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The Hill's Convention Report: Postmaster General grilled | Looking ahead to GOP convention | Trump campaign passes $1 billion in spending

The Hill's Convention Report: Postmaster General grilled | Looking ahead to GOP convention | Trump campaign passes $1 billion in spending
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Welcome to The Hill’s Convention Report, your daily rundown on all the latest news during the Democratic and Republican National Conventions. Did someone forward this to you? Click here to subscribe.

We’re Julia Manchester, Max Greenwood and Jonathan Easley. Here’s what we’re watching today on the campaign trail and the convention front.

LEADING THE DAY: 

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Democrats on Friday got their first shot at grilling Postmaster General Louis DeJoyLouis DeJoyJudge approves deal to expedite Georgia runoff ballots DeJoy's calendar released by Postal Service is almost entirely redacted Postal employees report backlogs across the country amid holiday shipping MORE, who has become their public enemy No. 1 in recent weeks as questions swirl around whether the Postal Service will be up to the task of dealing with a surge in mail ballots this November.

DeJoy sought to assure lawmakers at a testy hearing that he’d prioritize delivering mail ballots, as Democrats accused him of scaling back operations to sow chaos and create delays around the election.

In a statement before his testimony to the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, DeJoy said the Postal Service is “fully capable and committed to delivering the nation’s election mail securely and on time.”

This sacred duty is my No. 1 priority between now and Election Day,” he said.

DeJoy has been at the center of a political firestorm in recent weeks amid reports that he’s implemented changes that could slow the delivery of mail.

President TrumpDonald TrumpCIA chief threatened to resign over push to install Trump loyalist as deputy: report Azar in departure letter says Capitol riot threatens to 'tarnish' administration's accomplishments Justice Dept. argues Trump should get immunity from rape accuser's lawsuit MORE’s own attacks on mail-in voting, and his deep suspicion that Democrats will benefit from it, have fueled Democratic concerns that DeJoy may be working on the president’s behalf to undermine the Postal Service.

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DeJoy said he has not spoken to the president about this. He said that the Postal Service will face a net loss of more than $10 billion in 2020 and argued that the changes he implemented are designed to keep the agency afloat amid a sea of red ink. DeJoy has said he won’t implement the planned changes until next year to avoid any appearance of impropriety.

Funding for the Postal Service has emerged as a partisan fight of its own as Congress debates potential stand-alone bills and a new coronavirus relief package. The House is currently scheduled to vote Saturday on legislation to prevent any operational changes at the Postal Service that could affect mail delivery.

“I also urge Congress to enact legislation that would provide the Postal Service with financial relief to account for the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on our financial condition,” DeJoy said.

Sen. Gary PetersGary PetersTwo Senate committees vow probe of security failure during Capitol riots US government caught blindsided over sophisticated cyber hack, experts say Krebs emphasizes security of election as senators butt heads MORE (D -Mich.), the ranking member of the committee, blasted DeJoy, saying he’d received thousands of complaints about mail delivery from his constituents in battleground Michigan in recent weeks.

“Your decisions have cost Americans their health, their livelihood, and their peace of mind,” Peters said. “I believe you owe them an apology for the harm you have caused, and you owe all of us some very clear answers today.”

Republicans have accused Democrats of building a "false narrative" about the Postal Service uprooting and removing mail boxes or sorting equipment to create the appearance of election meddling.

The Postal Service has said that reported mailbox removals and machines being taken out of commission are a normal course of attrition for old equipment that has gone on for years.

Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Chairman Ron JohnsonRonald (Ron) Harold JohnsonGOP senators call for commission to investigate Capitol attack Wisconsin Democrats make ad buy calling on Johnson to resign Efforts to secure elections likely to gain ground in Democrat-controlled Congress MORE (R-Wis.) on Friday accused Democrats of trying to carry out a "character assassination" against DeJoy.

"He has already been subjected to character assassination as Democrats have put him in the crosshairs of another hyperbolic false narrative," Johnson said.

