Last year the Senate Intelligence Committee released ” the first section of its report on 2016 Russian interference, which found that hackers likely tried to access election systems in all 50 states, confirming widespread fears that America’s election system may not be secure from attack.” Senate Intelligence report shows “extensive” Russia 2016 election interference:
Luckily, the panel found “no evidence that any votes were changed or that any voting machines were manipulated” across the entirety of the voting infrastructure. What’s more, it looks like Russian actors didn’t even try to manipulate the vote on election day in 2016, though the report notes that “the Committee and IC’s [intelligence community’s] insight into this is limited.”
So the report apparently found Russia’s infiltration was seemingly more a fact-finding mission than anything else, not really an attempt to directly alter the vote count. That may sound reassuring, but the worry is that Moscow could potentially do more damage in the future.
In other words, Russian intelligence has had four years to learn from what they accessed in American election systems in 2016, and may now have the capability to alter voter data or even votes in 2020.
Hacking election systems is complex and may be detected and thwarted. The U.S. Cyber Command operation disrupted Internet access of Russian troll factory on day of 2018 midterms. Luckily for Putin, he has his Kremlin candidate in the White House, so why not just pull an inside job? The easiest and simplest way to manipulate the vote is to manipulate mail-in ballots by attacking the U.S. Postal Service, which is exactly what Putin’s puppet is doing.
Donald Trump’s new toady Postmaster General, Louis DeJoy, offered a gloomy picture of the 630,000-employee agency Friday in his first public remarks since taking the top job in June. Huffington Post reports, Postal Service Reshuffles Leadership As Democrats Push For Answers On Delays (excerpt):
Without an intervention from Congress, the agency faces an impending cash flow crisis, he said. The Postal Service is seeking an infusion of at least $10 billion to cover operating losses as well as regulatory changes that would undo a congressional requirement that the agency pre-fund billions of dollars in retiree health benefits.
The agency is doing its part, said DeJoy, a Republican fundraiser and former supply chain executive who took command of the agency June 15. DeJoy, 63, of North Carolina, is a major donor to President Donald Trump and the Republican Party. He is the first postmaster general in nearly two decades who is not a career postal employee.
In his first month on the job, DeJoy said, he directed the agency to vigorously “focus on the ingrained inefficiencies in our operations,″ including by applying strict limits on overtime.
“By running our operations on time and on schedule, and by not incurring unnecessary overtime or other costs, we will enhance our ability to be sustainable and … continue to provide high-quality, affordable service,″ DeJoy said.
While not acknowledging widespread complaints by members of Congress about delivery delays nationwide, DeJoy said the agency will “aggressively monitor and quickly address service issues.″
DeJoy’s remarks came as lawmakers from both parties called on the Postal Service to immediately reverse operational changes that are causing delays in deliveries across the country just as big volume increases are expected for mail-in election voting.
The Washington Post adds that “Louis DeJoy acknowledged in a meeting with top Democrats that he instituted new policies restricting overtime and extra mail processing trips, moves that the agency previously downplayed and that postal workers say have caused mail backlogs, according to a letter released Thursday by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (N.Y.). Top Democrats say postmaster general acknowledged new policies that workers say are delaying mail:
Pelosi and Schumer met with Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows on Wednesday to discuss reports of those delays, which have reverberated through this year’s primaries by slowing the delivery of absentee ballots.
Internal Postal Service documents obtained by The Washington Post show that postal employees have been barred from working overtime hours and instructed to leave mail behind if it is processed late.
The Postal Service had previously played down the changes both to lawmakers and the press … But Pelosi and Schumer wrote Friday that the postmaster general, a former logistics executive and major Republican donor, acknowledged that the Postal Service had implemented the procedures. They called on him to immediately rescind the directives.
“At this meeting, you confirmed that, contrary to certain prior denials and statements minimizing these changes, the Postal Service recently instituted operational changes shortly after you assumed the position of Postmaster General,” the letter states. “These changes include reductions of overtime availability, restrictions on extra mail transportation trips, testing of new mail sorting and delivery policies at hundreds of Post Offices, and the reduction of the number and use of processing equipment at mail processing plants.”
