Trump's postmaster general testifies

By Meg Wagner, Melissa Mahtani and Mike Hayes, CNN

Updated 4:24 p.m. ET, August 24, 2020
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11:58 a.m. ET, August 24, 2020

DeJoy: "No, I will not" put sorting machines back


In a contentious back-and-forth with Democratic Rep. Stephen Lynch, Postmaster General Louis DeJoy said he will not replace sorting machines that had been removed from use.

Earlier this month, the US Postal Service unveiled plans to remove hundreds of high-volume mail-processing machines from facilities across the country — which led to some postal workers fearing they may have less capacity to process mail during election season.

DeJoy later said he'd suspend changes to Postal Service operations — but that doesn't necessarily mean machines that had been removed will be put back in use, according to an email obtained by CNN.

Today, Lynch asked bluntly about the machines. Here's the full exchange:

Lynch: "Will you put the machines back?"

DeJoy: "The rest of your accusations are actually—"

Lynch: "Will you, will you put the high-speed machines back?"

DeJoy: "No, I will not"

Lynch: "You will not?"

DeJoy: "Will not."

Lynch: "You will not? Well there you go."


1:04 p.m. ET, August 24, 2020

DeJoy pledges to uphold "sacred duty" of delivering ballots, denies sabotage allegations 

From CNN's Ellie Kaufman 

Tom Williams/Pool/AFP/Getty Images
Tom Williams/Pool/AFP/Getty Images

Postmaster General Louis DeJoy began his congressional testimony on Monday by affirming his commitment to “delivering the nation’s ballots securely and on time” this fall. 

“This sacred duty is my number one priority between now and election day,” DeJoy told the House Oversight Committee. “To be clear, we will do everything we can to handle and deliver election mail in a manner consistent with the proven processes and procedures that we have relied responsible.” 

DeJoy also denied that he directed the removal of blue postal collection boxes or the removal of mail processing equipment – on-the-ground changes that were observed in recent weeks and triggered accusations that the Trump administration was trying to sabotage USPS because of mail-in voting. 

“I did, however, suspend these practices to remove any misperceptions about our commitment to delivering the nation's election mail,” DeJoy added. “Any further assertions by the media or elected officials is furthering a false narrative to the American people.”


11:24 a.m. ET, August 24, 2020

GOP representative says she's had some "very, very inefficient" postal service — but praises DeJoy


Republican Congresswoman Virginia Foxx repeatedly praised Postmaster General Louis DeJoy for his approach to accountability while slamming Democrats for theirs.

"You know, my husband and I have experienced some very, very inefficient services on the part of the post office in the last few weeks, and I'm not going to go into those details, but I want to applaud your approach to accountability, and what we know from our colleagues on the other side of the aisle is they run away from accountability in every case in the federal government or in allied services like the post office, so let me applaud you for pushing on accountability."

She went on to praise the job he's been doing, saying, "You have the exact background and commitment that we need to make the post office work the way the post office out to work." 


12:12 p.m. ET, August 24, 2020

Committee chair threatens to subpoena DeJoy if he doesn't share documents

Tom Williams/Pool/AFP/Getty Images
Tom Williams/Pool/AFP/Getty Images

Rep. Carolyn Maloney, the chair of the House Oversight Committee, said Postmaster General Louis DeJoy can expect to be subpoenaed if he doesn't turn USPS documents over to the committee.

Maloney said that while the committee received some documents, one about performance was not included.

"This committee expects a full and complete production of all the documents we requested no later than this coming Wednesday, and if you continue to withhold information or otherwise fail to comply, you can expect a subpoena," she said.

11:54 a.m. ET, August 24, 2020

USPS board chair details how DeJoy got top job 

From Ellie Kaufman 

Tom Brenner/Pool/AP
Tom Brenner/Pool/AP

In his opening statement, Mike Duncan, chairman of the USPS Board of Governors, testified about how the board selected Louis DeJoy to serve as postmaster general. 

Duncan described a lengthy process that included two “highly-respected executive search firms.” He said the USPS board of governors reviewed more than 212 candidates and ultimately vetted 53 and interviewed 14 candidates. Duncan said that DeJoy was selected “unanimously” by the Board. 

Some background: There is increasing scrutiny over how DeJoy got the top job at USPS. A former member of the USPS board, who resigned in protest earlier this year, told lawmakers last week that Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin inserted himself into the selection process and tried to politicize the postal service. 

