Meadows says postal service sorting machines have not been taken out of service ahead of election

The White House chief of staff denied reports that the machines had been deactivated.

Published: August 16, 2020 12:09pm

Updated: August 17, 2020 12:58pm

Postal service sorting machines have not been taken offline ahead of the general election, White House chief of staff Mark Meadows said.

Meadows made the comments during a Sunday interview on CNN's State of the Union program, where he discussed the United States Postal Service as the nation nears an election wherein mail-in balloting is expected to play a pivotal role.

NBC News on Friday, citing "an internal document," said that Postmaster General Louis DeJoy is decommissioning hundreds of letter sorting machines.

While speaking on Sunday with CNN's Jake Tapper, Meadows said that "there's no sorting machines that are going offline between now and the election. That's something that my Democrat friends are trying to do to stoke fear out there. That's not happening."

Tapper pressed the issue: "Are you saying that sorting machines have not been taken offline and removed?"

The devices "between now and the election will not be taken offline," Meadows responded.

The White House chief of staff later pointed to the previous administration. "And so when you're looking at this, these postal machines and the drawdown, that was a 2006 bill that has been implemented, that I don't necessarily agree with, but that's not this postmaster general that did that," Meadows said. "That was the previous postmaster general under Obama."

Meadows told Tapper to have a producer provide information about the locations where sorting machines were decommissioned, and asserted that Tapper was "picking up on a narrative that's not based on facts." 

Tapper later said that a union leader informed a producer that several machines had been taken out this year in Missouri, and one in Kansas during the current postmaster general's tenure.

Meadows in discussing the machines explained that "if they were not part of an already scheduled reallocation it's not happening. It's not a new initiative by this postmaster general. And when we look at this, it's all about efficiency, but you have a normal system of changing it out."

President Donald Trump has repeatedly expressed concern about possible fraud and election result delays if states engage in universal mail-in balloting.

New York Democratic Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney, chair of the House Committee on Oversight and Reform, in an August 16 letter has asked Postmaster General DeJoy to testify during an August 24 congressional hearing.

"As you know, my staff first requested your testimony several weeks ago, and you indicated that the first available date you could appear was September 17, 2020," the congresswoman wrote. 

"However, over the past several weeks, there have been startling new revelations about the scope and gravity of operational changes you are implementing at hundreds of postal facilities without consulting adequately with Congress, the Postal Regulatory Commission, or the Board of Governors," Maloney wrote. "Your testimony is particularly urgent given the troubling influx of reports of widespread delays at postal facilities across the country—as well as President Trump’s explicit admission last week that he has been blocking critical coronavirus funding for the Postal Service in order to impair mail-in voting efforts for the upcoming elections in November."

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