You know that TV show, Intervention? It’s a reality show featuring family and friends confronting a loved one who is suffering through an addiction crisis. Well, it feels like some folks in the Trump administration have had enough and are doing their own version of an intervention for a president who is addicted to telling lies and undermining democracy.
A coordinating council of federal, state and local election officials issued a statement declaring that this election “was the most secure in American history” and that “there is no evidence” that any voting systems were compromised, the New York Times reports.
Now here’s the best part: The statement was released by the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, which is part of Homeland Security—you know, a White House cabinet position. The truth is coming from inside the house!
From the Times:
The group that issued the statement was the Elections Infrastructure Government Coordinating Council, which includes top officials from the cybersecurity agency, the U.S. Election Assistance Commission and secretaries of state and state election directors from around the country. The group also includes representatives from the voting machine industry, which has often been accused of being slow to admit to technological shortcomings and resistant to creating paper backups.
“While we know there are many unfounded claims and opportunities for misinformation about the process of our elections, we can assure you we have the utmost confidence in the security and integrity of our elections, and you should, too,” the officials added in their statement. “When you have questions, turn to elections officials as trusted voices as they administer elections.”
The fact that the statement was delivered from Homeland Security’s cyber-agency, which is responsible for helping states ensure that their election processes are safe and secure, means somebody is probably about to lose their job. And that person very well may be Christopher Krebs.
Who is Christopher Krebs, you ask? Well, he’s the director of the agency that released the statement and a real unsung hero of these elections. Even before Trump began all his legal fuckery on election results, Krebs was running a “rumor control” page on his agency’s website that has basically been calling bullshit on Trump’s lies since before and after the elections.
Again, from the Times:
Mr. Krebs, a former Microsoft executive with a quick wit and a willingness to resist political pressure, did not back down when these efforts created a backlash in the White House. And he was praised in public recently by the acting secretary of homeland security, Chad F. Wolf, for the “rumor control” effort.
Mr. Krebs has widely been rumored to be on the hit list of officials who may be fired by the White House, along with the C.I.A. director, Gina Haspel, and the F.B.I. director, Christopher A. Wray. But so far, the boom has not been lowered.
No boom. Just the silent sulking of a little man who wanted to be dictator so bad he’s willing to destroy democracy.
One of the last official duties of the president is granting presidential pardons. Given all the people in this administration who have been sent to prison, charged with crimes or may be facing criminal charges in the future, Trump’s list is bound to be long AF. But the big question is, will the president try to pardon himself?
Well, CNN reports that Trump has been asking since 2017 whether he can pardon himself or members of his family. He’s even asked if he could pre-emptively grant pardons to people if they are brought up on charges in the future, sort of like a twisted version of Minority Report.
“Once he learned about it, he was obsessed with the power of pardons,” an official told CNN. “I always thought he also liked it because it was a way to do a favor.”
Can Trump self-pardon? As CNN explains, not likely:
The Justice Department looked at the question in the Nixon era and concluded it wasn’t within the president’s power to pardon himself. “Under the fundamental rule that no one may be a judge in his own case, the President cannot pardon himself,” the Office of Legal Counsel wrote in August 1974.
The OLC memo laid out alternate possibilities of which Trump could avail himself: he could temporarily declare himself unable to perform his presidential duties, allowing the vice president to act as president, including by issuing him a pardon, and then the president could resume his duties as president, or resign. The OLC memo also said Congress could pass a legislative pardon.
Several people familiar with the matter said that despite the President’s interest, the White House counsel’s office under Don McGahn, Ty Cobb and Emmet Flood didn’t research the matter and didn’t consider it as a serious possibility.
And anyway, even if he did somehow magically figure out a way to pardon himself, this would only protect him from federal crimes, not from ongoing investigations from the New York attorney general’s office or the Manhattan district attorney. I fully expect AG Tish James to be standing outside of the White House with handcuffs come Jan. 20. That is my dream. That is my wish. That is my hope. Manifest it!