A member of Donald Trump's legal team has been blasted after saying America's former cybersecurity chief, Christopher Krebs, should be "taken out and shot" for contradicting the President's claims about voter fraud.
Until recently, Krebs served as head of the Trump administration's Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA).
The agency, housed in the Department for Homeland Security, is responsible for securing America's computer systems. That includes the hardware used in its elections.
Trump fired Krebs, a lifelong Republican, on November 17.
Krebs had issued a joint statement with other experts, calling the November 3 election "the most secure in American history" and publicly pushing back on the President's baseless allegations that there had been widespread fraud.
Specifically, he refuted the debunked conspiracy theory that voting software from a company called Dominion changed votes cast for Trump to support Biden instead.
"There is no evidence that any voting system deleted or lost votes, changed votes, or was in any way compromised," the statement read.
"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."
Trump announced his decision to sack Krebs on Twitter, calling the experts' statement "highly inaccurate" and repeating several of the falsehoods they were attempting to debunk.
In the wake of his firing, Krebs started to speak out even more openly against his former boss's rhetoric. His own Twitter feed became a stream of fact-checks examining the more viral claims about fraud on social media.
Then, on Sunday night, he was interviewed by 60 Minutes. That appearance, during which Krebs once again defended the integrity of the election, caught the attention of one of Trump's lawyers, Joe diGenova.
DiGenova has worked for Trump for some time. He represented the President during the Russia investigation, and is now part of the legal team led by Rudy Giuliani, which is trying to overturn the election result.
"Anybody who thinks that this election went well – like that idiot Krebs, who used to be the head of cybersecurity," diGenova said on The Howie Carr Show yesterday.
"The guy who was on 60 Minutes last night," Carr interjected.
"That guy is a class A moron," said diGenova.
"He should be drawn and quartered, taken out at dawn and shot."
Carr responded with a chuckle. Others were less amused.
Lois Clark, who heads the Government Accountability Project, said diGenova's remark could trigger threats against Krebs and was "behaviour befitting a mob attorney".
Frank Figliuzzi, a former deputy director of the FBI, suggested diGenova had violated a federal law.
"If this crap doesn't get his law licence pulled then the Bar is asleep at the wheel," said former federal prosecutor Elie Honig.
In an interview with NBC this morning, Krebs himself said he was considering legal action.
"It's certainly more dangerous language. More dangerous behaviour," he said.
"The way I look at it is that we are a nation of laws, 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."
Host Savannah Guthrie asked whether a lawsuit could specifically arise from diGenova's remarks.
"We're taking a look at all of our available opportunities," Krebs replied.
"I'm not going to give them the benefit of knowing how I'm reacting to this. They can know that there are things coming, though."
On 60 Minutes, interviewer Scott Pelley asked Krebs what he thought as he watched last month's wild media conference with Giuliani and the rest of Trump's legal team.
"It was upsetting, because what I saw was an apparent attempt to undermine confidence in the election. To confuse people, to scare people," Krebs said.
"It's not just me, it's not just CISA. It's the tens of thousands of election workers out there that had been working non-stop, 18-hour days, for months. They're getting death threats for trying to carry out one of our core democratic institutions, an election.
"That was, to me, a press conference that I just – it didn't make sense. What it was actively doing was undermining democracy. And that's dangerous."
Pelley threw a few of the Trump team's claims at Krebs, giving him a chance to respond. First up was Giuliani's allegation, devoid of evidence, that some Americans' votes had been counted overseas.
"All votes in the United States are counted in the United States. I don't understand this claim. All votes in the US are counted in the US, period," said Krebs.
"Voting machines corrupted by mysterious actors in Venezuela," Pelley put to him.
"So again, there's no evidence that any machine that I'm aware of has been manipulated by a foreign power. Period," Krebs responded.
"Communist money from China and Cuba used to influence the election," said Pelley.
"Look, I think these – we can go on and on with all the farcical claims," said Krebs.
"But the proof is in the ballots. The recounts are consistent with the initial count, and to me, that's further evidence and confirmation that the systems performed as expected and the American people should have 100 per cent confidence in their vote."
A pair of recounts, in Georgia and certain counties in Wisconsin, have confirmed president-elect Joe Biden's as the winner of both states.
The one in Georgia, in particular, was significant, as it tested the President's theory about Dominion's electronic voting system flipping votes.
"Paper ballots give you the ability to audit. To go back and check the tape and make sure that you got the count right," Krebs explained.
"Votes were cast in Georgia, for instance, on paper. They were counted by a machine. They were subsequently recounted by hand.
"That gives you the ability to prove that there was no malicious algorithm or hacked software that adjusted the tally of the vote.
"And just look at what happened in Georgia. Georgia has machines that tabulate the vote. They then held a hand recount and the outcome was consistent with the machine vote.
"That tells you that there was no manipulation of the vote on the machine count side. And so that pretty thoroughly, in my opinion, debunks some of these sensational claims out there, that I've called nonsense and a hoax, that there is some hacking of these election vendors and their software and their systems across the country.
"It's just nonsense."