Defense Secretary Mark Esper has refused to rule out deploying troops during the 2020 election, raising alarm among some Democratic lawmakers, who urge him to definitively declare the military won’t interfere in the electoral process. (Photo: Staff Sgt. Nicole Meija/Joint Base Andrews/cc)
Democratic lawmakers on Tuesday called on Defense Secretary Mark Esper to definitively declare that U.S. troops won’t be used to influence the 2020 election after the Pentagon chief was evasive in written answers to questions about the role of the military in a peaceful transition of power.
Politicoreports Reps. Elissa Slotkin (D-Mich.) and Mikie Sherrill (D-N.J.) raised alarm Tuesday after Esper would not explicitly rule out deploying troops to polling places on Election Day. Continue reading →
In an internal announcement, the Justice Department created an exception to a decadeslong policy meant to prevent prosecutors from taking overt investigative steps that might affect the outcome of the vote.
Department of Justice Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington, D.C. Photo: Victoria Pickering/flickr/CC
ProPublica is a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative newsroom. Sign up for The Big Story newsletter to receive stories like this one in your inbox.
The Department of Justice has weakened its long-standing prohibition against interfering in elections, according to two department officials.
Avoiding election interference is the overarching principle of DOJ policy on voting-related crimes. In place since at least 1980, the policy generally bars prosecutors not only from making any announcement about ongoing investigations close to an election but also from taking public steps — such as an arrest or a raid — before a vote is finalized because the publicity could tip the balance of a race. Continue reading →
A postal worker gives a thumbs-up to demonstrators protesting the Trump administration’s sabotage of the U.S. Postal Service on August 22, 2020 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo: Rich Fury/Getty Images for MoveOn)
Angered by DeJoy’s efforts to overhaul longstanding USPS policies designed to ensure mail is delivered on time, postal workers across the nation have been slow-walking and outright defying instructions from leadership to leave mail behind, dismantle sorting machines, and cut back on overtime in an effort to limit the damage to a service that millions rely on to vote, receive life-saving medications, and run small businesses. Continue reading →
Citing Trump’s signals that he may try to remain in office regardless of the election results, the group tells lawmakers, “to be clear, you no longer have the option to stand idly by and wait for things to ‘play out.'”
Judge Amy Coney Barrett during her Circuit Court confirmation hearing. Screenshot: C-SPAN
Ahead of reporting Friday that President Donald Trump has selected Judge Amy Coney Barrett to replace the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Patriotic Millionaires launched a “Knives Out on SCOTUS” campaign pressuring Senate Democrats to fight back against “morally-bankrupt Republican hypocrites” in the chamber who are trying to “hand a far-right ideologue a lifetime appointment on the Supreme Court just days before the most divisive and consequential election in American history.”
The group’s open letter, which Americans are urged to sign, comes after a week of mobilizing in response to Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConell (R-Ky.) vowing after Ginsburg’s death that they were committed to nominating and voting on her replacement before November 3. The letter demands that Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and members of the Democratic Caucus “use every possible procedural tool” at their disposal “to disrupt and delay this public fraud.” Continue reading →
As Attorney General William Barr faced renewed calls for his impeachment after claiming not to know whether it’s illegal for a U.S. voter to cast two ballots in a federal election, prosecutors and journalists have caught the nation’s top law enforcement officer in a “massive falsehood” about a mail-in ballot fraud case in Texas.
In his interview with CNN earlier this week, Barr told Wolf Blitzer that prosecutors had indicted a man who collected 1,700 blank ballots and used them to cast a specific vote. Continue reading →
Robert Duncan, former chairman of the Republican National Commiteee, was appointed to the U.S. Postal Service Board of Governors by President Donald Trump in 2017. (Image: Rep. Carolyn Maloney/Screengrab of Republican National Convention)
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s deep and longstanding ties to U.S. Postal Service Board of Governors chairman Robert Duncan are coming under heightened scrutiny after corporate paperwork filed Monday listed Duncan as a director of a major GOP super PAC closely aligned with the Kentucky Republican.
The new filing (pdf) with Virginia’s State Corporation Commission—an independent regulatory agency that oversees political action committees—names Duncan as one of three directors of the Senate Leadership Fund, a massive super PAC that has spent nearly $18 million in support of Senate Republicans thus far in the 2020 election cycle. Continue reading →
The Trump campaign and the Republican National Committee filed lawsuits recently against New Jersey and Nevada to prevent expansive vote-by-mail efforts in those states.
These high-profile lawsuits make the same argument that Republicans have made in many lesser-known lawsuits that were filed around the country during the primary season. In all of these lawsuits, Republicans argue that voting by mail perpetuates fraud – an argument President Donald Trump makes daily, on various media platforms. Continue reading →
President Donald Trump answers a reporter’s question during a news conference Wednesday, Aug. 12, 2020. Photo: White House/flickr
President Donald Trump proclaimed Wednesday that the U.S. Postal Service doesn’t have the capacity to handle an unprecedented increase in mail-in ballots because it lacks funds that his administration is blocking, remarks that were immediately viewed as an open admission of election sabotage by a president who has previously called USPS “a joke.”
During his daily Covid-19 briefing Wednesday evening, Trump dismissed Democratic congressional leaders’ demands for $3.5 billion in election assistance for states and $25 billion for USPS as “ridiculous” and vowed to continue blocking the funds. While USPS leadership insists it has “ample capacity” to meet election needs, postal workers have warned that without emergency funding, the agency could struggle to deliver mail-in ballots on time in November. Continue reading →
The head of the Iowa Postal Workers Union alleged Tuesday that mail sorting machines are “being removed” from Post Offices in her state due to new policies imposed by Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, a major GOP donor to President Donald Trump whose operational changes have resulted in dramatic mail slowdowns across the nation.
Asked by NPR‘s Noel King whether she has felt the impact of DeJoy’s changes, Iowa Postal Workers Union President Kimberly Karol—a 30-year Postal Service veteran—answered in the affirmative, saying “mail is beginning to pile up in our offices, and we’re seeing equipment being removed.” Continue reading →