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Donald J. Trump Administration Scandals, Corruption and Cover-Ups Page 1

The Trump Administration will go down as the worse, most corrupt, comprised and dishonest administration in American history. Donald J. Trump has corrupted most if not all federal agencies to do his bidding and not the bidding of the American people. Donald J. Trump has corrupted the white house, the DOJ, the state department and other government departments and agencies to protect and defend Donald J. Trump. Instead of putting America and the constitution first, they are putting Donald J. Trump first. Any government employee who puts Donald J. Trump before America and the constitution is not patriot. The oaths they have taking are to America and the constitution not to any individual. Any government employee who puts Donald J. Trump above America and the constitution is neither protecting nor defending America and the constitution. Moreover, they have broken the oath they have sworn to America and the constitution. This page is dedicated to tracking that corruption.

Donald J. Trump has committed abuse of power, high crimes and misdemeanors this page is dedicated to tracking the impeachment inquiry of Donald J. Trump. more...

Donald J. Trump has been impeached by the house. Moscow Mitch and GOP Senators will make a mockery of our Republic to protect Donald J. Trump

Donald J. Trump used the powers of the presidency to bully Ukraine into digging up damaging information on a political rival, Democrat Joe Biden. more...

William (Bill) Barr has become Donald J. Trump's new Roy Cohn. Bill Barr is a Trump flunky doing whatever Trump wants him to do to protect Donald J. Trump not the constitution or the American people. Bill Barr oath is to the constitution and America not to Donald J. Trump. Bill Barr job is to protect the constitution and America not to Donald J. Trump. Bill Barr is not doing his job by protecting Donald J. Trump instead constitution and America. Bill Barr has corrupted the DOJ and has violated his oath of office. William Barr is most the corrupt attorney general in the history of the United States of America. William Barr oath of office is to America not to Donald J. Trump, William Barr should go to jail for his crimes against America.

There may be no one more crooked or corrupt than Donald J. Trump. Trump is using taxpayer money to prop up his properties and making a profit at the expense of the American taxpayer. Trump is greedy con man who does not care about America or the American people, but he does want their money. Trump only cares about himself and how much money he can put in his pockets. He does not care where the money comes from the American taxpayer or foreign money he just wants money. Now we know why he refused to divest, Trump wanted to use the power of the presidency to put money in his pockets. Below you can find some examples of how crooked and corrupt Trump is using taxpayer dollars to prop up his properties and accepting foreign governments spending at Trump properties wishing to gain favor with him. more...  

After testimony from a CDC official revealed requests to delete email, top House Democrat seeks to interview CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield.
By Heidi Przybyla and Monica Alba

WASHINGTON — The chairman of the House select subcommittee on the coronavirus pandemic is demanding more information from top officials in the administration after a career employee at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention testified about a political appointee's efforts to "alter or rescind" information considered damaging to President Donald Trump.

In a letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar and CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield, Rep. James Clyburn, D-S.C., writes that the testimony raises "serious concern about what may be deliberate efforts by the Trump Administration to conceal and destroy evidence that senior political appointees interfered with career officials’ response to the coronavirus crisis" at the CDC.

The letter reveals that on Monday, Charlotte Kent, chief of the Scientific Publications Branch and editor-in-chief of the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, stated in closed-door testimony that she had been instructed to destroy an email and that she understood the order came from Redfield.

In the Aug. 8 internal email to Kent and other health officials, previously reported by Politico, Paul Alexander demanded the CDC insert new language in a previously published scientific report on coronavirus risks to children. more...

The instruction was revealed during an investigation into the Trump administration’s political interference at the public health agency.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Robert Redfield instructed staff to delete an email from a Trump political appointee seeking control over the agency’s scientific reports on the pandemic, a senior CDC official told congressional investigators this week.

Redfield’s apparent instruction was revealed in a Monday closed-door interview with the House subcommittee probing the White House's coronavirus response, which includes the Trump administration’s interference at the federal public health agency. It came following an Aug. 8 email sent by Paul Alexander, who was then the scientific adviser to Health and Human Services spokesperson Michael Caputo, aiming to water down the CDC’s famed Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Reports to align with President Donald Trump’s efforts to downplay the virus.

