WASHINGTON, D.C. — A Pennsylvania postal worker who signed a sworn affidavit alleging that a supervisor ordered colleagues to backdate ballots received after Election Day has recanted his claims, House Democrats said Tuesday.
What You Need To Know
- A Pennsylvania postal worker who signed a sworn affidavit alleging that a supervisor ordered colleagues to backdate ballots received after Election Day has recanted his claims, House Democrats said
- However, in a video posted Tuesday night, the Erie letter carrier, Richard Hopkins, insisted," I did not recant my statement"
- Hopkins’ claims of backdated ballots were amplified by Republicans alleging that the presidential election might have been stolen from President Donald Trump
- Sen. Lindsey Graham has called for the Justice Department to investigate Hopkins' claims, and the Trump campaign cited them in a federal lawsuit
However, in a video posted Tuesday night, the Erie letter carrier, Richard Hopkins, said he’s standing by his story.
The Democratic-led House Oversight Committee released a statement on Twitter saying the whistleblower “completely RECANTED his allegations of a supervisor tampering with mail-in ballots after being questioned by investigators.”
The U.S. Postal Service’s Office of Inspector General informed the committee Tuesday that Hopkins had disavowed his claims Monday but did not explain why he signed a false affidavit. Investigators first interviewed the postal worker Friday.
In a video posted online Tuesday night, Hopkins said: “I’m here to say that I did not recant my statement. That did not happen.” In a separate video, he added that he felt like “he got played” by investigators.
Hopkins’ claims of backdated ballots were amplified by Republicans alleging that the presidential election might have been stolen from President Donald Trump. The president has refused to concede defeat to Democrat Joe Biden, alleging, without evidence, there was a widespread voter fraud.
In a post tagged by Twitter on Wednesday for containing a disputed claim, Trump called Hopkins a “brave patriot, adding “More & more people are stepping forward to expose this Rigged Election!”
Project Veritas, a conservative group that has repeatedly been accused of deceptively editing videos to spread disinformation, first made Hopkins’ allegations public, although he did not initially identify himself.
Hopkins’ affidavit was given to the Trump campaign and then forwarded to Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), chairman of the Judiciary Committee. Graham, a staunch Trump ally who has urged the president to fight the election results, distributed copies of the affidavit to reporters along with a statement saying he “will not allow credible allegations of voting irregularities or misconduct to be swept under the rug.”
Graham called for the Justice Department to launch an investigation into the claims, and on Monday, Attorney General William Barr said he has authorized federal prosecutors to open probes into credible allegations of voting fraud before results are certified.
Some Republicans have pointed to Hopkins’ claims as credible evidence supporting Trump’s fraud allegations.
The postal worker said in his affidavit he overheard a supervisor instructing employees to backdate late-arriving ballots. Anticipating a flood of mail-in votes related to the coronavirus pandemic, Pennsylvania allowed ballots received by Nov. 6 to be counted if they were postmarked on or before Nov. 3. Ballots without postmarks could also be counted as long as there was not convincing evidence they were mailed after Election Day.
Mail-in votes have generally favored Biden by large margins.
On his personal Facebook page, Erie Postmaster Rob Weisenbach wrote: “The allegations made against me and the Erie Post Office are 100% false made by an employee that was recently disciplined multiple times.”
The Trump campaign cited reports of Hopkins’ allegation in a federal lawsuit that aims to prevent Pennsylvania from certifying its election results. As of Wednesday morning, with 99% of votes counted, Biden led Trump by more than 47,500 in the Keystone State. The Associated Press called the state for Biden on Saturday, putting the former vice president over the 270-electoral-vote mark needed to win the White House.
Trump campaign spokesman Tim Murtaugh told The Washington Post that Hopkins’ claims were just a small part of its lawsuit. Murtaugh added, “We don’t know what kind of pressure he has been under since he publicly made those statements.”
GoFundMe removed a crowdfunding page set up under Hopkins’ name that had raised more than $136,000 by Tuesday evening, the Post reported.
“Your donations are going to help me in the case I am wrongfully terminated from my job or I am forced into resigning due to ostrizization [sic] by my co-workers,” the page stated, according to the Post.
A GoFundMe spokesman told the newspaper that the money was not disbursed to Hopkins.