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White house briefs

UPDATED: Tue., Nov. 17, 2020

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump on Tuesday fired the director of the federal agency that vouched for the reliability of the 2020 election.

Trump fired Christopher Krebs in a tweet, saying his recent statement defending the security of the election was “highly inaccurate.”

While abrupt, the dismissal was hardly surprising. Krebs, director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, had offered a stream of statements and tweets over the past week attesting to the integrity of the election, directly contradicting Trump’s false assertions of widespread fraud without mentioning the president by name.

The firing of Krebs, a Trump appointee, comes as Trump is refusing to recognize the victory of Democratic President-elect Joe Biden and removing high-level officials seen as insufficiently loyal. He fired Defense Secretary Mark Esper on Nov. 9, part of a broader shakeup that put Trump loyalists in senior Pentagon positions.

Krebs has repeatedly pushed back against false claims that the election was tainted. Earlier Tuesday, he tweeted out a report citing 59 election security experts saying there is no credible evidence of computer fraud in the 2020 election outcome.

Fed nominee Shelton stalls in test vote

WASHINGTON — The nomination of Judy Shelton, President Donald Trump’s controversial pick for the Federal Reserve, is stalled in the Senate after Vice President-elect Kamala Harris returned to the chamber to cast a key vote in a tally Tuesday.

Two key Republicans were absent because of COVID-related concerns. The 47-50 vote came as the Republican-controlled Senate continues to focus its energies in the post-election lame-duck session on confirming Trump’s appointees.

Shelton is an unusually caustic critic of the Fed and was opposed by two GOP senators, Susan Collins of Maine and Mitt Romney of Utah, in Tuesday’s vote. Harris has been focused on the transition to the Biden administration but returned to the chamber.

Senator-elect Mark Kelly, D-Ariz., is likely to join the Senate when the chamber returns from its Thanksgiving break. That could leave Shelton short of support for confirmation even if Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., seeks a revote next month.

Another Republican opponent, Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, missed Tuesday’s vote, and his return could cement Shelton’s fate, even after Rick Scott, R-Fla., and Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, return to the chamber after quarantining because of exposure to the coronavirus.

Shelton, a conservative economics commentator, is opposed by Senate Democrats, most economists and many former Fed officials for her past support of the gold standard and for writings that questioned the Fed’s political independence.

From wire reports

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