"I was instructed to delete the email," MMWR editor Charlotte Kent told investigators. Kent, who was on vacation when Alexander sent the email, said that she was informed of the request by a colleague who filled in for her, and that she understood the request to be from Redfield. Kent said that she never saw the email herself. "I went to look for it after I had been told to delete it, and it was already gone," she told investigators on Monday.

Rep. Jim Clyburn, who chairs the House Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis, on Thursday raised concern the episode may be among "deliberate efforts by the Trump Administration to conceal and destroy evidence" of political meddling in the pandemic response. In a letter to Redfield and HHS Secretary Alex Azar, he said that instructing staff to delete documents is unethical and possibly a violation of federal record-keeping requirements, according to a copy shared with POLITICO. more...

By John Bowden

Federal prosecutors were notified by the inspector general (IG) of the Department of Veterans' Affairs this year about a possible criminal violation committed by Secretary Robert Wilkie related to alleged efforts to discredit a sexual assault victim. The Washington Post reported Wednesday that while charges were never filed because prosecutors believed that not enough evidence could be found to convict Wilkie, the secretary was nevertheless referred for possible criminal prosecution by the inspector general over allegations that he attempted to publicly disparage the credibility of Navy veteran Andrea Goldstein, a policy adviser to Rep. Mark Takano (D-Calif.), after she reported being groped by an unidentified man at a VA facility.

The referral was a result of Inspector General Michael Missal's investigation, launched in February, into claims raised by Takano that Wilkie had potentially interfered in the investigation into Goldstein's assault and lied to IG officials during their own investigation. He was also accused of directing a public affairs official at the VA to spread the idea to reporters that Goldstein had possibly made up her attack. more...

*** Trump is once again using our tax dollars for his reelection campaign. ***

By David Nakamura and Paul Sonne

In the final days of the 2020 election season, President Trump has featured his White House press secretary as a star at his campaign rallies, where she has triumphantly joined him onstage. Trump’s daughter Ivanka, a senior White House adviser, has stumped for him and on Saturday posted a stylized photo with uniformed law enforcement officers in Wisconsin, a key battleground.

His top aides, including Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and national security adviser Robert O’Brien, have found pressing official business in a number of swing states, traveling there on taxpayer money. And Trump is considering shifting his election night viewing party from the Trump International Hotel to the White House — a move that could help him skirt the local D.C. government’s coronavirus restrictions while also overriding long-standing norms from both political parties to refrain from overt campaigning at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. more...

Trump also failed to say how the government plans to find the missing parents of 545 children it stole.
By Bess Levin

The third and final presidential debate gave Donald Trump and Joe Biden the opportunity to make their final pitch to the American people before the 2020 election. For the Democratic nominee, that meant driving home the point that he believes in science, that he’ll take the COVID-19 pandemic seriously, that climate change is real, and that systemic racism must be dealt with. For Trump, it meant making it clear that in addition to being a science-denying, QAnon-promoting dimwit, he’s also an actual monster who thinks separating small children from their parents, in some cases permanently, is absolutely fine.

Asked by moderated Kristen Welker about the news that parents of 545 children separated at the border—60 of whom are under the age of five—cannot be located, Trump defended the policy and gave no explanation for how the government plans to find these people and reunite their families. “Children are brought here by coyotes and lots of bad people, cartels, and they’re brought here and they used to use them to get into our country,” Trump said, which is objectively false, as they are brought here by their parents, which is why it’s called the family separation policy. “We now have as strong a border as we’ve ever had. We’re over 400 miles of brand new wall. You see the numbers and we let people in but they have to come in legally.” more...

Ed Pilkington

Three years after Donald Trump ordered a crackdown on undocumented migrants crossing into the US, lawyers are still struggling to find the parents of 545 children separated from them under the “zero-tolerance” policy, according to the American Civil Liberties Union. In a court filing, the ACLU said that about two-thirds of the parents had been deported back to the country of origin in Central America, leaving their separated children behind. In the rush to carry out Trump’s orders, the locations of the parents were not recorded and three years later they still cannot be found.

The zero-tolerance policy was announced in April 2018. It was later revealed that the administration had begun family separation the previous year under a secret pilot program. In total, 1,030 children were removed from their parents by the US government under that pilot scheme, of whom 485 children have had their parents found under a scheme imposed by federal judges. The ACLU and a team of lawyers have been tasked by the courts with finding all the parents. more...

