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GOP chairman accuses Democrats of 'character assassination' against postmaster general

Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Chairman Ron JohnsonRonald (Ron) Harold JohnsonHillicon Valley: House targets tech giants with antitrust bills | Oversight chair presses JBS over payment to hackers | Trump spokesman to join tech company | YouTube suspends GOP senator YouTube suspends Ron Johnson for 7 days GOP senators introduce bill to make Iran deal subject to Senate approval MORE (R-Wis.) on Friday accused Democrats of using a "false narrative" to carry out a "character assassination" of 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.

"He has already been subjected to character assassination as Democrats have put him in the crosshairs of another hyperbolic false narrative," Johnson said, just minutes after a hearing to discuss DeJoy's moves as the postmaster general started.

DeJoy has come under fierce bipartisan criticism in recent weeks as mail delays and changes being made to the Postal Service raised concerns that the post office would not be able to handle the expected uptick in mail-in ballots expected in November due to the coronavirus pandemic.

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DeJoy has since announced that he would delay changes until after the election to avoid the appearance of trying to interfere. 

But Johnson focused his fire not on DeJoy, whom he praised for trying to reduce the Postal Service's costs, but on Democrats, whom he accused of "cynically" trying to create a "false political narrative." 

"According to Democrats, the postmaster is trying to sabotage the postal system to disenfranchise voters in the upcoming election," Johnson said. 

Johnson's remarks are a fiery start to what is likely to be a heated hearing, where DeJoy is testifying before the first of two congressional committees.

And the tensions were almost immediately on display when Sen. Gary PetersGary PetersSenior Biden cyber nominees sail through Senate hearing Colonial Pipeline may use recovered ransomware attack funds to boost cybersecurity OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Biden ends infrastructure talks with key Republican | Colonial Pipeline CEO grilled over ransomware attack | Texas gov signs bills to improve power grid after winter storm MORE (D-Mich.) countered Johnson in his opening statement, telling DeJoy that "the Postal Service has always delivered, and Mr. DeJoy, I don’t think you have, you have not delivered in this brief tenure so far.”