it is currently unknown whether that narrative may have prompted more Republican voters to stay home, Newsom’s effort to cast Edler as a Trump-like candidate and the recall as an undemocratic, Republican power grab appears to have been effective.

Now, political strategists say that the outcome of the recall should serve as a warning that Republicans who pin themselves to Trump and his Big Lie playbook may be hurt more in certain states.

“The recall does offer at least one lesson to Democrats in Washington ahead of next year’s midterm elections: The party’s pre-existing blue- and purple-state strategy of portraying Republicans as Trump-loving extremists can still prove effective with the former president out of office,” The New York Times explained.

Even outside of a strongly blue state like California, analysts say this strategy will also be effective with similar candidates in battleground states like Georgia, Arizona, Missouri, and Pennsylvania, which will be essential to deciding control of the Senate.

See what others are saying: (The Washington Post) (The New York Times) (NPR)

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Justice Department Sues Texas Over Abortion Ban

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The department claims the Texas law violates past Supreme Court precedents on abortion and infringes on Constitutional protections.


Biden Administration Takes Aim at Texas Law

The Department of Justice sued Texas on Thursday in an attempt to block the state’s newly enacted law that effectively prohibits all abortions by banning the procedure after six weeks, before most people know they are pregnant.

The abortion law, which is the most restrictive in the country and does not provide exceptions for rape or incest, allows private citizens to take legal action against anyone who helps a person terminate their pregnancy after six weeks.

In its lawsuit, the Justice Department argued that the Texas law is unconstitutional because it violates past Supreme Court precedents through a technical loophole.

While numerous other states have passed similar laws banning abortion after about six weeks, federal judges have struck down those measures on the grounds that they are inconsistent with Roe v. Wade and subsequent Supreme Court decisions that states cannot prevent someone from seeking an abortion before a fetus can viably live outside the womb, usually around 22 to 24 weeks.

The Texas law, however, skirts the high court decisions by deputizing citizens to enforce the law rather than state government officials, taking the state out of the equation entirely and protecting it from legal responsibility.

Individuals who do so do not have to prove any personal injury or connection to those they take legal action against, which can range from abortion providers to rideshare drivers who take someone to a clinic.

If their lawsuit is successful, the citizen is entitled to a $10,000 award.

DOJ Lawsuit Targets Constitutionality

During a press conference detailing the DOJ lawsuit, Attorney General Merrick Garland referred to the enforcement mechanism as “an unprecedented” effort with the “obvious and expressly acknowledged intention” to prevent Texans from their constitutionally protected right to have an abortion.

“This kind of scheme to nullify the Constitution of the United States is one that all Americans — whatever their politics or party — should fear,” Garland said, adding that the provision of the law allowing civilians “to serve as bounty hunters” may become “a model for action in other areas, by other states, and with respect to other constitutional rights and judicial precedents.”

The Justice Department argued that the Texas policy violates equal protection guarantees under the 14th Amendment as well as the Constitution’s Supremacy Clause, which establishes that the Constitution and federal law generally take precedence over state law.

The lawsuit also claimed that the law interferes with the constitutional obligation of federal employees to provide access to abortion, including in cases of rape or incest, to people who are under the care of federal agencies or contractors such as those in prisons.

Both Sides See Path to Supreme Court

While proponents of abortion rights applauded the Justice Department’s legal challenge, officials in Texas defended the law and accused the Biden administration of filing the lawsuit for political reasons. 

“President Biden and his administration are more interested in changing the national narrative from their disastrous Afghanistan evacuation and reckless open border policies instead of protecting the innocent unborn,” a spokeswoman for Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R), said in a statement. 

“We are confident that the courts will uphold and protect that right to life.”

The DOJ’s suit will now be decided by a federal judge for the Western District of Texas, based in Austin. 

Depending on how that court rules, either opponents or supporters of the abortion ban are expected to appeal the case, sending it to the conservative Fifth Circuit Court of Appeal and likely ultimately placing the matter before the Supreme Court again in a matter of months.

The Supreme Court allowed the law to go into effect by declining to approve an emergency petition to block the measure last week, but it did not rule on the constitutionality of the policy.

As a result, the Justice Department’s legal challenge could force the high court to hear another facet of the law that it has not yet considered if it decides to see the case.

See what others are saying: (The Washington Post) (The New York Times) (The Texas Tribune)

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