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States huddling on Postal Service lawsuit

A group of state attorneys general are reportedly discussing their legal options in an effort to prevent the Trump administration from implementing operational changes at the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) in the months leading up to the 2020 elections.

Attorneys general from Virginia, Pennsylvania, Minnesota, Massachusetts, Washington and North Carolina are among the Democratic state officials discussing a lawsuit against the administration over the series of recent cost-cutting moves made at the agency, several officials told The Washington Post

A lawsuit, which may zero in on operational changes and funding lapses, could be announced as soon as this week, the officials told the newspaper. 

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An adviser to California Attorney General Xavier BecerraXavier BecerraCDC can't regulate cruises: judge Sanders 'delighted' DeSantis asked White House to import Canadian prescription drugs Feehery: It's for the children MORE told The Hill his office was also involved in the discussions and that the group is "prepared to challenge the Trump Administration's illegal action."

The talks come as Democrats raise increasing alarm about delays in delivery service around the country and whether recent USPS decisions could harm mail-in voting, which is expected to play a more pivotal role in this year's presidential election because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Uproar escalated last week after President TrumpDonald TrumpMaria Bartiromo defends reporting: 'Keep trashing me, I'll keep telling the truth' The Memo: The center strikes back Republicans eye Nashville crack-up to gain House seat MORE said that he opposed Democrats' push for $25 billion in coronavirus relief for the USPS because it would aid mail-in voting. 

Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiMaria Bartiromo defends reporting: 'Keep trashing me, I'll keep telling the truth' Democratic clamor grows for select committee on Jan. 6 attack GOP increasingly balks at calling Jan. 6 an insurrection MORE (D-Calif.) on Sunday called on House lawmakers to return from August recess early this week to vote on legislation prohibiting the USPS from making changes to operations that were in place at the start of year. The House Oversight and Reform Committee also on Sunday scheduled an emergency hearing later this month to examine the slate of operational and organization changes. 

House Oversight and Reform Committee Chairwoman Carolyn MaloneyCarolyn MaloneyHow ERA is good for the economy Wray suggests limits on FBI social media tracking a 'lesson learned' after Jan. 6 Trump, allies pressured DOJ to back election claims, documents show MORE (D-N.Y.) invited Postmaster General Louis DeJoyLouis DeJoyFBI investigating political fundraising of former employees of Postmaster General DeJoy Postal Service raises stamps to 58 cents as part of restructuring plan Lawmakers request investigation into Postal Service's covert operations program MORE and Robert Duncan, the chairman of the USPS board of governors, to testify before the panel during an Aug. 24 hearing. 

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DeJoy, a top Republican donor who was appointed to his post in May, has come under scrutiny from Democrats and state officials over the decisions he's made since joining the USPS. Since he moved into the job in June, the USPS has reduced overtime and adjusted delivery policies in an effort to cut costs.

The Postal Service is also said to be in the process of removing more than 670 high-speed mail-sorting machines across the nation, according to the Post, which has led to fears about how equipped post offices are for a rise in mail-in voting. 

The Postal Service has already warned election officials in 46 states of scenarios in which mail-in ballots do not arrive in time to be counted due to "inconsistencies" with delivery service and state deadlines. 

Several attorneys general have publicly signaled that they are considering recourse through the courts. 

"I am reviewing all legal options to protect this election," North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein (D) said in a tweet Saturday, noting that the USPS warned his state about ballot delays. 

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Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey (D) told The Boston Globe that officials were discussing "legal action to remedy what the Trump administration has done and to prevent them from further interfering with the operations of the Postal Service."

Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring (D) said in a tweet Sunday he would be exploring legal options to stop an "assault on Democracy." He also praised Democrats in Congress for scheduling an emergency hearing, saying, "DeJoy and the entire Trump Administration must answer for exactly what's going on."

Trump said during a news conference over the weekend that DeJoy “is a fantastic man” who is attempting to "make the Post Office great again.” He also suggested he'd be open to meeting Democrats' requests for USPS funding but said party leaders would need to make concessions on other fronts. 

White House chief of staff Mark MeadowsMark MeadowsHead of firms that pushed 'Italygate' theory falsely claimed VA mansion was her home: report The Hill's Morning Report - Dems to go-it-alone on infrastructure as bipartisan plan falters Trump, allies pressured DOJ to back election claims, documents show MORE also addressed reports of letter-sorting machines being decommissioned, saying the machines would not be taken offline between now and the election.