The internet was abuzz the past few days as stories abounded that a United States Postal Service worker in the highly coveted Pennsylvania battleground state blew the whistle on alleged ballot fraud within the department but then apparently recanted the admission. Did he? Just as with any news (or the election results), it comes down to deciding what story is the most believable. Here’s what we know.
Richard Hopkins, 32, initially claimed that his supervisors planned to backdate mail-in ballots that were mailed too late to be counted in the election under Pennsylvania law. Hopkins, who lives in Erie, confessed the alleged tampering to Project Veritas. Republicans were quick to add that bit of evidence into the growing court cases against certain states and their election procedures. On Nov. 7, Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC), who was re-elected to his seat, asked the Justice Department to investigate it.
Democrats have argued that President Donald Trump should just concede and hand over the Oval Office to Joe Biden, so when word spread that the USPS worker had recanted his allegation, they were giddy with the chance to say, “I told you so.” On Nov. 10, the House Committee on Oversight and Reform tweeted: “BREAKING NEWS: Erie, Pa. #USPS whistleblower completely RECANTED his allegations of a supervisor tampering with mail-in ballots after being questioned by investigators, according to IG.” In another tweet, the committee continued with the following:
“Here are the facts: Richard Hopkins is a USPS employee in Erie, Pa. He signed a sworn affidavit with allegations of ballot tampering/fraud and went public through Project Veritas. USPS IG began investigating last week.”
“#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.”
News media rushed to print the update, but that’s not the end of it. No, we’re only about halfway through this twisting, turning story. Numerous media outlets went to press, suggesting the whistleblower had recanted. But Hopkins was firm in his denial. “It says that I, uh, fabricated the allegations of ballot tampering. I’m here to say that I do not recant my statements,” he said in a video.
According to Project Veritas’ James O’Keefe, Hopkins was interrogated for about four hours by federal agents and was “coerced.”
RECORDING: Federal agents “coerce” USPS whistleblower Hopkins to water down story. Hopkins doubles down…
Agent Strasser: “I am trying to twist you a little bit”
“I am scaring you here”…” we have Senators involved…DOJ involved…reason they called me is to try to harness.” pic.twitter.com/tK2JPu6Wqm
— James O'Keefe (@JamesOKeefeIII) November 11, 2020
Hopkins, a Marine combat veteran, said the grilling by the feds was harder than what he endured in Afghanistan. And the final icing on the cake: The postal worker was placed on off-duty status, which means non-paid. The letter informing Hopkins of this said his whistleblowing actions “may have placed employees and yourself as well as the reputation of the United States Postal Service in harm’s way.” He will have to remain off work until the completion of an investigation.
More articles have come out which profess that Hopkins recanted assertions he had made in his earlier affidavit and use the two-hour recording (made by Hopkins himself) of an interview with IG agents to back this story. However, the recording does not appear to show that he denied his initial claims, rather that he agreed with the agents involved that the language should be changed to reflect that what he stated was his “logical assumption” based on what he had heard.
Is Hopkins a “brave patriot” as Trump called him for whistleblowing, or is this, as the left thinks, another attempt to call mail-in voting fraudulent?
Read more from Kelli Ballard.