It was not the first time that government agencies have taken on Mr. Trump’s falsehoods. In July, the Food and Drug Administration warned against the use of hydroxychloroquine to treat the coronavirus after Mr. Trump had embraced its use. The president was angry, but the head of the agency has survived.
Many of the charges of fraud, illegal voting and software troubles have come from Mr. Trump and his sons.
Donald Trump Jr., the president’s eldest son, called for “total war” in Georgia over what he claims is election fraud. Eric Trump shared conspiracy theories that poll workers in Arizona gave Trump voters Sharpie pens that could not be read by ballot scanners, a claim that was quickly debunked by Arizona’s secretary of state. The president’s supporters have sent death threats to poll workers in Pennsylvania.
Yet both before and after Election Day, Mr. Trump has been repeatedly contradicted — though never named — by the Department of Homeland Security’s cyberagency, as it has sought to dispel disinformation. The agency’s director, Christopher Krebs, had led the charge to secure election machines, registration systems and tabulation systems across the 50 states, sending experts to help and testing systems for vulnerabilities.
Mr. Krebs also argued that his agency had to counter the “hacking of minds as well as infrastructure,” and he created a “rumor control” page on his agency’s federal government website. It has repeatedly contradicted Mr. Trump, explaining why mail-in ballots do not lend themselves to fraud, and how states assure that the dead do not cast ballots.
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.