Jesse Lee and Will Ragland

In President Donald Trump's final debate with former Vice President Joe Biden, he tried to conjure up one of his core arguments from 2016: that he is an outsider, while Biden is a "corrupt politician." The argument rested on conspiracy theories about Biden's family that were barely comprehensible. But after almost four years of Trump's presidency, we don't need elaborate fever dreams to know that he has become the ultimate corrupt Washington politician.

Trump promised to "drain the swamp" in 2016 and rid the system of lobbyist and big money influence. Yet his administration hired more than 280 ex-lobbyists, filling one out of every 14 political appointments, in its first three years, and Trump has appointed at least 10 ex-lobbyists to his Cabinet—double the amount Obama did in two terms. more...

Sinéad Baker

US spies and diplomats are accusing the Trump administration of refusing to properly investigate mysterious illnesses that have affected officials in Cuba, China, and Russia, and some are suggesting a cover-up, The New York Times reported on Monday. In 2016, US and Canadian diplomats in Cuba started hearing strange sounds and reporting symptoms like nerve damage and headaches. Doctors said they were caused by mild traumatic brain injuries.

In 2018, several US officials in Guangzhou, China, also said they heard mysterious sounds and had similar symptoms. They were diagnosed with brain injuries. The Times reported on Monday that some senior CIA officers who visited foreign stations, including in Moscow, experienced similar symptoms but that the agency is not convinced an attack took place. more...

Democrats had requested the GAO probe earlier this month, citing reports of political appointees seeking to steer the science agencies' policies and communications.

The government's independent watchdog will investigate whether Trump administration officials improperly interfered with the coronavirus response at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration, Senate Democrats announced on Monday. The Democrats demanded the probe just over a week ago, citing reports from POLITICO and other outlets that detailed how political appointees sought to steer the science agencies' policies and communications to match with President Donald Trump's efforts to minimize the pandemic.

The Government Accountability Office will "review whether the CDC and FDA’s scientific integrity and communications policies have been violated and whether those policies are being implemented as intended to assure scientific integrity," according to a GAO letter released by Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) on Monday. A GAO official confirmed to POLITICO that an audit would begin as soon as possible. However, the agency cautioned in its letter to Warren that it would not be able to begin its probe for about three months.

Warren, as well as Sens. Gary Peters (D-Mich.) and Patty Murray (D-Wash.), who is the ranking member of the Senate's health committee, formally requested the GAO probe on Oct. 8. In their request, the senators cited POLITICO's report that administration officials sought to interfere with the CDC's flagship Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Reports in order to align with Trump's more optimistic message about the pandemic. Other incidents cited include pressure on CDC to loosen its guidelines on re-opening schools and Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar overruling FDA officials on coronavirus testing rules. more...

The report is the fourth in a Times series.
ByAllison Pecorin,Benjamin Siegel, andWill Steakin

The New York Times has released a report, the fourth in its series, based on President Donald Trump's federal tax returns, illustrating how the paper says the president turned "his own hotels and resorts into the Beltway's new back rooms, where public and private business mix and special interests reign." Trump attended 34 political fundraisers at his hotels and resorts that brought in $3 million in revenue, the Times reported.

The New York Times has released a report, the fourth in its series, based on President Donald Trump's federal tax returns, illustrating how the paper says the president turned "his own hotels and resorts into the Beltway's new back rooms, where public and private business mix and special interests reign." Trump attended 34 political fundraisers at his hotels and resorts that brought in $3 million in revenue, the Times reported. more...

By Justine Coleman

A New York Times analysis of tax records showed that more than 200 companies, special-interest groups and foreign governments have funneled millions of dollars to President Trump’s properties while reaping benefits from the president and his administration. Nearly a nearly a quarter of the entities have not been previously reported. Sixty patrons who promoted specific interests to the Trump administration spent almost $12 million on expenses associated with the Trump Organization during the first two years of Trump’s presidency. The Times reported nearly all of these customers saw their interests move forward.

In interviews with almost 250 business executives, club members, lobbyists, Trump property employees and current administration officials, sources detailed to the Times how Trump conducted business and interacted with customers who were seeking help from the administration. The newspaper also used Trump’s tax return data, lobbying disclosures, Freedom of Information Act requests and other public records to construct a database of groups, companies and governments that had business before the administration and spent money at Trump properties.

