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CISA Director Krebs speaks at CISA's Election Day Operation Center in Arlington, Virginia
U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) Director Christopher Krebs speaks to reporters at CISA's Election Day Operation Center on Super Tuesday in Arlington, Va., on March 3, 2020.Kevin Lamarque / Reuters file

Trump lawyer calls for fired cybersecurity chief's execution

It's not every day that a sitting president's lawyer calls for the execution of a government official who did nothing but capably serve his country.

Most Americans have probably never heard of the Department of Homeland Security's Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), but they have reason to be thankful for its work. As we recently discussed, CISA has spent the year combatting foreign interference in our elections, both by preventing attacks and by countering efforts to deceive the public.

The office has been led by Christopher Krebs, the nation's top cybersecurity official, who's earned bipartisan praise for his work. The Washington Post's David Ignatius recently noted, "When the history books about this election are written, Krebs will be one of the heroes."

Two weeks ago, Donald Trump fired Krebs for the Trumpiest of reasons: the president wanted the CISA to go along with ridiculous lies about the 2020 elections. When Krebs instead told the truth, he was shown the door.

In normal administrations, officials are fired if they're corrupt. In the Trump administration, officials are fired for failing to be corrupt.

The president's operation is apparently reluctant to let this go. Yesterday, Trump campaign lawyer Joe DiGenova appeared on a conservative radio show and said, "Anybody who thinks the election went well, like that idiot Krebs who used to be the head of cybersecurity, that guy is a class A moron. He should be drawn and quartered. Taken out at dawn and shot."

The comments were broadcast on the radio, simulcast on Newsmax, streamed on YouTube, and uploaded to Apple Podcasts and Spotify.

DiGenova's rhetoric did not escape Krebs' attention. In fact, the former CISA chief spoke this morning with NBC's Savannah Guthrie.

"It's certainly more dangerous language, more dangerous behavior," Krebs responded. "And the way I look at it is that we are a nation of laws, and I plan to take advantage of those laws. I've got an exceptional team of lawyers that win in court, and I think they're probably going to be busy." Asked if there may be legal action taken as a result of those comments, Krebs said his team is looking at their "available opportunities."

Asked if he is worried about his safety, Krebs added that he is "not going to give them the benefit of knowing how I'm reacting to this. They can know that there are things coming up."

And things clearly should come up. It's not every day that a sitting American president's lawyer calls for the execution of a government official who did nothing but capably serve his country.

All of this, incidentally, comes just a few weeks after Steve Bannon posted a video in which the former presidential adviser called for the beheadings of FBI Director Christopher Wray and Dr. Anthony Fauci, the government's top infectious diseases expert.

The developments also raise questions anew about the ridiculousness of Trump's post-election legal team -- or the "elite, strike force team." The operation is led by Rudy Giuliani, fresh off his pre-election partnership with an active Russian agent, and Jenna Ellis, who, as recently as 2016, repeatedly described Trump as an "idiot," adding that she considered him an "unethical, corrupt, lying, criminal, dirtbag."

They were joined by Sydney Powell, whose crackpot conspiracy theories proved to be even too extreme for Team Trump, but Joe DiGenova is apparently still part of the operation, despite calling for Christopher Krebs' execution.

If I read it in a novel, I'd dismiss the plot as unrealistic.

Update: Asked about yesterday's comments, DiGenova said today, "It was obvious that my remarks were sarcastic and made in jest. I, of course, wish Mr. Krebs no harm. This was hyperbole in a political discourse."