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Christopher Krebs. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Though largely expected since last week, President Trump's firing of top government cybersecurity official Chris Krebs Tuesday evening was widely criticized across the political spectrum and throughout the security community.

Why it matters: Krebs, who was fired by tweet, is the latest in a series of post-election ousters from the outgoing Trump administration. Krebs had drawn Trump's ire for publicly affirming that the 2020 election was fair and free from fraud and foreign interference.

Details: Trump fired Krebs, the head of the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, after Krebs repeatedly vouched for the integrity of the 2020 election — and hours after he retweeted a post from elections expert David Becker encouraging people not to "retweet wild and baseless claims about voting machines, even if they're made by the president."

  • Under Krebs, CISA created a Rumor Control website that featured debunkings of election misinformation, including false claims — like "dead people voted" — that Trump and his allies have embraced.
  • Reuters had previously reported that Krebs expected to be fired, but some had held out hope that strong public support would keep him in the job.

Krebs tweeted after his firing from a personal account: "Honored to serve. We did it right."

Between the lines: Twitter flagged Trump's tweets announcing Krebs' firing for containing disputed claims about election fraud.

What they're saying: A number of Republicans joined a chorus of Democratic officials in criticizing the move.

  • Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.): "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."
  • David Becker, director of the Center for Election Innovation: "Krebs can leave public service with his integrity intact, knowing the tremendous positive impact he had on U.S. democracy."
  • Luta Security CEO Katie Moussouris: "This actively makes us more vulnerable to cyber attacks & could not thrill our adversaries more."

What's next: Krebs' deputy Matt Travis would have normally been in line to become acting director, but the Washington Post reported late Tuesday night that he resigned after the White House blocked him from taking the reins. Per Politico's Eric Geller, however, the next official in the line of succession is a career staffer not subject to presidential discretion.

Go deeper

Off the Rails

Descent into madness

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photos: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

President Trump was sitting in the Oval Office one day in late November when a call came in from lawyer Sidney Powell. "Ugh, Sidney," he told the staff in the room before he picked up. "She's getting a little crazy, isn't she? She's really gotta tone it down. No one believes this stuff. It's just too much."

Updated 40 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Don McGahn agrees to closed-door interview with House panel on Russia report

Former White House counsel Don McGahn during a discussion at the NYU Global Academic Center in Washington, D.C., in 2019. Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images

Former White House counsel Don McGahn agreed Wednesday to speak with the House Judiciary Committee about the Russia investigation that led to the impeachment trial of former President Trump — with certain conditions, per a court filing.

Why it matters: The agreement ends a two-year standoff after McGahn, a key player in former special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation, repeatedly refused to agree to a subpoena for testimony — resulting in the matter being taken to court.

Updated 1 hour ago - World

Over 70 dead in worst bombardments between Israel and Hamas for years

Smoke and flames rise after Israeli fighter jets conducted airstrikes in Gaza on May 13, 2021. Israeli forces said on May 12 they had killed a senior Hamas commander and bombed several buildings. Gaza's health ministry has said children are among the dead. Photo: Ashraf Amra/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

At least 67 Palestinians and seven Israelis have been killed in fighting between Israel's military and Hamas since Monday, per Reuters.

The big picture: The worst aerial exchanges of fire between Israel and Hamas since 2014 come days after escalating violence in Jerusalem that injured hundreds of Palestinians and several Israeli police officers during protests over the planned evictions of Palestinian families from their homes.

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