THE mailman who Donald Trump called a “brave patriot” for claiming mail-in ballots were tampered with in Pennsylvania admitted that he “didn’t hear the whole story” and made assumptions.
Richard Hopkins, 32, alleged that a postmaster in Erie, Pennsylvania, told US Postal Service workers to backdate ballots that were mailed after Election Day.
He signed an affidavit swearing to these allegations, which have since been used by Republicans as possible proof of widespread voter fraud.
The House Oversight Committee and The Washington Post both said on Tuesday that Hopkins recanted his claims, but Hopkins said that wasn’t true.
Project Veritas, who helped Hopkins go public with his story, released on Wednesday Hopkins’ two-hour-long interrogation by the Postal Service’s Office of Inspector General.
In the video, Hopkins admitted: “I didn't specifically hear the whole story. I just heard a part of it. And I could have missed a lot of it.”
“My mind probably added the rest. I understand that. I understand how hearsay and listening,” Hopkins told federal agents. “I've been questioning it at this point.”
Later in his interview, Hopkins said he never heard the word “backdate” in reference to the mail-in ballots.
The postal worker then said that when he collected a ballot while working on November 5, he made a notation on the ballot himself with the date.
Hopkins said that “specifically what I heard was fourth ballots picked up. And then I heard them say something about the markings being on the third. One was on the fourth. That's it.”
“And that's when I poked my head out and said, ‘What?’”
In his interview, Hopkins said he reached conclusions “based on my assumption of what I could hear was that they were post-marking them on the third that were picked up on the fourth.”
Project Veritas released a letter from the Postal Service that was sent to Hopkins, saying he was placed on “off-duty/non-pay status” effective on Tuesday.
The letter stated that Hopkins’ actions “may have placed employees and yourself as well as the reputation of the US Postal Service in harm’s way.”
Senator Lindsey Graham used Hopkins’ claim in a letter to the Justice Department calling for an investigation.
Attorney General William Barr then authorized federal prosecutors to open an investigation into claims of voting irregularities before election results are certified – a reversal of a longstanding DOJ policy.
But on Tuesday, the House Oversight Committee, led by Democrat Carolyn Maloney, said that Hopkins “completely recanted his allegations of a supervisor tampering with mail-in ballots after being questioned by investigators.”
The Washington Post reported that on Monday, Hopkins told the US Postal Service’s Office of Inspector General that the claims he made were not true.
Hopkins signed an affidavit that recanted his claims, the Post reported, citing three officials who were briefed on the investigation.
The Inspector General’s office began investigating Hopkins’ claims last week after he went public with his allegations through Project Veritas.
Project Veritas, run by James O’Keefe, is a conservative website that uses hidden cameras and undercover reporters to ensnare journalists or politicos in embarrassing conversations.
The House committee tweeted on Tuesday: “#USPS IG investigators informed Committee staff today that they interviewed Hopkins on Friday, but that Hopkins RECANTED HIS ALLEGATIONS yesterday and did not explain why he signed a false affidavit.”
But O’Keefe shared a video of Hopkins shortly after, in which he said he did not recant anything.
Holding up the Washington Post article, Hopkins said: “It says that I fabricated the allegations of ballot-tampering.
"I’m here to say that I did not recant my statements. That did not happen.
“That’s not what happened, and you will find out tomorrow.”
Hopkins then asked the Post to “recant their wonderful little article that they decided to throw out there out of random.”
Trump tweeted of Hopkins this week: "A brave patriot. More & more people are stepping forward to expose this Rigged Election!"
Trump and Republicans have been claiming that widespread voter fraud is the reason the president didn’t win re-election – and have been using Hopkins’ claim to allege of such problems in Pennsylvania.
Republicans have not provided evidence or proof of any widespread voter fraud or irregularities in the 2020 election.
And election officials from both political parties have publicly stated that voting last week went well and international observers also confirmed that there were no serious irregularities.
On Saturday, Joe Biden was projected to be the winner of Pennsylvania’s 2020 race – giving him the state’s 20 Electoral College votes that would lead him to winning the presidency.
The most major news networks, newspapers and newswires projected Biden’s win after determining that the remaining ballots left to be counted in Pennsylvania would not allow Trump to catch up.
On Monday, the Trump campaign filed a lawsuit to stop the certification of the election results in Pennsylvania.
But Trump’s campaign filed litigation in federal court over Pennsylvania’s presidential election, saying registered Democratic voters were treated more favorably than Republican voters.
Judges have already thrown out lawsuits in Michigan and Georgia from the Trump campaign.
Trump has refused to concede in the race against former Vice President Biden.
Legal experts have said that Trump's litigation has little chance of changing the outcome of the election.
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