Trump's postmaster general testifies

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4:12 p.m. ET, August 24, 2020

Here's how DeJoy's testimony before the House played out

Postmaster General Louis DeJoy answered lawmakers' questions today during a House Oversight Committee hearing.

DeJoy — a Republican donor and Trump ally — has faced accusations that he is intentionally sabotaging Postal Service operations after he made service changes in the run up to the election.

Here are the top takeaways from today's hearing:

  • On declining USPS service: In his testimony, DeJoy acknowledged that a "deterioration in service" had occurred following changes to mail trucks taking additional trips, but he said the USPS was already seeing a bounce-back. And he argued that other changes, like the removal of mail-processing machines, were already happening before he took over in June.
  • On delivering ballots: DeJoy began his congressional testimony on Monday by affirming his commitment to “delivering the nation’s ballots securely and on time” this fall. "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," he said.
  • On the removed sorting machines: In a contentious back-and-forth with Democratic Rep. Stephen Lynch, DeJoy said he will not replace sorting machines that had been removed from use. "No, I will not," DeJoy said when asked if he'd put the machines back.
4:03 p.m. ET, August 24, 2020

The hearing just wrapped up

The House Oversight Committee hearing with Postmaster General Louis DeJoy just finished.

During the nearly six-hour hearing, DeJoy faced questions about changes to the Postal Service in the run up to the November election. Some Democrats have accused DeJoy, a Trump ally, of deliberately sabotaging USPS operations ahead of the election, which may depend on mail-in ballots.

This marked the second time in less than a week that DeJoy testified before Congress. During a Senate hearing Friday, DeJoy defended changes implemented during his tenure and argued that the Postal Service is up to the task of handling election mail delivery.

3:59 p.m. ET, August 24, 2020

USPS board chair says he was not aware of controversies involving DeJoy's ex-company

From CNN's Ellie Kaufman

In a heated exchange at a House Oversight Committee hearing, the chairman of the US Postal Service board of governors revealed that he was not aware of several controversies involving Postmaster General Louis DeJoy’s former company.

The USPS board, led by chairman Mike Duncan, was responsible for hiring DeJoy this year. A former member of the board told lawmakers last week that the hiring process was highly irregular, though Duncan testified earlier on Monday that he followed proper procedures.

Rep. Ayanna Pressley, a Democrat from Massachusetts, asked if Duncan was aware of several controversies involving DeJoy’s former company, New Breed Logistics. This included a determination from the National Labor Relations Board that New Breed took actions against unions, that there was a $1.2 million sexual harassment jury verdict against company, and that some women said they had miscarriages after being overworked at the company. (The latter was the subject of a high-profile New York Times expose in 2018.)

Duncan said the USPS board conducted a background check on DeJoy before they chose him as the next postmaster general, but Duncan was not aware of the controversies regarding New Breed Logistics.

Here's a portion of the exchange between Pressley and Duncan:

Pressley: "Mr. Duncan, were you aware when you selected Mr. DeJoy that his company, Newbury Logistics, was determined by the National Labor Relations Board to have acted with anti-union animus, yes or no?"

Duncan: "No."

Pressley: "Were you aware that the Equal Opportunity Commission won a $1.2 million lawsuit against Newbury for sexual harassment retaliation, yes or no?"

Duncan: "No."

Pressley: "Were you aware that four women working for Newbury suffered miscarriages because their company refused to accommodate their request for light duty, yes or no?"

Duncan: "No."

Pressley: "Did you make any attempt to investigate these labor and employment practices before making him the head of one of the largest and most diverse federal workforces, if not why not?"

Duncan: "Yes, we have various background checks Russell-Reynolds hired a DC firm to an additional background check on him, we worked with —"

Pressley: "Well I question the integrity of that background check if you don't have answers to these questions."

3:44 p.m. ET, August 24, 2020

DeJoy says he gives "a lot of money" to the GOP, but still keeps independence at work

From CNN's Marshall Cohen

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

At today's House Oversight Committee hearing, Postmaster General Louis DeJoy said he gives "a lot of money" to Republicans — but insisted he is still an independent postmaster general.

"I give a lot of money — this [goes] for the record — I give a lot of money to Republicans," he said.

That's when Democratic Rep. Peter Welsh asked this:

"You obviously support the Republicans, obvious — totally within your rights — and a big supporter of President Trump — totally within your right. How do you square being a major supporter of President Trump and Republican committees and other members, with the independence that's required of the postmaster general? Can you really do both?

DeJoy replied: "Absolutely, sir."

Watch:

1:57 p.m. ET, August 24, 2020

What we've learned at the DeJoy hearing so far

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

Postmaster General Louis DeJoy is testifying before the House Oversight Committee today. It's the second time in less than a week he's faced congressional questions: During a Senate hearing Friday, DeJoy defended changes implemented during his tenure and argued that the Postal Service is up to the task of handling election mail delivery.

The hearing is ongoing, but here's what's happened so far:

  • He's committed to delivering ballots on time: DeJoy began his congressional testimony on Monday by affirming his commitment to “delivering the nation’s ballots securely and on time” this fall. "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," he said.
  • Removed sorting machines won't be put 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. "No, I will not," DeJoy said when asked if he'd put the machines back.
  • He's facing a subpoena threat: Rep. Carolyn Maloney, the chair of the House Oversight Committee, said DeJoy can expect to be subpoenaed if he doesn't turn USPS documents over to the committee.

