Fireworks flew at a House Oversight Committee hearing on Monday, as controversial U.S. Postmaster General Louis DeJoy was questioned by Congressional Democrats on operational changes at the U.S. Postal Service that have resulted in mail delivery delays and sparked concern about the reliability of mail-in voting come the November election.
Democratic Rep. Jim Cooper, of Tennessee, accused DeJoy of “effectively pushing election day” back to sometime in October for millions of Americans with his cost-cutting measures, asked him if he was “above the law,” then drew audible gasps from the House floor when he asked his final question:
“Mr. DeJoy, is your backup plan to be pardoned like Roger Stone?”
You can watch the tense moment here, via Vox reporter Aaron Rupar.
Congressional Democrats Are Concerned DeJoy is Deliberately Hobbling the Postal Service to Cast Doubt on the Reliability of Voting by Mail & to Help President Trump’s Re-Election Chances
DeJoy, who assumed the role of Postmaster General in early June, was a Trump campaign megadonor and former national fundraising chair for the Republican National Committee, Heavy reported. DeJoy undertook a series of cost-cutting measures in order to, according to him, stop the postal service from bleeding billions of dollars annually, the New York Times reported.
Between a national order to turn off or remove around 671 mail sorting machines at local plants — according to CNN’s reporting — as well as limits on overtime and extra delivery trips, Democrats pressed DeJoy Monday on his motives for undertaking measures that have affected on-time delivery of mail.
House Judiciary Committee members even wrote the FBI director last week asking for an investigation into the changes, suggesting they may be intended to make mail-in balloting more difficult, helping Trump’s re-election.
Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, of Florida, accused DeJoy of propagating a “culture of misinformation” at the postal service, and Rep. John Sarbanes, of Maryland, told DeJoy, “I don’t trust you” at Monday’s hearing.
Cooper Suggested DeJoy’s Conduct Could Be Criminal, Then Asked Him If He Expected a Pardon from President Trump
Cooper cited local Tennessee reporting showing that USPS trucks being forced to leave on their route, on schedule, even when “completely empty” when he questioned DeJoy.
The empty trucks running their routes, as well as significant delays, are “completely due to your so-called ‘reforms,'” Cooper told Dejoy.
“That’s not efficiency — that’s insanity,” he added.
Cooper then asked DeJoy if he was aware that it is a felony for an individual to delay the delivery of mail, punishable by up to five years in prison. “But somehow you can delay all the mail and get away with it?” he asked.
DeJoy eventually responded that he didn’t agree with the premises of Cooper’s questions. “I’m in full compliance with all ethical requirements that I have,” he said.
As Cooper’s time wrapped, Cooper said, “Mr. DeJoy, is your backup plan to be pardoned like Roger Stone?”
There were audible gasps and groans from the floor, and DeJoy shook his head and chuckles, eventually saying, “I have no comment.”