The Trump Organization’s customers included foreign politicians, Florida barons, a Chinese billionaire, a Serbian prince, clean-energy advocates, petroleum industry leaders, small-government advocates and contractors. The newspaper noted that some of the president’s customers did not see their interests fully fulfilled but noted “whether they won or lost, Mr. Trump benefited financially.” more...

*** Trump is the swap. ***

A businessman-president transplanted favor-seeking in Washington to his family’s hotels and resorts — and earned millions as a gatekeeper to his own administration.
By Nicholas Confessore, Karen Yourish, Steve Eder, Ben Protess, Maggie Haberman, Grace Ashford, Michael LaForgia, Kenneth P. Vogel, Michael Rothfeld and Larry Buchanan

It was springtime at President Trump’s Mar-a-Lago club, and the favor-seekers were swarming. In a gold-adorned ballroom filled with Republican donors, an Indian-born industrialist from Illinois pressed Mr. Trump to tweet about easing immigration rules for highly skilled workers and their children. “He gave a million dollars,” the president told his guests approvingly, according to a recording of the April 2018 event.

Later that month, in the club’s dining room, the president wandered over to one of its newer members, an Australian cardboard magnate who had brought along a reporter to flaunt his access. Mr. Trump thanked him for taking out a newspaper ad hailing his role in the construction of an Ohio paper mill and box factory, whose grand opening the president would attend.

And in early March, a Tennessee real estate developer who had donated lavishly to the inauguration, and wanted billions in loans from the new administration, met the president at the club and asked him for help. Mr. Trump waved over his personal lawyer, Michael D. Cohen. “Get it done,” the president said, describing the developer as “a very important guy,” Mr. Cohen recalled in an interview. Campaigning for president as a Washington outsider, Mr. Trump electrified rallies with his vows to “drain the swamp.” more...

Matthew Brown USA TODAY

During his 2016 campaign and throughout his time in office, President Donald Trump has repeatedly made promises to "drain the swamp." The phrase signaled to many a desire to change Washington's widely maligned political culture. In office, however, Trump has reportedly done just the opposite, according to a recent New York Times investigation into the federal taxes across the Trump organization.

Here are some of the most notable revelations from the investigation, which found over 200 companies, lobbying groups and foreign governments did business with, and benefitted from, work with Trump's businesses.  Judd Deere, a White House spokesman, told the Times in response to their reporting that Trump remained out of the loop on the Trump Organization's daily operations. Eric and Don. Jr remained in charge of the family business, he said. more...

By Marshall Cohen

Washington (CNN) While election officials across the country try to prepare Americans for the chance of a prolonged vote-counting process this year, President Donald Trump and his allies have drawn a line in the sand and say they want to see a winner declared on election night. As a result, Trump and his allies are setting unrealistic expectations, and undermining warnings from bipartisan state and local election officials and experts that a slower vote-count doesn't always indicate a problem.

Relying on an inaccurate and misleading interpretation of how US elections are conducted, White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said last Wednesday that the Trump administration wants to see a presidential winner projected on election night this November. "What we want election night to look like is a system that's fair, a situation where we know who the President of the United States is on election night. That's how the system is supposed to work. And that's ultimately what we're looking for and what we're hoping for," McEnany said in a Fox News interview, where she criticized Democrats for expanding access to mail-in voting.

Facts First: McEnany is completely wrong when she says "the system is supposed to" produce a clear winner on election night. That's a modern tradition in US politics, and it's what many expect when watching the results. But it's not required by law and it's not what the system is designed to do. In recent months, Trump has repeatedly questioned the legitimacy of the election, refused to say if he'll accept the results and spread false information and conspiracy theories about mail-in voting. He has a long history of rejecting election results and levying baseless accusations of widespread fraud when he sees election results that he doesn't like. He and his team have also attempted to suggest that any delay in the announcement of results is somehow improper, and that, despite Covid, 2020 Election Night should look and feel like any other election -- even though the pandemic has drastically transformed how people vote and how states count those ballots. McEnany's implication that a clear winner be determined on Election Night is rules- or law-based is part of that effort, one that experts say is not grounded in any reality.  More...

