© Reuters. President Donald Trump makes remarks at a Bedminster press conference
By David Shepardson and Katanga Johnson
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Donald Trump's postmaster general appointed on Monday agreed to testify before Congress next week about service cuts that lawmakers fear may affect the postal service's ability to post a deluge of postal ballot papers in the election November to deal with.
Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, a major Trump political giver, agreed to testify next Monday before the Democratic-led House Oversight and Reform Committee, which is investigating whether any service changes accepted in recent weeks have slowed mail delivery.
The committee named DeJoy's appearance voluntarily. Robert Duncan, chairman of the Postal Service's Board of Governors and past chairman of the Republican National Committee, will testify with DeJoy, the Postal Service confirmed.
Congressional Democrats have raised concerns that, amid a coronavirus pandemic that is expected to result in roughly twice as many Americans voting in the mail as it did in 2016, cost reductions in the postal service could result in missed or late votes. You pointed out the reduction in overtime, restrictions on additional mail transports, and new guidelines for sorting and delivery of mail as changes that threaten to slow down mail delivery.
Trump has repeatedly and without evidence claimed that postal voting is prone to fraud. Postal voting is nothing new in the US, and one in four voters cast their vote this way in 2016.
Separately, the Chairman of the House Democratic Conference, Hakeem Jeffries, and Representative Ted Lieu called on the FBI to open a criminal investigation into DeJoy.
"There are indications that the difficulty of the mail-in voting could be one of the reasons behind the changes introduced at the Post," wrote Jeffries and Lieu in a letter to FBI Director Christopher Wray on Monday.
"There is also evidence that the Postmaster General is involved in several financial companies that are either competitors or contractors of the post office," added the legislature.
"DO NOT manipulate"
"No, we don't manipulate," Trump said in an interview with Fox News amid outcry from Democrats and other critics accusing him of hindering the postal service to suppress mail-in votes while he was the Democratic president's challenger , Joe Biden, follows in pre-election polls on November 3rd.
"We want it to run efficiently and well," Trump said of the postal service.
Trump told reporters at the White House that he "wanted to make sure the elections were not stolen".
Republican Senator Tom Cotton, a close ally of Trump, accused the Democrats of promoting "conspiracy theories," an accusation echoed by the House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy.
Trump, who himself plans to post a postal vote in Florida, and many other Republicans have opposed expanding postal voting to accommodate people concerned about voting in person amid fears amid the pandemic.
He also expressed his support for expanded personal voting, including more voting booths, early voting, and other efforts, while reiterating his attacks on mail-in polls.
Trump said last Thursday he was opposed to Democratic efforts to add funds for postal service and electoral infrastructure to coronavirus aid legislation as he plans to block an expansion of mail-in voting during the pandemic. Trump said in March that with mail-in voting at any level they would like, Democrats "would never again have a Republican elected in this country."
The democratically controlled house will meet on Saturday to discuss legislation prohibiting changes to postal service levels that were in effect on Jan. 1, 2020, Chamber Democrat No. 2 Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said.
An adviser to Democratic Congress said the legislation will also allocate $ 25 billion to the postal service. Congressional Democrats had sought that amount in talks over coronavirus control legislation that collapsed without an agreement more than a week ago.
While Trump has spoken out against such funding, White House chief of staff Mark Meadows told reporters Monday that the government could approve funding through the postal service as part of a law to aid millions of Americans during the pandemic.