Krebs to testify during Senate hearing on election security this week

Krebs to testify during Senate hearing on election security this week
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Christopher Krebs, the nation’s former top cybersecurity official who was fired by President TrumpDonald TrumpCheney says a lot of GOP lawmakers have privately encouraged her fight against Trump Republicans criticizing Afghan refugees face risks DeVos says 'principles have been overtaken by personalities' in GOP MORE last month, will testify Wednesday during a Senate committee hearing on election security and the 2020 election process.

The hearing will mark the first time that Krebs, the former director of the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), will testify on Capitol Hill since he left the agency. 

Krebs was fired after both he and CISA took steps to push back against Trump’s unsubstantiated claims of voter fraud and election interference in the 2020 presidential election, 

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Those efforts included CISA setting up a “rumor control” webpage to address disinformation and misinformation, and putting out a statement with state and local officials describing the 2020 election as the “most secure in American history.”  

Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee ranking member Gary PetersGary PetersHillicon Valley — Presented by Xerox — Officials want action on cyberattacks Officials urge Congress to consider fining companies that fail to report cyber incidents Senate Democrats announce million investment in key battlegrounds ahead of 2022 MORE (D-Mich.) announced that Krebs would testify during what is expected to be a controversial hearing. 

The hearing will feature testimony from Kenneth Starr, former independent counsel who investigated the Clinton administration and who helped defend President Trump during the Senate impeachment trial earlier this year. 

Pennsylvania state Rep. Francis Ryan (R), who has worked to challenge his state’s election results, and Trump campaign attorneys James Troupis and Jesse Binnall are also slated to testify. 

According to the committee website, the hearing will examine “irregularities” in the election. Trump and other Republicans have repeatedly cited concerns related to voter fraud and filed numerous lawsuits around the election. 

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Those cases have so far failed, with the Supreme Court last week rejecting an effort by Texas and more than 100 House Republicans to nullify President-elect Joe BidenJoe BidenPelosi sets Thursday vote on bipartisan infrastructure bill Pressure grows to cut diplomatic red tape for Afghans left behind President Biden is making the world a more dangerous place MORE’s win in the battleground states of Wisconsin, Michigan, Georgia and Pennsylvania.

Committee Chairman Ron JohnsonRonald (Ron) Harold JohnsonThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Alibaba - Democrats argue price before policy amid scramble Liberal group launches campaign urging Republicans to support Biden's agenda Domestic extremists return to the Capitol MORE (R-Wis.) discussed his concerns around the “confidence in our elections” and the need to hold hearings on the issue during an interview on Fox News’s “Mornings with Maria” on Tuesday. 

“We have all kinds of examples of fraud and we know a large percentage of the American public just simply don't think this was a legitimate election,” Johnson said. “That’s an unsustainable state of affairs for our country. We have to have confidence in our elections, we need to restore that confidence. One of the ways to do that is with oversight hearings, point out what went wrong so things can be corrected and controls can be put in place for the next election.”

Peters on Tuesday slammed Republicans for “spreading the President’s lies and false narratives” around the election, and for holding the hearing, which will take place two days after the Electoral College ratified Biden’s win in the presidential election. 

“While some officials may frame this hearing as a matter of simply getting to the truth and ensuring every claim of an irregularity is heard and addressed, the real goal of this hearing is to help a defeated presidential candidate in his last-ditch effort to cling to power despite the undeniable fact that the American people have chosen Joe Biden to serve as the next President of the United States,” Peters said in a statement.  

“At a time when our founding principles and our most sacred democratic values are under attack, we should be defending the sanctity and security of our elections — not giving a bigger platform to those who wish to sow chaos in our democratic process,” he added. 

Krebs has appeared before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee numerous times since being confirmed as the first director of CISA in 2018, testifying on election security and other cybersecurity-related issues. Krebs was a widely respected figure on both sides of the aisle prior to being fired, and was unanimously confirmed to his former position by the Senate.  

He has since been vocal on his personal Twitter account about the security and safety of the recent elections, and last week blasted Trump for spreading “disinformation.”

“Certainly the president is a big part of the disinformation that is coming out there about the rigged election, but there are absolutely others,” Krebs told “Axios on HBO.”

“I actually think democracy is quite fragile, and when the institutions themselves are under attack from the inside ... that’s pretty close to an existential issue, and so we need the other parts of the three-part government to actively push back and actively engage,” he added.