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Meadows denies reports that postal sorting machines were decommissioned

White House chief of staff Mark MeadowsMark Randall MeadowsThe Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump holds his last turkey pardon ceremony Overnight Defense: Pentagon set for tighter virus restrictions as top officials tests positive | Military sees 11th COVID-19 death | House Democrats back Senate language on Confederate base names Trump administration revives talk of action on birthright citizenship MORE on Sunday denied reports that several U.S. Postal Service (USPS) letter sorting machines were decommissioned after orders from the postmaster general.

Meadows told CNN’s “State of the Union” that reports about hundreds of postal service sorting machines being taken out of service are a “political narrative” and “not based on fact.”

NBC News reported on Friday that an internal document showed that Postmaster General Louis DeJoyLouis DeJoyJudge orders Postal Service to sweep facilities twice a day for any ballots that can be delivered on time Brent Budowsky: Democracy in America is on trial Postal Service misses court-ordered deadline for unsent mail ballots MORE is decommissioning 671 of USPS’s letter sorting machines across the U.S. 

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“There's no sorting machines that are going offline between now and the election,” Meadows said. “That’s something that my Democrat friends are trying to do to stoke fear out there. That’s not happening.”

Meadows also called on House Democrats to return to D.C. to negotiate Postal Service funding along with enhanced unemployment benefits, stimulus checks and small-business reform, adding that the president will “sign that.”

CNN’s Jake TapperJacob (Jake) Paul TapperJake Tapper jokes he's retained Giuliani to look into fraud in 'Sexiest Man' election Brennan takes final shot at Trump: 'I leave his fate to our judicial system, his infamy to history, & his legacy to a trash heap' Biden transition adviser: Legal action for ascertainment of win 'isn't our preference' MORE pushed back on the chief of staff, saying, “Are you saying that sorting machines have not been taken offline and removed?”

“I’m saying that sorting machines between now and the election will not be taken offline,” Meadows replied, prompting Tapper to ask about the “ones that have been taken offline in the last couple of months.”

“Why were these sorting machines taken offline?” Tapper asked.

Meadows answered, “Get your producer to share where exactly those sorting machines were taken offline. Let them whisper in your ear because what I’m telling you is you’re picking up on a narrative that’s not based on facts.”

“A sorting machine to handle 100 million ballots, it’s like a gnat on an elephant’s back,” Meadows added. “It's not going to matter with 8.6 billion pieces of mail going through the Postal Service every year.”

Later in the interview, Tapper noted that a union president told CNN that the Postal Service this year shut down four machines in Kansas City, Mo., two machines in Springfield, Mo. and one machine in Wichita, Kan.

Meadows asserted that all sorting machines not part of an “already scheduled reallocation” will stay in place and that the decommissioning is not “a new initiative by this postmaster general.”

Mail-in ballots have emerged as a key area of contention ahead of the November election, with President TrumpDonald John TrumpUSAID administrator tests positive for COVID-19 Kamala Harris, Stacey Abrams among nominees for Time magazine's 2020 Person of the Year DOJ appeals ruling preventing it from replacing Trump in E. Jean Carroll defamation lawsuit MORE and his allies asserting they would lead to widespread fraud. Experts, however, say those claims are not warranted.

This report was updated at 10:33 a.m.