The House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol is examining former President Trump‘s removal of Christopher C. Krebs from his role leading the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency.
Alejandro Mayorkas, secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, CISA’s parent agency, was asked Wednesday for all “documents and communications” related to Mr. Trump‘s firing of Mr. Krebs in November 2020 after the elections.
Chairman Bennie Thompson, Mississippi Democrat, made the request as part of the investigation being conducted by the bipartisan Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the U.S. Capitol.
Mr. Trump fired Mr. Krebs, CISA’s first director, after the federal cybersecurity official pushed back publicly against the president’s claims of widespread election fraud.
Days after Mr. Trump began to deny he lost the 2020 presidential election, CISA co-signed a statement that called the contest “the most secure in American history.” Mr. Trump fired Mr. Krebs soon after.
Mr. Trump stated on social media on Nov. 17 that the joint statement CISA issued vouching for the security of the election was “highly inaccurate” and that Mr. Krebs was thus fired, effective immediately.
Supporters of Mr. Trump echoed his numerous claims about the 2020 election being stolen by President Biden, both before and after several hundred of them broke into the Capitol on Jan. 6.
The House voted to establish the select committee in late June, setting the stage for its chairman to send out its first round of demands for records from federal agencies Wednesday.
“The Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol is examining the facts, circumstances and causes of the January 6th attack,” Mr. Thompson wrote in one of the letters. “Our Constitution provides for a peaceful transfer of power, and this investigation seeks to evaluate threats to that process, identify lessons learned and recommend laws, policies, procedures, rules or regulations necessary to protect our republic in the future.”
Mr. Thompson requested documents from Mr. Mayorkas, as well as the leaders of other agencies including the National Archives and Records Administration, the Department of Defense, the Department of the Interior, the Department of Justice, the FBI, the National Counterterrorism Center and Office of the Director of National Intelligence.
A message requesting comment from Mr. Krebs was not immediately returned. A 44-year-old cybersecurity consultant, he served as director of CISA for two years, with his tenure beginning when the position was created in 2018.
Mr. Krebs had been actively debunking election-related misinformation through the CISA website in the days before and after the 2020 election.
Several prominent members of Congress, Democrat and Republican alike, criticized Mr. Trump‘s removal of Mr. Krebs at the time and warned that the move had made the U.S. less ready to defend from cyberattacks.
“It’s pathetic, but sadly predictable that upholding and protecting our democratic processes would be cause for firing,” Rep. Adam Schiff, California Democrat, said after Mr. Trump ousted Mr. Krebs.
“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,” Sen. Ben Sasse, Nebraska Republican, also said at the time.
While the former president and some of his allies have continued to push numerous claims of election fraud, judges have not found any credible.
Scores of police officers were injured during the attack on the Capitol, which unfolded as Congress met to recognize Mr. Biden as the winner of the 2020 presidential election. He was sworn in two weeks later.