Above Graphic: h/t Buzzflash.com.

Donald Trump just admitted that he is trying to prevent mail-in votes from being counted by sabotaging the United States Postal Service. Trump says Postal Service needs money for mail-in voting, but he’ll keep blocking funding:

President Trump on Thursday repeated his unfounded claim that the U.S. Postal Service is incapable of facilitating mail-in voting because it cannot access the emergency funding he is blocking, casting the November election as illegitimate if voters submit ballots through the nation’s cash-strapped mail service.

Trump, who has been railing against mail-in balloting for months, said the cash-strapped agency’s enlarged role in the November election would perpetuate “one of the greatest frauds in history.” Speaking Wednesday at his daily pandemic news briefing, Trump said he would not approve $25 billion in emergency funding for the Postal Service, or $3.5 billion in supplemental funding for election resources, citing prohibitively high costs.

“They don’t have the money to do the universal mail-in voting. So therefore, they can’t do it, I guess,” Trump said. “Are they going to do it even if they don’t have the money?”

“Mafia Don” Trump: “Nice little business you got here. It’d be a shame if anything happened to it, capisce?

He repeated the claim without evidence Thursday morning in an interview on Fox Business Network with Maria Bartiromo, saying that without a “Phase IV” coronavirus relief spending bill, the Postal Service would be without the funding necessary to process the ballots.

“Now, they need that money in order to make the Post Office work, so it can take all of these millions and millions of ballots,” Trump said. He added: “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.”

Trump’s new toady Postmaster General Louis DeJoy is further sabotaging the postal service to delay the mail-in voting by “ushering in a wholesale reorganization of agency’s executive ranks, restructured operations and instituted a hiring freeze on top of other cost-cutting measures already being blamed for significant mail backups.”

And now we learn that Mail sorting equipment being “removed” from post offices, leaving mail to “pile up”: union leader:

Mail sorting equipment is being removed from U.S. Postal Service (USPS) offices amid a slew of operational changes implemented by new Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, according to the head of the Iowa Postal Workers Union.

The USPS, which underwent a controversial staff shake-up after DeJoy took over, recently advanced a proposal that would nearly triple states’ postage costs for mail-in ballots and is also reportedly planning service cuts. But Kimberly Karol, the head of the Iowa Postal Workers Union, told NPR that there have been even more changes than previously reported.

“We are beginning to see those changes and how it is impacting the mail. Mail is beginning to pile up in our offices, and we’re seeing equipment being removed,” she said on Tuesday. “So we are beginning to see the impact of those changes.”

“Curious,” exclaimed host Noel King, “I hadn’t heard about this one. Equipment being removed. What equipment?”

“The sorting equipment that we use to process mail for delivery,” said Karol, who is also a postal clerk. “In Iowa, we are losing machines . . . so that also hinders our ability to process mail in the way that we had in the past.”

* * *

Karol said DeJoy’s changes have alarmed postal workers “all across the country.”

“His policies — although they’ve only been in place for a few weeks — are now affecting the way that we do business and not allowing us to deliver every piece every day as we’ve done in the past,” she said.

She also disputed that the changes were cost-cutting measures.

“I don’t see this as cost-saving measures. I see this to undermine the public confidence in the mail service,” she said. “It’s not saving us. We are spending more time trying to implement changes, and in our office, it’s costing more overtime.”

* * *

Despite her concerns about the mail slowdown, Karol expressed optimism that the USPS was prepared to handle the expected increase in mail-in ballots.

“The Postal Service has been in place for over 200 years. We have a history of being able to process mail, and we’ve been developing and perfecting our methods for all that time,” she told NPR. “So although the postmaster general is taking actions that are starting to impact that, by having that preparation in advance of this election, we still have the system that will do that.”

But she warned that the agency’s leaders were trying to “circumvent the rules that have been set in place to safeguard the public by making changes that don’t require public comment but have the same impact as closing offices and changing delivery standards.”

“So this is a way to avoid that kind of public comment. So we are trying to make sure that the public understands that they need to make comment,” she said. “We are trying to activate people all across the country and notify the public.”

Mark Diamondstein, the President of the American Postal Workers Union, warns that the Postal Service is under attack and being sabotaged by Trump. Postal Workers Union President Warns That Trump Is Sabotaging The Post Office:

Diamondstein told MSNBC’s Ali Velshi on All In With Chris Hayes:

The justification that’s in the press is these are cost-cutting measures, but this is not the United States postal business. That’s not its name, and that’s for a reason. It is the United States Postal Service, and it’s here as a service. And, so, especially in a pandemic, the idea of cutting hours, the idea of complaining about overtime when we have had 40,000 postal workers quarantined since March.

