One of the key pieces of “evidence” that supported Donald Trump’s wild claims of electoral fraud has collapsed after a postal worker reportedly admitted to fabricating damning allegations.
Postie Richard Hopkins sparked outrage among Republicans after alleging that Pennsylvania postmaster Rob Weisenbach instructed employees to alter dates on ballots.
Mr Hopkins accused Mr Weisenbach of telling staff to backdate votes sent in after election day. Votes cast after election day would be classified as invalid.
Mr Hopkins even signed an affidavit outlining his claims about Mr Weisenbach in an act that saw him described “an American hero” by James O’Keefe, the founder of far-right publication Project Veritas.
This week however, 32-year-old Mr Hopkins admitted to postal service investigators that he made up the allegations, the Washington Post reported.
A tweet from Democrats on the House Oversight Committee said the “whistleblower completely RECANTED” late on Tuesday (local time).
President Trump, who has spent months trying to undermine the election results with unproven allegations of fraud, has pledged to go forward with a legal strategy he hopes will overturn state results that gave Joe Biden the win in Tuesday's vote.
The Trump campaign and Republicans have brought numerous lawsuits over alleged election irregularities.
Trump has also made baseless allegations that the election wasn't fair and “illegal” votes were counted, promised a flurry of legal actions and fired off all-caps tweets falsely insisting he'd “WON THIS ELECTION, BY A LOT”.
While some in his circle were nudging Trump to concede graciously, many of his Republican allies, including on Capitol Hill, were egging him on or giving him space to process his loss - at least for the time being.
“Trump has not lost,” declared South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham in an appearance on Fox News Channel's Sunday Morning Futures, rejecting the reality of the situation.
“Do not concede, Mr President. Fight hard,” he urged.
🔥BREAKING: A @USPS worker in #Pennsylvania—whose claims have been cited by top Republicans as potential evidence of widespread voting fraud—now admits he *fabricated the allegations* according to 3 people briefed on the investigation and @OversightDems.https://t.co/EXMLmUlvTM
— Dena Grayson, MD, PhD (@DrDenaGrayson) November 10, 2020
Trump is not expected to formally concede, according to people close to him, but is likely to grudgingly vacate the White House at the end of his term.
His ongoing efforts to paint the election as unfair are seen both as an effort to soothe a bruised ego and to show his loyal base of supporters that he is still fighting. That could be key to keeping them energised for what comes next.
“He intends to fight,” Trump economic adviser Larry Kudlow said as it was becoming clear that the president was headed for defeat.
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