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Mail-in ballot controversy heats up as Democrats call for postmaster general to testify

Mail-in ballot controversy heats up as Democrats call for postmaster general to testify
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Democrats and Trump administration officials clashed Sunday on expanded mail-in voting and the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) on Sunday as the House Oversight Committee called for an "urgent" meeting with the postmaster general to discuss changes ahead of the presidential election.

On NBC’s “Meet the Press” Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersBiden endorses Texas Democratic House candidate Julie Oliver Ocasio-Cortez rolls out Twitch channel to urge voting Calls grow for Democrats to ramp up spending in Texas MORE (I-Vt.) blasted the Trump administration’s attacks on mail-in voting and failure to act on USPS funding.

“This, again, is not a debate about the Postal Service alone,” Sanders told host Chuck ToddCharles (Chuck) David ToddHHS secretary: Avoiding large gatherings 'a difficult message for all Western democracies' Trump bashes NBC ahead of town hall, adds it's 'a free hour on television' Chuck Todd indirectly refers to former colleague Olbermann as 'somebody from the very far left' of the media world MORE. “That's important. This is about the future of American democracy and whether people have a right to participate.”

Sanders also called the administration’s attacks on mail-in voting and the lack of funding “a deliberate effort to defund and destroy the U.S. Postal Service so that people cannot engage in mail-in ballots.”

White House chief of staff Mark MeadowsMark Randall MeadowsJudge rules to not release Russia probe documents over Trump tweets Trump and advisers considering firing FBI director after election: WaPo On The Money: Power players play chess match on COVID-19 aid | Pelosi bullish, Trump tempers optimism | Analysis: Nearly 1M have run out of jobless benefits MORE, meanwhile, denied reports that hundreds of USPS sorting machines have been removed from service, calling those reports a “political narrative.”

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

“Are you saying that sorting machines have not been taken offline and removed?” CNN’s Jake TapperJacob (Jake) Paul TapperNY Times slammed for glowing Farrakhan op-ed: 'You would think he was a gentleman' Democrats condemn Trump's rhetoric against Michigan governor as allies defend rally Illinois governor blames Trump's allies for state's wrong direction on coronavirus MORE asked.

“I’m saying that sorting machines between now and the election will not be taken offline,” Meadows replied.

When Tapper questioned him about machines that had been taken offline in recent months, Meadows responded: “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.”

On ABC’s “This Week,” Trump campaign adviser Jason Miller invoked several cases frequently cited by the administration, including the delayed results in the Democratic primary in New York’s 12th congressional district, to argue against mail-in voting.

Host George StephanopoulosGeorge Robert StephanopoulosThe Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by Goldman Sachs - Tipping point week for Trump, Biden, Congress, voters Pelosi: White House made 'unacceptable changes' to testing language during negotiations on coronavirus stimulus Infectious disease expert calls White House advisers herd immunity claims 'pseudoscience' MORE pushed back, telling Miller: “When the votes are thrown out, that shows that the system is working. It shows that votes that could have been fraudulent ... get taken out.”

“It takes a long time for states to be able to put this together safely and securely,” Miller said. “Going to rush this through is a disaster waiting to happen.”

And on “Fox News Sunday,” New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D) insisted the state has infrastructure in place to ensure all ballots are counted properly in November.

Murphy told Fox News’s Chris WallaceChristopher (Chris) WallaceBiden's debate strategy is to let Trump be Trump Biden: Muting mics at debate 'a good idea,' we need 'more limitations' Ex-GOP senator on debate commission blasts Trump's bias accusations, warns of 'incalculable damage' MORE state officials are taking steps to expand access to secure mailing sites and that all ballots would be counted on time.

"Our hope is to expand democracy, and we believe this is the right way to do it," Murphy told Wallace.

The controversy comes amid Democratic scrutiny over the appointment of Trump donor Louis DeJoyLouis DeJoyWatchdog rips operational changes at USPS Voting rights group files suit against Trump, administration officials alleging voter intimidation Postal service reversing changes that slowed mail delivery MORE as postmaster general. House Oversight Committee Chair Carolyn MaloneyCarolyn Bosher MaloneyTrump, House lawyers return to court in fight over subpoena for financial records Safeguarding US elections by sanctioning Russian sovereign debt Fears grow of voter suppression in Texas MORE (D) on Sunday called on DeJoy to testify before the committee about the effects of cost-cutting measures.

“Over the past several weeks, there have been startling new revelations about the scope and gravity of operational changes you are implementing at hundreds of postal facilities without consulting adequately with Congress, the Postal Regulatory Commission, or the Board of Governors,” she wrote.

“Your testimony is particularly urgent given the troubling influx of reports of widespread delays at postal facilities across the country — as well as President TrumpDonald John TrumpJudge rules to not release Russia probe documents over Trump tweets Trump and advisers considering firing FBI director after election: WaPo Obama to campaign for Biden in Florida MORE’s explicit admission last week that he has been blocking critical coronavirus funding for the Postal Service in order to impair mail-in voting efforts for the upcoming elections in November,” Maloney added.