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Pennsylvania postal worker recants ballot tampering allegations: officials

A Pennsylvania postal worker who garnered Republican attention over allegations that officials tampered with mail-in ballots in the swing state has recanted his claims.

The House Oversight Committee announced Tuesday that Richard Hopkins went back on his assertion that a postmaster in Erie, Pa., told workers to backdate ballots mailed after Election Day after he was questioned by a U.S. Postal Service inspector general. Hopkins had signed a sworn affidavit attesting to his claims. 

Hopkins’s claims had been widely touted by Republicans and were at the heart of a letter from Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamGraham: 'I accept the results of the election' Juan Williams: The GOP's losing bet on Trump Pro-Trump lawyer Lin Wood causes headache for GOP in key S.C. race MORE (R-S.C.) to the Justice Department urging it to open a federal probe. Attorney General William BarrBill BarrGraham: 'I accept the results of the election' Senate Democrats urge Garland not to fight court order to release Trump obstruction memo Lawyer for former officer charged in George Floyd death alleges witness coercion MORE, in a controversial move, subsequently gave the green light for prosecutors to investigate credible allegations of voting irregularities and fraud.

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Democrats on the Oversight panel said investigators from the U.S. Postal Service had told the committee that Hopkins had signed a sworn affidavit with allegations of ballot tampering and fraud before recanting.

“#USPS IG investigators informed Committee staff today that they interviewed Hopkins on Friday, but that Hopkins RECANTED HIS ALLEGATIONS yesterday and did not explain why he signed a false affidavit,” Democrats on the panel tweeted. 

Hopkins’s initial claims had also been refuted by Erie Postmaster Rob Weisenbach, who called the allegations “100% false” in a Facebook post.

“The Erie Post Office did not back date any ballots,” he said.

The Postal Service declined to comment when asked about Hopkins’s retraction and his employment status.