By Nick Valencia and Kristen Holmes, CNN

(CNN) Trump-appointed communications officials at the US Department of Health and Human Services pushed to change language to weekly science reports released by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention so as not to undermine President Donald Trump's political message, according to a federal health official. Amid tension between the administration and the CDC, former Trump campaign official turned chief HHS spokesman Michael Caputo and his team had demanded to see reports out of the CDC before they are released, a senior administration official said. Officials within HHS had defended the demand, saying that CDC fell under the agency's umbrella and that all communications and public documents needed to be cleared at the top.

A federal official told CNN that in addition to reviewing reports, HHS political appointee Paul Alexander has regularly added his input -- often interpreted by CDC officials as political in nature -- to weekly scientific reports intended to track the ongoing coronavirus pandemic response. The development marks the latest example of political interference by administration appointees at the nation's health agencies. Politico first reported about the pressure being put on the CDC regarding these reports.

The source said some federal health officials at the CDC believe the interference to be an effort to change communications by the CDC's scientists so as not to contradict the President. Since the beginning of the pandemic, Trump has repeatedly downplayed the significance of the virus, sometimes contradicting his own White House task force doctors. In a statement to CNN, Caputo defended the actions and praised Alexander. More...

Martin Pengelly in New York

A former Trump campaign official now spokesman for the US health department sought to change key reports on the coronavirus pandemic, in some cases “openly complaining” that they “would undermine the president’s optimistic messages about the outbreak”, according to internal emails seen by Politico. The official, Michael Caputo, told the website he was attempting to stymie “ulterior deep state motives in the bowels” of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or CDC.

The news comes after reports that a whistleblower at the Department of Homeland Security said he was told to stop making Donald Trump “look bad”, via reports on Russian election interference. It also comes as a new book by Bob Woodward details the president’s reasoning behind optimistic messaging about the coronavirus outbreak. “I wanted to always play it down,” Trump told Woodward in March, more than a month after telling him the virus was “deadly stuff”. “I still like playing it down, because I don’t want to create a panic.” More... *** Trump claims he did not want to start a panic about the coronavirus while he creates a panic with attacks about the protest. ***

Charles Davis and Sarah Al-Arshani

Trump administration officials have sought to water down reports from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Politico reported Friday night, with one political appointee accusing career scientists of trying to undermine the president's campaign to reopen schools. "CDC to me appears to be writing hit pieces on the administration," Dr. Paul Alexander, a scientific advisor to agency spokesperson Michael Caputo, wrote in an Aug. 8 email to CDC Director Robert Redfield. Alexander, who was appointed this spring by Caputo, a former Trump campaign official, accused scientists of seeking to "hurt the president," according to the email obtained by Politico.

Caputo and his communications staff have worked to delay CDC reports that contradict President Donald Trump's rhetoric. One publication was held back for about a month, according to Politico, for recommending against the use of hydroxychloroquine, a malaria drug touted by the White House as a potential cure for COVID-19. The reports, written by career scientists, are known as the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Reports, and according to Politico, are used to "inform doctors, researchers, and the general public about how Covid-19 is spreading and who is at risk." Jennifer Kates, of the Kaiser Family Foundation's global health work, who has relied on past reports, told Political they are "the go-to place for the public health community to get information that's scientifically vetted." More...

New York Daily News
By Michael McAuliff and Chris Sommerfeldt

The Trump administration acknowledged Friday to stripping millions of dollars from an FDNY fund that foots healthcare bills for 9/11 survivors and promised to try to put an end to the heartless practice. The administration’s about-face came after the Daily News exclusively reported Thursday that the Treasury Department has over the past four years siphoned nearly $4 million from the FDNY World Trade Center Health Program, which helps cover medical services for firefighters, EMTs and paramedics still suffering from 9/11-related illnesses.

The Treasury Department explained that it conducts offsets through the Treasury Offset Program which matches the name and taxpayer identification number, or “TIN” for outgoing payments against its debt records. If there is a match, an offset is applied as requires by law. Some payees – such as New York City – use a single TIN for many or their subdivisions, which can result in the payment for one subdivision being subject to offset for a debt owned by another. However, Dr. David Prezant, the FDNY’s chief medical officer who oversees the 9/11 program, told The News earlier this week that he’s been asking the Treasury Department and the city for years about the quiet rerouting of cash and that no one has ever given him an answer. More...

