A 'disgruntled' staffer reportedly changed Trump's and Pence's biographies on the State Department website to say their terms ended on Monday

Advertisement
A 'disgruntled' staffer reportedly changed Trump's and Pence's biographies on the State Department website to say their terms ended on Monday
Vice President Mike Pence speaks as U.S. President Donald Trump participates in a signing ceremony and meeting with the President of Serbia Aleksandar Vucic and the Prime Minister of Kosovo Avdullah Hoti in the Oval Office of the White House on September 4, 2020 in Washington, DC.Anna Moneymaker-Pool/Getty Images
  • President Donald Trump's and Vice President Mike Pence's biography pages on the State Department's website were updated to say that their terms would end on Monday.
  • BuzzFeed News and the journalist Hugo Lowell both reported that the changes were made deliberately by a "disgruntled" employee at the State Department.
  • BuzzFeed News also reported that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo "ordered an internal investigation into the matter, beginning with interns and employees leaving" this week.

Two cryptic changes on the State Department's website caused an uproar on Monday: President Donald Trump's and Vice President Mike Pence's biography pages were updated to say their terms were ending on Monday, nine days ahead of schedule.

BuzzFeed News and the journalist Hugo Lowell reported that the changes were made deliberately by a "disgruntled" employee. The pages were wiped and updated to say that Pence's term would end on Monday at 7:44 p.m. while Trump's would end five minutes later, at 7:49 p.m.

A 'disgruntled' staffer reportedly changed Trump's and Pence's biographies on the State Department website to say their terms ended on Monday
President Donald Trump's bio page on the State Department website screenshotted at 3:24 p.m.Screenshot via US State Department
A 'disgruntled' staffer reportedly changed Trump's and Pence's biographies on the State Department website to say their terms ended on Monday
Vice President Mike Pence's bio page on the State Department websit, screenshotted at 3:24 p.m.Screenshot via US State Department

By 3:50 p.m. ET, Trump's and Pence's biography pages returned 404 errors with the message "We're sorry, this site is currently experiencing technical difficulties. Please try again in a few moments."

Advertisement

Some Twitter users speculated that the State Department could be announcing that Trump and Pence were resigning, or that its site could have been hacked. A diplomat familiar with the matter told BuzzFeed News that the State Department's system was a "closed system" that was "nearly impossible to hack."

BuzzFeed News also reported that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo "ordered an internal investigation into the matter, beginning with interns and employees leaving the State Department this week and next ahead of the transition to the Biden administration."

Trump and Pence are set to leave office at noon on January 20, when President-elect Joe Biden is inaugurated.

Advertisement

Read more: Could Trump mass-pardon his supporters who rioted at the Capitol? He has the power, and there is historical precedent.

Highly visible and rank-and-file Trump administration officials have resigned or criticized the administration after a mob of Trump supporters mounted a violent insurrection at the Capitol last Wednesday.

In the past few months, Trump has devoted significant time and resources to undermining the result of the presidential election and seeking to overturn it. He has spread misinformation and disinformation about the election and pressured Pence to "decertify" the election, which Pence did not have the power to do.

Advertisement

The highest-profile Trump administration officials to depart early because of the violence last week include Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao; Education Secretary Betsy DeVos; Stephanie Grisham, first lady Melania Trump's chief of staff and spokeswoman; and Mick Mulvaney, the special envoy to Northern Ireland.

Expanded Coverage Module: capitol-siege-updates
{{}}