USPS is an independent agency of the federal government and DeJoy was appointed to lead the agency by a board of governors. But all six members of that board were appointed by President Trump. 

Duncan denied accusations that the policy changes DeJoy attempted to implement over the summer are threats to voters who are want to vote-by mail this election cycle. “Postal management is taking all steps necessary to ensure we are ready for the November elections,” he said.


11:04 a.m. ET, August 24, 2020

DeJoy explains why he thinks already-removed mail-sorting machines shouldn't be reconnected

From CNN's Kristen Holmes 


Postmaster General Louis DeJoy is addressing the issue of high-volume sorting machines at his hearing before the House Oversight Committee.  

CNN previously obtained internal documents showing a plan to remove nearly 700 of the machines before the election. DeJoy paused that plan when he suspended many other policy changes. But when he testified Friday, DeJoy said he would not reconnect the already-removed machines because they were “not needed.” 

DeJoy is now providing lawmakers with some data to back up his claims that the already-removed machines aren’t needed. 

In written testimony submitted to the committee, DeJoy says that since 2016, “overall letter mail volume has dropped by 29 percent and overall flat mail volume has dropped by 32 percent. Accordingly, letter sorting equipment during the same period was reduced by 27 percent and flat sorting equipment was reduced by 25 percent. This includes the removal of over 1000 machines.” 

DeJoy is also pointing to data showing that the machines are not necessary given the current volume of mail and the volume of mail anticipated from the election.

11:55 a.m. ET, August 24, 2020

Top USPS officials paint dire picture of Postal Service's finances

From Chris Isidore and Paul P. Murphy

Tom Brenner/Pool/Getty Images
Tom Brenner/Pool/Getty Images

In their opening statements before a House committee, Postmaster General Louis DeJoy and USPS board of governors chairman Mike Duncan said the Postal Service’s finances are in dire straits.  

Both men said the USPS was nearing $11 billion in losses for 2020.  

"Without dramatic change, there is simply no end in sight, and we face an impending liquidity crisis that threatens our ability to deliver on our mission to the American public," DeJoy said.  

But these numbers need context: CNN analysis of USPS financial records finds the losses are primarily due to a 2006 law that forces the USPS to pre-fund all retiree health care costs for the next 75 years.  

If USPS didn't have to pre-fund these benefits, its finances would be radically different.

The agency actually makes money from mail delivery, and posted nearly $2 billion in positive cash flow between January and July of this year. (These numbers have been consistent for years.) But USPS reports large net losses on its books because of the massive burden of pre-funding retiree benefits.

11:13 a.m. ET, August 24, 2020

DeJoy rejects accusations of politicizing USPS

From CNN's Kristen Holmes


At an ongoing House Oversight Committee hearing, Postmaster General Louis DeJoy is providing a detailed outline of the changes made to the Postal Service, both under his tenure and before, how he implemented his changes and why some of the changes will not be reversed ahead of the election.

He is also refuting allegations that he is doing President Trump’s bidding, telling lawmakers in his written testimony that he is “fully committed to preserving and protecting the Postal Service’s proud tradition of serving the American public in a nonpartisan fashion.” 

DeJoy is also rebutting accusations of ethical misconduct, saying in his written testimony that he worked “closely with ethics officials” and followed their guidance. There have been questions about his potential conflicts of interest because of his massive holdings in USPS contractors and competitors. 

More context: USPS is an independent agency of the federal government and DeJoy was appointed to lead the agency by a board of governors. But all six members of that board were appointed by President Trump. 


10:54 a.m. ET, August 24, 2020

DeJoy sworn in for his House testimony

Tom Brenner/Pool/AFP/Getty Images
Tom Brenner/Pool/AFP/Getty Images

Republican Rep. Mark Walker introduced Postmaster General Louis DeJoy before his testimony in the House today.

Walker used the introduction to attack Democrats, some of whom have accused DeJoy of deliberately sabotaging USPS operations through changes that have slowed mail delivery ahead of the election.

"Today, Mr. DeJoy will be viciously attacked with prepackaged questions and false accusations ... how sad is it when the cancel culture has reached the halls of Congress?" Walker asked.

"He's here today because he supported President Trump, and with this Congress, that makes you a target," the congressman added.

After the introduction, DeJoy was sworn in.