By Elizabeth Crisp

"I wanted to always play (coronavirus) down. I still like playing it down, because I don't want to create a panic," Donald Trump admitted to journalist Bob Woodward in a March 19 interview that was taped. Despite that admission, revealed Wednesday along with other excerpts and tapes from Woodward's 18 interviews with the president since December, the White House claims Trump never downplayed the disease. "The president never downplayed the virus," White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany told reporters Wednesday. Referencing a stack of detailed notes and timelines, McEnany set out to refute the damning admissions contained in Woodward's forthcoming book, Rage.

"The president has never lied to the American public on Covid," she said. According to Woodward's book and recorded conversations made public Wednesday, Trump knew that the virus was highly-contagious and deadly—even before the United States had reported a single Covid-19-related death. "This is deadly stuff," Trump told Woodward on February 7. Three days later at a campaign rally in New Hampshire, Trump told his supporters, "I think it's going to all work out fine," and suggested that it would "go away" by April. McEnany described Trump's efforts as trying to keep Americans calm. "He makes clear he doesn't want to see chaos," she said. "This president does what good leaders do." More...

By Justine Coleman

The U.S. Postal Service has made millions of dollars in payments to Postmaster General Louis DeJoy's former company in recent weeks, The New York Times reported Wednesday. A spokesman for the company, XPO Logistics, pointed out to The Hill that the payments were part of a contract signed last December, before DeJoy was named postmaster general in June, but the records will likely increase questions surrounding changes DeJoy has made to the organization.

A public records request from the Times determined that the Postal Service has paid XPO and its subsidiaries about $14 million in the past 10 weeks. The Postal Service had paid $3.4 million during the same period in 2019 and $4.7 million during the same period in 2018. Since 2013, the Postal Service has compensated DeJoy’s former company and its subsidies between $33.7 million to $45.2 million each year for managing transportation and providing support during peak times, records show.

The postmaster general continues to have a stake in XPO worth between $30 million and $75 million and was given $1.86 million in rent last year through a leasing agreement that he made while still at the company, according to the Times. Several Democrats have criticized DeJoy for his ongoing financial ties to the company, where he served as the chief executive of the supply chain business and was a board member until 2018.  

Sam Gringlas

Even before the Republican National Convention began, government ethics experts warned that hosting campaign events from the White House South Lawn and the Rose Garden could violate federal ethics law. But just in the convention's first two days, Trump has gone even further — wielding the powers of his office and the federal government to promote his reelection campaign.

As part of last night's prime-time convention programming, Trump granted a presidential pardon from the White House. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo appeared from Jerusalem, where he was on official state business, to make a campaign speech with the Old City as backdrop. And acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf performed a naturalization ceremony on television as Trump looked on.

The Hatch Act prohibits federal employees from engaging in most political activity inside federal buildings or while on duty. Though the president and vice president are exempt from the civil provisions of the Hatch Act, federal employees like Pompeo, Wolf and any executive branch employees who helped stage the events, are not.Ethics watchdogs harshly criticized Trump's merging of official and campaign acts during the Tuesday night telecast.

"The Hatch Act was the wall standing between the government's might and candidates. Tonight a candidate tore down that wall and wielded power for his own campaign," tweeted Walter Shaub, the former head of the U.S. Office of Special Counsel (no relation to former special counsel Robert Mueller's probe) that oversees high-level ethics issues inside the executive branch. Shaub left the office in 2017 after clashing with the Trump administration over the president's failure to divest from his businesses.

CNN Expansion NYC 2017 PH: JOHN NOWAK Paul Murphy
By Paul P. Murphy and Marshall Cohen, CNN

Washington (CNN)During his testimony in front of the House Oversight Committee on Monday, USPS Postmaster General Louis DeJoy denied that he was responsible for cutting overtime pay across the US Postal Service. "I did not direct the cutback on hours at any of our postal offices, and finally I did not direct the elimination or any cutback in overtime," DeJoy said in his opening statement to lawmakers, adding, "I did, however, suspend these practices to remove any misperceptions about our commitment to delivering the nation's election mail." Facts First: Though he may have suspended them, Dejoy's effort to declaim his role in the restrictions is a highly misleading attempt to draw a narrow distinction. A July 10 internal memo directed to all USPS employees did not explicitly state that overtime was ending. But it did create specific conditions that, union officials tells CNN, directly led to a significant majority of overtime opportunities being eliminated and prevented.  