Somebody has to fill in those hours, and those fluctuations are normally done with overtime. Here we are, as you pointed out, front line essential workers in these dangerous and challenging times proudly still binding the people of this country together, and this is a time that we’re coming under attack. We’re coming under sabotage, and we’re being undermined. It is really shameful.

As I have previously explained, this is a postal crime, a felony, and it is occurring in plain sight. 18 U.S. Code § 1703. Delay or destruction of mail or newspapers:

(a) Whoever, being a Postal Service officer or employee, unlawfully secretes, destroys, detains, delays, or opens any letter, postal card, package, bag, or mail entrusted to him or which shall come into his possession, and which was intended to be conveyed by mail, or carried or delivered by any carrier or other employee of the Postal Service, or forwarded through or delivered from any post office or station thereof established by authority of the Postmaster General or the Postal Service, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than five years, or both.

It’s past time for a U.S. Attorney or state Attorney General to step up and do something about this crime in progress. What are you waiting for? You have an admission against interest, if not a public confession to the crime.

Democrats in Congress are calling on the Postal Service to reverse the changes, saying they threatened to interrupt Americans from receiving paychecks and absentee voting. Urgent bill to end ‘deliberate sabotage’ of the Postal Service by Trump donor introduced by House Dems:

Declaring that Congress must act swiftly to “stop the Trump administration’s deliberate sabotage” of the U.S. Postal Service ahead of the November elections, House Democrats on Wednesday unveiled legislation that would reverse Postmaster General Louis DeJoy’s disruptive new policies and prevent additional changes at the agency until the end of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Sponsored by House Oversight Committee Chairwoman Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.), the Delivering for America Act (pdf) would bar USPS leadership from implementing or approving “any change to the operations or the level of service provided by the Postal Service from those in effect on January 1, 2020, that would impede prompt reliable, and efficient services.”

Specifically, the legislation would prohibit:

      • Any change in the nature of postal services which will generally affect service on a nationwide or substantially nationwide basis;
      • Any revision of service standards;
      • Any closure or consolidation any post office or reduction of facility hours;
      • Any prohibition on payments of overtime pay to Postal Service officers or employees;
      • Any change that would prevent the Postal Service from meeting its service standards or cause a decline in measurements of performance relative to those service standards;
      • Any change that would have the effect of delaying mail, allowing for the non-delivery of mail to a delivery route, or increasing the volume of undelivered mail.

“Our Postal Service should not become an instrument of partisan politics, but instead must be protected as a neutral, independent entity that focuses on one thing and one thing only—delivering the mail,” Maloney said in a statement. “Millions of people rely on the Postal Service every day to communicate, to access critical medications, and to vote.”

“At this juncture in our nation’s history, when the number of Americans voting by mail for this presidential election is expected to more than double from the last, Congress must protect the right of all eligible citizens to have their vote counted,” Maloney added. “A once-in-a-century pandemic is no time to enact changes that threaten service reliability and transparency.”

Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.), a House Oversight Committee member and co-sponsor of the new bill, tweeted that “Congress must stop the Trump administration’s deliberate sabotage to disrupt mail service in the leadup to November elections.”

The Delivering for America Act comes as DeJoy—a major Republican donor to President Donald Trump—is facing a Senate investigationand growing calls to step down over his sweeping policy changes, which have resulted in major mail backlogs nationwide and sparked concerns about the timely delivery of mail-in ballots in November.

In a statement Wednesday, Connolly said “Postmaster General DeJoy could better use his time by shelving his ‘reorganization plan’ and instead imploring Republicans and the president to provide the Postal Service the financial resources needed to ensure a smooth process of mail-in ballots for the November election.”

That’s all well and good Gerry, but a bill is not going to solve the current problem because cowardly Republican senators will not vote for it, and President Trump will veto it. This is going to require legal action.

And a reminder: the fiscal year 2020 budget ends on September 30, and Congress still has not passed the necessary appropriations bills to keep the government open and running, including funding for the USPS. The U.S. Postal Service is about to run out of money. We could be looking at another partial government shutdown if the standoff in Congress over coronavirus relief and election security funding continues.

Call your senators and members of Congress and raise holy hell over their inaction.