A Pennsylvania postal worker who claimed in a sworn affidavit that his boss had tampered with mail-in ballots blew up his own story while being interviewed by investigators, House Democrats said.
Richard Hopkins, a 32-year-old postal worker in the swing county of Erie, “completely RECANTED his allegations of a supervisor tampering with mail-in ballots after being questioned by investigators, according to [the Inspector General],” the House Oversight Committee majority wrote in a tweet. Hopkins apparently did not explain why he signed a false affidavit.
Rob Weisenbach, the Erie postmaster Hopkins accused of tampering with late ballots to change the dates to November 3, forcefully denied doing so in a Facebook post this weekend, and described Hopkins as a disgruntled employee. “There has been awful things posted about the USPS and here is my statement,” Weisenbach wrote. “The allegations made against me and the Erie Post Office are 100% false made by an employee that was recently disciplined multiple times.”
“The Erie Post Office did not back date any ballots,” he added.
The original Hopkins whistleblower video was released by the right-wing disinformation outfit Project Veritas, which is fresh off a debunked video attempting to tie Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar to voter fraud.
Hopkins’ affidavit was later disseminated to the media by Senate Judiciary chair Lindsey Graham, who requested a Department of Justice investigation. It was under this pretext that Attorney General Bill Barr authorized prosecutors to investigate voting irregularities before the election results are certified.
Project Veritas later released a video where Hopkins claimed he had not recanted. “I’m here to say I did not recant my statements,” he said. “That did not happen.” Hopkins had raised $136,000 through a Gofundme page before it was taken down Tuesday, according to the Washington Post.
The Trump campaign shrugged off Hopkins’ alleged recanting. “He filed a very detailed affidavit, he named names,” campaign spokesperson Tim Murtaugh told Bloomberg News. “He described explicitly what it is that he experienced, and we don't know what kind of pressure he has been under since he publicly made those statements.”
A Supreme Court decision handed down in late October allowed Pennsylvania to accept mail-in ballots through November 6 as long as they were postmarked by November 3. The state ordered counties to segregate late-arriving ballots, however, in case the court revisited the issue after the election.
Erie County had 135 ballots arrive between last Wednesday and Friday, the Erie County clerk of elections told the Erie Times-News. Of those ballots, President-elect Joe Biden received 65, Trump received 60, Libertarian Jo Jorgensen received eight and there were two write-ins, he said.
Biden currently leads in Pennsylvania by more than 45,000 votes.