12:59 p.m. ET, August 24, 2020

DeJoy spoke to Trump campaign associates about attacks against voting-by-mail

From CNN's Ellie Kaufman 

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

During a tense exchange with Rep. Gerry Connolly, a Democrat from Virginia, Postmaster General Louis DeJoy said he he “put word around” to people associated with the Trump campaign about public attacks on voting-by-mail, which DeJoy said were “not helpful” —  though he declined to identify any of the people he spoke to.  

“I have not spoken to Trump campaign leadership in that regard,” DeJoy continued. “I have spoken to people that are friends of mine that are associated with the campaign, yes.”

This is the first time DeJoy acknowledged that he had some communication with people in Trump’s orbit about the continued attacks against voting-by-mail, many of which come from the President directly. DeJoy testified to the Senate last week that he had no direct contact with the Trump campaign during his tenure as postmaster general. 

 Watch:

12:51 p.m. ET, August 24, 2020

Meanwhile, Trump criticizes mail-in voting as he accepts the GOP nomination

President Donald Trump speaks at the Republican National Committee convention site, on Monday, August 24, in Charlotte.
President Donald Trump speaks at the Republican National Committee convention site, on Monday, August 24, in Charlotte. Evan Vucci/AP

President Trump, who was just formally nominated as the Republican presidential candidate, is speaking from North Carolina.

In his speech, Trump criticized mail-in voting, claiming ballots were being sent to people who didn't request them.

The speech comes as his Postmaster General, Louis DeJoy, is testifying before Congress. Democrats have accused DeJoy of deliberately sabotaging USPS operations through changes that have slowed mail delivery ahead of the election.

"We caught them doing some really bad things in 2016. Let's see what happens. We caught them doing some really bad things. We have to be careful because they're trying it again with this whole 80 million mail-in ballots they're working on. They're sending them out to people who didn't ask for them. They just get them. And it's not fair," Trump said.

The President continued:

"We have to be very, very careful. And this time they're trying to do it with the whole post office scam. They'll blame it on the post office."

WATCH HERE:

12:40 p.m. ET, August 24, 2020

Democrat asks Dejoy if his "back-up plan" is a Trump pardon

From CNN's Marshall Cohen

Pool
Pool

In a tense exchange, Democratic Rep. Jim Cooper asked Postmaster General Louis DeJoy if his "back-up" plan is to be pardoned by President Trump.

DeJoy — a Trump ally and a Republican donor — has not been convicted of, or even charged with, any crime. Democrats have accused him of deliberately sabotaging USPS operations through changes that have slowed mail delivery ahead of the election.

In the exchange, Cooper alluded to Roger Stone. In July, Trump commuted the prison sentence of Stone, who was convicted of crimes that included lying to Congress in part, prosecutors said, to protect the President.

This was the exchange between Rep. Cooper and DeJoy:

Cooper: "Will you give this committee your communications with Mark Meadows, Secretary Mnuchin, with the President—"

DeJoy: "Go ahead and do that."

Cooper: "Mr. Dejoy, is your back-up plan to be pardoned like Roger Stone?"

DeJoy: "Oh, golly. Pitiful."

Cooper: "You have two seconds to answer the question."

DeJoy: "I have no comment on that. It's not worth it."

SEE THE EXCHANGE HERE:

11:53 a.m. ET, August 24, 2020

Democrat slams DeJoy: "You have ended a once proud tradition"

Pool
Pool

In an impassioned speech, Democratic Rep. Stephen Lynch slammed Postmaster General Louis DeJoy for bringing Postal Service to a halt.

He outlined examples throughout history of how postal workers stepped up to ensure the mail would be delivered on time despite wars and anthrax threats, and he blamed DeJoy for ending all of that with just a few weeks on the job.

"During the first World War and the Spanish flu, influenza of 1918, through the Great Depression, millions of people out of work and a thousand bank failures, the mail was delivered on time. Even during the second World War, with the threat of Nazi U-boats, international mail was delivered on time. Just so happens I was elected on 9/11 — the day of the terrorist attacks on our nation — a god awful day. Some people forget in the days after 9/11, we had direct anthrax attacks on the United States Postal Service. We lost two brave postal workers down at the Brentwood facility here in D.C. from anthrax inhalation, but for the good of the country, the postal unions continued to send their members into the post office to do their job to keep the country running."

The Massachusetts congressman drew a stark comparison with history saying, "So two weeks ago, after you had been postmaster for just a few weeks, that all changed."

"In the middle of a pandemic that's killed is 170,000 Americans and on the eve of a national election, at a time when the CDC is advising people not to gather and limit outside contact, the Postal Service started to remove 671 high-speed mail sorting machines across the country. You stopped the APWU from sorting the mail and stopped national letter carriers and mail handlers from working overtime to deliver the mail and for the first time in 240 years in our history of the United States Postal Service, you sent out a letter embarrassingly in July, to 46 states that said the post office can't guarantee that we can deliver the mail in time for the elections in November, and we have reports from across the country as you acknowledge service has been delayed and the mail is piling up. You have ended a once proud tradition."

Watch: