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Meadows denies reports that postal sorting machines were decommissioned

White House chief of staff Mark MeadowsMark MeadowsBoehner finally calls it as he sees it Stephen Miller launching group to challenge Democrats' policies through lawsuits A year with the coronavirus: How we got here 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 DeJoyGaetz, House Republicans introduce bill to defund Postal Service covert operations program The Hill's Morning Report - Biden to country: 'Turning peril into possibility' Senate panel advances Biden's Postal Service nominees 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 TapperCNN's Jake Tapper questions giving some GOP leaders airtime Cheney slams Trump on 'big lie' over election Biden adviser on schools reopening in the fall: 'We can't look in a crystal ball' 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 TrumpVeteran accused in alleged border wall scheme faces new charges Arizona Republicans to brush off DOJ concern about election audit FEC drops investigation into Trump hush money payments 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.