Thursday, 12 November 2020

Mailman who Donald Trump called 'a patriot' for claiming he heard possible election fraud told Postal Inspectors 'I didn't hear the whole story - my mind probably added the rest'

 The Pennsylvania mail carrier who lodged potential fraud allegations that exploded across the internet and earned a presidential retweet admitted during an interview with investigators said he 'didn't hear the whole story' and 'put two and two together' to make assumptions.

Mailman Richard Hopkins, the subject of a blaring Project Veritas report and GoFundMe campaign, is heard walking back an earlier affidavit piece by piece in a two-hour interview with Inspectors General from the U.S. Postal Service. 

When pressed repeatedly to whittle back his story to what he specifically knew that he heard, Hopkins' tale collapsed.

Postal carrier Richard Hopkins can be heard pulling back a series of claims that formed the foundation of his initial affidavit about potential vote fraud in Erie County, Pennsylvania

Postal carrier Richard Hopkins can be heard pulling back a series of claims that formed the foundation of his initial affidavit about potential vote fraud in Erie County, Pennsylvania

'I didn't specifically hear the whole story. I just heard a part of it. And I could have missed a lot of it.... my mind probably added the rest' he acknowledged in the recorded interview.


The admissions are contained in a full interview with two members of the postal service IG office that Project Veritas published in full – claiming that it revealed Hopkins was pressured into 'recanting' his statement, as House Democrats claim he did.

The lengthy interview reveals the IG lawyers expressing sympathy for his predicament, reading Hopkins his rights, telling him he doesn't have to be there, and giving him a smoke break – but also guiding him to craft a new statement based only on the facts he says he observed. 

Russell Strasser of the IG's office had been drilling down on what Hopkins said he 'assumed' he overheard. He said he was 'shaving away everything down to the narrowest truth.'

'My mind probably added the rest. I understand that. I understand how hearsay and listening. 

'I've been questioning it at this point,' he revealed.

Donald Trump has called the USPS whistleblower a 'brave patriot' after he denied Democrat claims that  he 'completely recanted' his voter fraud allegations during questioning by postal inspectors

Donald Trump has called the USPS whistleblower a 'brave patriot' after he denied Democrat claims that  he 'completely recanted' his voter fraud allegations during questioning by postal inspectors

Hopkins had signed an affidavit with allegations of ballot tampering and fraud and told his story to Project Veritas, a conservative group specializing in undercover stings of media organizations and left-leaning groups. But a full tape of his discussion with IG officials appears him hedging repeatedly

Hopkins had signed an affidavit with allegations of ballot tampering and fraud and told his story to Project Veritas, a conservative group specializing in undercover stings of media organizations and left-leaning groups. But a full tape of his discussion with IG officials appears him hedging repeatedly

James O'Keefe blasted out the initial claims by Hopkins, which Democrats say the mailman has recanted to investigators

James O'Keefe blasted out the initial claims by Hopkins, which Democrats say the mailman has recanted to investigators

USPS worker Richard Hopkins (pictured) from Erie, Pennsylvania, had claimed that postal workers discussed back-dating mail-in ballots and forwarding them to election officials in crucial swing state Pennsylvania

USPS worker Richard Hopkins (pictured) from Erie, Pennsylvania, had claimed that postal workers discussed back-dating mail-in ballots and forwarding them to election officials in crucial swing state Pennsylvania

Hopkins had provided a signed affidavit, which he admitted in the interview was drafted by a Project Veritas lawyer, stating that he overheard postal officials discussing what he believed was a conversation about backdating ballots that came in after Election Day so that they would be marked Nov. 3.

It became a sensational charge as Donald Trump's campaign sued Pennsylvania and the president claimed there was fraud, although he trails Joe Biden by nearly 50,000 votes there. 

Later in the interview, investigators asked Hopkins if he ever heard the word 'backdate' in reference to ballots and he said no. 

He then acknowledged that when he collected a ballot on his route Nov. 5th, he himself made a notation on the ballot himself with the date. Such unilateral actions are not part of a mail carrier's portfolio, and it is election officials who are tasked with determining which ballots are counted.