DeJoy will be back in front of lawmakers on Monday for a hearing before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.

The Hill’s Maggie Miller and Jordain Carney: Tensions flare as senators grill DeJoy.

Join The Hill at our virtual 2020 Conventions Hub — your digital headquarters for exciting events and the latest conventions news. We'll kick off each day with The Big Questions. Party leaders, pollsters and campaign veterans join our editors to discuss the political and policy issues shaping our nation. Stay tuned in for our afternoon briefings — deeper dives into the key policy areas that will shape the 2020 campaign including energy, affordable housing, and the ongoing response to COVID-19. Check out the full schedule and RSVP now to hold your spot!

A LOOK AHEAD AT THE RNC:

We still don’t know the exact schedule of next week’s Republican National Convention, but here’s what we’re expecting: 

Despite the pandemic, Trump and the RNC are reportedly set to include more in-person events than the Democratic National Convention in an effort to have the celebratory, rock star feel of a traditional convention.

Max Greenwood has this startling statistic for you: Trump’s reelection campaign and the RNC have spent more than $1 billion combined since the start of 2017.

Democrats are gearing up to hit back with a counter convention of their own own. The Democrats’ programming next week will paint Trump’s tenure in the White House as a “chaos presidency.” The Biden campaign and DNC officials told reporters in a call on Friday that Democrats will highlight a crisis that has taken place during the administration during each day of the convention, presented by surrogates including Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiDemocrats point fingers on whether Capitol rioters had inside help Pelosi suggests criminal charges for any lawmaker who helped with Capitol riot Pelosi mum on when House will send impeachment article to Senate MORE (D-Calif.), Sen. Cory BookerCory BookerNCAA tables name, image and likeness vote after DOJ warns of potential antitrust violations Warren and other senators seek investigation into Trump administration resuming federal executions Cory Booker says he has no plans to propose to Rosario Dawson this Christmas MORE (D-N.J.), Rep. Val Demmings (D-Fla.), former South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete ButtigiegPete ButtigiegOn The Money: Retail sales drop in latest sign of weakening economy | Fast-food workers strike for minimum wage | US officials raise concerns over Mexico's handling of energy permits Buttigieg confirmation hearing slated for Thursday James Murdoch predicts 'a reckoning' for media after Capitol riot MORE and Michigan Gov. Gretchen WhitmerGretchen WhitmerBiden taps Atlanta mayor for senior DNC role Legislatures boost security after insurrection, FBI warnings Minnesota governor to deploy National Guard to protect state capitol ahead of inauguration MORE.

What do Democrats have to look forward to if Biden wins?

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Sen. Bernie SandersBernie Sanders'Almost Heaven, West Virginia' — Joe Manchin and a 50-50 Senate Biden to seek minimum wage in COVID-19 proposal Former Sanders spokesperson: Progressives 'shouldn't lose sight' of struggling Americans during pandemic MORE (I-Vt.) has some thoughts on the coming progressive-centrist battles:

“The day after Biden is elected, we’re going to have a serious debate about the future of this country.” - Sanders

 

GOP scrambles to distance from QAnon

A number of high ranking Republicans are denouncing the QAnon conspiracy theory after GOP congressional candidate Marjorie Taylor Greene, who has voiced support for the theory, won her primary earlier this month. The unfounded theory claims that Trump and his allies are working to expose top-ranking Democrats, celebrities and media figures who are operating an international child sex ring. Greene has since said it does not represent her views anymore.  

  • House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy told Fox News this week that “there is no place” for the theory in the GOP

Why it matters: Republicans are concerned that any connection with theory will taint the party’s image, potentially putting vulnerable House members further at risk in their reelection bids. Trump has said he isn’t familiar with the theory, but appeared to embrace it on Wednesday when he told reporters that the theory’s followers “love our country.”

MARK YOUR CALENDARS:

We’re 3 days from the beginning of the Republican National Convention, 38 days from the first presidential debate and 73 days out from Election Day.