Christopher Krebs, the former director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, suggested on Tuesday morning that he will pursue legal action against Trump campaign lawyer Joe diGenova for remarking that Krebs should be “taken out at dawn and shot.”
Krebs was ousted as the Trump administration’s cybersecurity chief last month when he said that this year’s presidential election was the “most secure” in history, drawing the president’s ire as it flew in the face of Trump’s “rigged” election narrative. Krebs, meanwhile, has continued to debunk the president’s baseless conspiracy theories about widespread voter fraud, including in a recent 60 Minutes interview, which further enraged Trump.
Appearing on pro-Trump outlet Newsmax on Monday, diGenova took aim at Krebs over his assertion that there is no evidence any votes were flipped from Trump to President-elect Joe Biden.
“Anybody who thinks that this election went well, like that idiot Krebs, who used to be the head of cybersecurity,” diGenova exclaimed to host Howie Carr. “That guy is a Class-A moron. He should be drawn and quartered. Taken out at dawn and shot.”
While interviewing Krebs on NBC’s Today Show, anchor Savannah Guthrie asked the ex-DHS official on Tuesday morning to react to diGenova’s “obviously disturbing and dangerous” remarks.
“It’s certainly more dangerous language, more dangerous behavior, and the way I look at it is that we are a nation of laws,” Krebs responded. “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 whether he felt that legal action might arise from the Trump attorney’s remarks, Krebs replied: “We’re taking a look at all of our available opportunities.”
Guthrie also wondered whether Krebs was worried about his safety, adding that this wasn’t the “first death threat” that has been related to this election fight.
“You know, I’m not going to give them the benefit of knowing how I’m reacting to this,” he stated. “They can know that there are things coming, though.”
DiGenova, for his part, now insists his comments should not be construed as a death threat or violent call to action.
“Anyone who heard the interview knows that it was obviously sarcasm meant in jest,” diGenova told The Daily Beast on Tuesday. “Of course, I wish Mr. Krebs no harm whatsoever.”
When reached for comment, Trump campaign communications director Tim Murtaugh relayed diGenova's remarks that his comments were “made in jest” and “hyperbole in a political discourse,” attributing the statement to diGenova himself.
Trump campaign senior adviser Jason Miller tweeted on Tuesday afternoon that diGenova “is a valued member of our legal team” and was ”clearly joking around” with his inflammatory comments.
While the Trump campaign appeared to have no issue with their attorney's violent rhetoric, the White House repudiated the outspoken lawyer’s remarks.
“That statement was wildly inappropriate,” White House Communications Director Alyssa Farah told CNN anchor Jake Tapper on Tuesday.