When it got down to what he specifically overheard, he said: 'Specifically what I heard was fourth ballots picked up. And then I heard them say something about the markings being on the third. One was on the fourth. That's it.'

'And that's when I poked my head out and said "What?"' he said. 

He then said he reached conclusions 'based on my assumption of what I could hear was that they were post-marking them on the third that were picked up on the fourth.'

'I didn't specifically hear the whole story. I just heard a part of it,' he said. 'And I could have missed a lot of it.'

'I've been questioning it at this point. Because it's been so long and I know it's gotten me so freaked out.'  

According to a letter on Postal Service letterhead posted by Project Veritas, Hopkins has been placed on 'off-duty/non-pay status effective November 10, 2020.' The letter said his actions 'may have placed employees and yourself as well as the reputation of the US Postal Service in harm’s way.' 

In Pennsylvania, only ballots postmarked by Election Day may be counted, although under a disputed court ruling they may be delivered up to three days after Nov. 3rd. 

In the convoluted saga, House Democrats blasted out a release after Hopkins' interview saying he 'recanted' his initial charges after the IG's office told Congress Hopkins had disavowed what he had said.

 The group then ran footage of Hopkins stating he had done no such thing.

Hopkins then told Project Veritas: 'I'm here to say I did not recant my statements. That did not happen. That is not what happened.' 

Project Veritas then sent out Hopkins' latest position on Tuesday. In one video it sent out, the conservative group claimed - without evidence - that Hopkins was 'lied to during interrogation by Feds'.

President Trump blasted out the initial claims to his millions of followers, calling Hopkins a 'brave patriot.' 

Even if Hopkins' original claim proved true, according to the Erie Times-News, only 129 mail-in ballots came into the Erie County Board of Elections that were postmarked Nov. 3 but arrived after Election Day.  

Out of those, only two were processed through the Erie facility.

In his original affidavit, Hopkins stated flatly 'I heard [a postmaster] tell a supervisor at my office that [the postmaster] was back-dating the postmarks on the ballots to make it appear as though the ballots had been collected on November 3, 2020 despite them in fact being collected on November 4 and possibly later. 

He stated that he saw how the two 'discussed how on November 4, 2020, they had back-dated the postmark on all but one of the ballots collected on November 4, 2020 to make it appear as though the ballots had instead been collected on November 3, 2020. I overheard [the postmaster] tell [the supervisor] that they “messed up yesterday” – November 4, 2020 – by accidentally postmarking one ballot as having been collected November 4, 2020 (when it had actually been collected).

But when pressed, he said he wasn't sure he heard the words 'messed up.'

Hopkins also revealed that a Project Veritas lawyer had drafted the initial affidavit, which he signed. He also got asked about a GoFundMe campaign that brought in thousands.

He said Project Veritas had counseled him to create it, but said he had set it up on his own. The IG investigator advised him not to touch the money and told him that it would be on him if any issues arose connected to the fundraising effort, which brought in more than $130,000.

The site had frozen the campaing following a report on the Hopkins saga in the Washington Post. Hopkins expressed concern about it in the interview and said he had no intention of touching the money, which he said was frozen anyway.

Hopkins agreed as the IG official conducting the interview talked about containing the storm that had developed. He said the inspector he had identified had received death threats.  

As the tape rolls, Hopkins gradually walks back his statement to something far less definitive where he acknowledges where he made assumptions about what he heard.

The mailman's story fell apart amid other setbacks for Trump's legal team, including Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani's first witness being revealed to have served time for a child sex offense.

Allegations about thousands of Nevada voters being from other states also fell apart when many were identified as coming from military families stationed outside their homes. 

'I will be calling on the Department of Justice to investigate these claims,' South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham said in a statement blasting out the original Hopkins affidavit. Attorney General Bill Barr subsequently put out a memo to U.S. attorneys telling them to investigate individual instances of fraud. President Trump has claimed the election was rigged and that he 'will win.' 

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