It continues: “We believe these changes, made during the middle of a once-in-a-century pandemic, now threaten the timely delivery of mail — including medicines for seniors, paychecks for workers, and absentee ballots for voters — that is essential to millions of Americans.”
And how did DeJoy respond? Huffington Post continues:
Later Friday, DeJoy released another memo detailing changes that reshuffle dozens of officials on his executive leadership team. The former chief operating officer, David Williams, was moved to lead logistics and processing operations, while Kevin McAdams, vice president of delivery and retail operations, was removed from leadership.
DeJoy said the changes — which also include a management hiring freeze — would improve efficiency and “align functions based on core business operations.″
Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., chairwoman of the House Oversight Committee, said DeJoy should not be instituting such major changes during “the middle of a once-in-a-century pandemic with a national election around the corner.″ Maloney, who has called DeJoy to testify before her committee next month, demanded he ”halt these changes now.”
DeJoy ran into similar resistance at his closed-door meeting Wednesday with Schumer and Pelosi. Schumer called it “a heated discussion” and said Democrats told DeJoy that “elections are sacred.” They urged him not to impose cutbacks “at a time when all ballots count,″ Schumer said.
In separate letters, two Montana Republicans, Sen. Steve Daines and Rep. Greg Gianforte, also urged the Postal Service to reverse the July directive, which eliminates overtime for hundreds of thousands of postal workers and mandates that mail be kept until the next day if distribution centers are running late.
And 84 House members — including four Republicans — signed yet another letter blasting the changes and urging an immediate reversal. “It is vital that the Postal Service does not reduce mail delivery hours, which could harm rural communities, seniors, small businesses and millions of Americans who rely on the mail for critical letters and packages,″ the House members wrote.
The flurry of letters came as the top Democrat on a Senate panel that oversees the Postal Service launched an investigation into the operational changes. Michigan Sen. Gary Peters, the top Democrat on the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, said DeJoy has failed to provide answers about the service delays, despite repeated requests.
Democrats have pushed for $10 billion for the Postal Service in talks with Republicans on a huge COVID-19 response bill. The figure is down from a $25 billion plan in a House-passed coronavirus measure. Key Republicans whose rural constituents are especially reliant on the post office support the idea.
Trump, a vocal critic of the Postal Service, contended Wednesday that “the Post Office doesn’t have enough time” to handle a significant increase in mail-in ballots. “I mean you’re talking about millions of votes. .. It’s a catastrophe waiting to happen.″
One that Donald Trump is doing his damndest to make happen. Trump is trying to manipulate the vote by manipulating mail-in ballots. He is openly trying to “rig” the election in his favor by disenfranchising millions of American voters during a pandemic. This is a crime. It is also fundamentally anti-democratic and un-American. But then what would one expect from Putin’s puppet?
Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren and other top Democrats on Friday sent a letter to the United States Postal Service inspector general asking her to investigate recent operational changes within the agency. Warren and other top Democrats ask USPS watchdog to investigate practices:
The Democrats write that they are concerned about “modifications” to USPS “staffing and policies” recently put in place by new Postmaster General Louis DeJoy.
The group, which includes Sens. Gary Peters of Michigan, Tom Carper of Delaware, Ron Wyden of Oregon, Tina Smith of Minnesota and House Oversight Committee Chairwoman Rep. Carolyn Maloney of New York, ask the inspector general to specifically look into the rationale for the operational changes, their potential impact on vote-by-mail in the 2020 election and potential financial conflicts of interest.
The letter claims the changes at USPS have led to “slower and less reliable” mail delivery which “threatens the well-being of millions of Americans that rely on the Postal Service for delivery of Social Security checks, prescriptions, and everyday mail of all kinds.”
Congressional Democrats also warns this could pose a threat to “mail-in ballots and the 2020 general election,” which will likely rely heavily on mail-in and absentee ballot votes because of the coronavirus pandemic, the letter states.
“Given the ongoing concerns about the adverse impacts of Trump Administration policies on the quality and efficiency of the Postal Service, we ask that you conduct an audit of all operational changes put in place by Mr. DeJoy and other Trump Administration officials in 2020,” the letter states.
Just a reminder, Trump has fired at least five inspectors general since June, and a couple of more have resigned. It is not clear who remains, and who is not a hand-picked Trump loyalist.