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Trump Says He's Holding Up COVID Aid To Block USPS Funds For Mail-In Voting

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U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during a briefing at the White House August 12, 2020 in Washingto...
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Trump made it very clear he doesn’t want a coronavirus relief package with USPS money in it because it’s his best chance to block mail-in balloting

President Donald Trump is known to make shocking statements from time to time frequently, but his comments regarding mail-in voting and the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) might’ve just taken the cake — at least for now. During an interview on Thursday with Maria Bartiromo on Fox Business Network, Trump admitted he plans to block additional funding for USPS in order to prevent increased voting by mail.

According to Axios, Trump linked Democrats’ $3.6 billion for mail-in voting and $25 billion for the USPS to baseless claims that increased mail-in voting will lead to voter fraud.

“They want $3.5 billion for something that will turn out to be fraudulent, that’s election money basically,” Trump said. “They want 3.5 trillion — billion dollars for the mail-in votes, OK, universal mail-in ballots, 3.5 trillion. They want $25 billion, billion, for the post office. Now they need that money in order to have the post office work so it can take all of these millions and millions of ballots.”

And in case it wasn’t clear, Trump later doubled-down, repeating that he doesn’t want a coronavirus relief package with USPS money in it because it’s his best chance to block mail-in balloting.

“Now, if we don’t make a deal, that means they don’t get the money. That means they can’t have universal mail-in voting, they just can’t have it. So, you know, sort of a crazy thing. Very interesting,” he said.

And it doesn’t end there: Trump then claimed that the 2020 election could lead to the “greatest fraud in history.”

“This will be the most fraudulent — this will be almost as fraudulent as Obama spying on my campaign, but not quite. This will be the greatest fraud in history,” he said.

According to the Brennan Center, fraud via mail-in voting is rare; and in Oregon where voting is primarily done by mail, they’ve documented only about one dozen cases of fraud — out of more than 100 million ballots since 2000.

As if that wasn’t enough, today Vice reported that the USPS is deactivating mail sorting machines across the country ahead of the election — and no one knows why. These are the same machines that would sort ballots.

“I’m not sure you’re going to find an answer for why [the machines being removed] makes sense,” Iowa Postal Workers Union President Kimberly Karol told the publication, “because we haven’t figured that out either.”

So far, Vice‘s Motherboard identified 19 mail sorting machines from five process facilities that have either already been removed or are scheduled to be removed in the near future. Motherboard reports that USPS has not announced any policy, nor have they explained why they’re doing it or what will happen to the machines.

According to USPS spokesperson David Partenheimer, however, “the Postal Service routinely moves equipment around its network as necessary to match changing mail and package volumes.”

“Package volume is up, but mail volume continues to decline. Adapting our processing infrastructure to the current volumes will ensure more efficient, cost effective operations and better service for our customers,” he continued.

According to NPR, experts estimate as many as 70 percent of votes could be cast by mail this election cycle.

Former Vice President Joe Biden responded to Trump’s comments, telling reporters that Trump “doesn’t want an election.” Biden campaign spokesperson Andrew Bates also said in a statement that Trump is “sabotaging a basic service that hundreds of millions of people rely upon, cutting a critical lifeline for rural economies and for delivery of medicines, because he wants to deprive Americans of their fundamental right to vote safely during the most catastrophic public health crisis in over 100 years — a crisis so devastatingly worsened by his own failed leadership that we are now the hardest hit country in the world by the coronavirus pandemic.”

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi also spoke about Trump’s comments, saying he’s “afraid of the American people.”

And the Declaration for American Democracy Director Jana Morgan called Trump’s act a “disgrace and a stain on our democracy.”

Eight states — California, Colorado, Hawaii, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Vermont, Washington — and Washington D.C. are automatically mailing ballots to active voters. Most, however, are not conducting what Trump called during today’s interview “universal mail-in ballots.”

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