Trump Attorney Calls For Execution of Former DHS Cybersecurity Official

President Donald Trump golfs at Trump National Golf Club on November 27, 2020 in Sterling, Virginia.
President Donald Trump golfs at Trump National Golf Club on November 27, 2020 in Sterling, Virginia.
Photo: Tasos Katopodis (Getty Images)

One of President Donald Trump’s remaining election lawyers, Joe diGenova, declared on Monday that former DHS cybersecurity official Chris Krebs should be executed. Krebs was fired from the Trump administration in mid-November after releasing a statement that the 2020 election had been the most secure in American history, a message that angered Trump immensely. President Trump has falsely claimed the 2020 presidential election was fraudulent and that he was the real winner over president-elect Joe Biden.

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“Anybody who thinks that this 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,” diGenova said on Monday during the Howie Carr radio show, a program syndicated by the far-right propaganda channel NewsMax TV.

The Howie Carr show played footage of Krebs, taken from his CBS News “60 Minutes” interview this past Sunday, and the host forced a soft chuckle after diGenova called for the execution of the respected cybersecurity official. But diGenova didn’t say anything to indicate he may have been joking.

Krebs was widely celebrated by both Democrats and Republicans for his work at the Department of Homeland Security as the head of the agency’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA). Aside from helping local states secure their electronic voting systems, Krebs launched a website called Rumor Control through CISA in October and helped debunk lies and voter suppression efforts before and after the election. Unfortunately, many of those lies were being spread by President Trump and he didn’t take kindly to being called out on his bullshit.

Calls for violence against people who oppose Trump has become more and more common since Joe Biden won the election on Nov. 3. Some of those calls to arms are coming from the more extreme edges of the Republican Party, including the Proud Boys and neo-Nazis, but that same extremist rhetoric is also coming from so-called mainstream elements of the party.

Trump himself has also used extremist language to talk about his political opponents and those who disagree with him, accusing many of “treason,”—an incendiary word he’s been using for years. Back in May 2019, a reporter specifically noted that treason is punishable by death and asked Trump who had committed treason. The president rattled off a list of names like former FBI officials James Comey, Andrew McCabe, and Peter Strzok. Trump also said Joe Biden would get the “electric chair” for unspecified crimes if he were a Republican during a press conference in Sept. of 2019.

DiGenova made a number of claims in the Monday interview that have already been debunked in court, including the idea that more votes were counted in some areas than there were people living there. In one court filing, it was revealed that the Trump legal team had confused the abbreviations for Minnesota and Michigan, leading them to compare vote totals in one state with populations in others.

DiGenova said some of the Trump legal team’s cases were going to the U.S. Supreme Court and “going there quickly,” though many experts are skeptical that SCOTUS would take up cases on such flimsy evidence. It’s not clear how the Supreme Court would rule on such a bullshit case, but there’s always a chance that the highly politicized and newly conservative court could want to do Trump a favor.

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Many Trump supporters have been excited by the U.S. Department of Justice’s fast-track program of federal executions since Trump lost the election, and some even see it as a sign that Trump could be getting ready to line up high-profile Democrats against the wall—especially considering the move by Attorney General Bill Barr to expand the number of execution methods to include firing squad. Conspiracy theorist and hate-preacher Rick Wiles made precisely that argument on his show recently, according to Right Wing Watch.

“Why would they fast-track this?” one of Wiles’s henchmen asked on the program.

“I’m not trying to be funny about it... Because they plan to shoot some people,” Wiles said. “They’re gonna have a bunch of traitors, they’re gonna line ‘em up against the wall and start shooting them. Because that’s what they deserve.”

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“If the Democrats, if the news media, if the leftists, if scientists, professors, have been working secretly with the Chinese Communist Party, then line ‘em up against the wall and shoot them,” said Wiles.

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But summary execution aside, the most terrifying thing to come out of DiGenova’s mouth on Monday was his confirmation that Trump’s legal team is trying to pressure Republicans in state legislatures not to recognize the vote and to simply re-elect Trump through the Electoral College.

“We’re working in states to see whether or not state legislatures will step up and reclaim their constitutional duty, which is determined whether or not electors have been selected properly through the electoral process,” diGenova said.

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DiGenova did not respond to a request for comment early Tuesday about whether he believes Krebs should be given a trial before he’s executed with a gun. Gizmodo will update this post if we hear back about diGenova’s desire for extrajudicial murder.

Matt Novak is the editor of Gizmodo's Paleofuture blog

DISCUSSION

So...I’m relieved that Biden won the election. I’m so glad that Dump is finally going to be booted out. I hate Orange Foolius with every fiber of my being, and I’m immensely looking forward to being able to largely ignore whatever is happening in the White House.

Having said all that, I definitely remember in 2016 there were a ton of people calling for the electoral college to vote in Hill-Dawg even though she lost. I’m not seeing a huge difference between Dems saying that then and Repugnicans saying it now. All the other shit is revolting and alarming, but I don’t think we on the left have any room to condemn that particular move set.

On the other hand, I’d love to see some evidence of right-wingers condemning it in 2016 and advocating for it in 2020, because hypocrisy produces the most delicious schadenfreude!