CNN obtained the July 10 memo from federal court filings in a lawsuit filed by a group of Democratic candidates in New York federal court against DeJoy and the USPS. While the memo does not bear DeJoy's signature, or mention his name, it's unclear how it could have been implemented without his knowledge or approval. As postmaster general, DeJoy is the chief executive over the entire USPS. Mail carriers are now required to return to their base on time, even if they have not finished their route -- leading to the drops in overtime that union officials say have occurred. As explained by an August 21 statement by the USPS, the July 10 memo also included the mandate that "extra trips" would be "authorized or accepted" and that carriers must "return on time." Responding to DeJoy's comments on Monday, American Postal Workers Union President Mark Dimondstein told CNN that DeJoy's policy changes were responsible for the mail slowdowns . "Regardless of the back and forth in today's hearing, it's an indisputable fact mail postal customers have witnessed a degrading and slowing of mail service since Postmaster General Louis DeJoy instituted changes in mid-July," Dimondstein said. "This slowdown is directly due to changes in the transportation of mail and an overall reduction in work hours."

"If it looks like a cover-up, sounds like a cover-up, and smells like a cover-up, it's a cover-up."
Jake Johnson

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer on Wednesday accused the Trump White House of covering up the role Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin played in recruiting Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, a major Republican donor with no prior experience working for the U.S. Postal Service. In a letter to Robert Duncan, chairman of the USPS Board of Governors, Schumer wrote that as part of his investigation into DeJoy's selection and unanimous appointment in May, his office "learned of the role Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin had with the Postal Board of Governors, including through meetings with individual governors as well as phone calls with groups of governors, which has not been previously disclosed by the board."

"This administration has repeatedly pointed to the role of [executive search firm] Russell Reynolds to defend the selection of a Republican mega-donor with no prior postal experience as postmaster general while at the same time blocking the ability of Congress to obtain briefings from the firm and concealing the role of Secretary Mnuchin and the White House in its search process," the New York Democrat wrote. Schumer demanded that the Board of Governors—which is completely controlled by Trump appointees—immediately release Russell Reynolds from any nondisclosure agreement barring the firm from providing details about its postmaster general search and provide a full "explanation of the role of President Trump and Secretary Mnuchin in the search process for a new postmaster and the selection of Mr. DeJoy."

At President Trump’s behest, the Treasury Secretary sought out appointees who would restructure the United States Postal Service.
By Kenneth P. Vogel, Jessica Silver-Greenberg, Alan Rappeport and Hailey Fuchs

WASHINGTON — In early February, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin invited two Republican members of the Postal Service’s board of governors to his office to update him on a matter in which he had taken a particular interest — the search for a new postmaster general. Mr. Mnuchin had made clear before the meeting that he wanted the governors to find someone who would push through the kind of cost-cutting and price increases that President Trump had publicly called for and that Treasury had recommended in a December 2018 report as a way to stem years of multibillion-dollar losses.

It was an unusual meeting at an unusual moment. Since 1970, the Postal Service had been an independent agency, walled off from political influence. The postmaster general is not appointed by the president and is not a cabinet member. Instead, the postal chief is picked by a board of governors, with seats reserved for members of both parties, who are nominated by the president and confirmed by the Senate for seven-year terms. Now, not only was the Trump administration, through Mr. Mnuchin, involving itself in the process for selecting the next postmaster general, but the two Democratic governors who were then serving on the board were not invited to the Treasury meeting. Since the meeting did not include a quorum of board members, it was not subject to sunshine laws that apply to official board meetings and there is no formal Postal Service record or minutes of what was discussed.

By Laura J. Nelson, Maya Lau

Six weeks ago, U.S. Postal Service workers in the high desert town of Tehachapi, Calif., began to notice crates of mail sitting in the post office in the early morning that should have been shipped out for delivery the night before. At a mail processing facility in Santa Clarita in July, workers discovered that their automated sorting machines had been disabled and padlocked. And inside a massive mail-sorting facility in South Los Angeles, workers fell so far behind processing packages that by early August, gnats and rodents were swarming around containers of rotted fruit and meat, and baby chicks were dead inside their boxes. Accounts of conditions from employees at California mail facilities provide a glimpse of what some say are the consequences of widespread cutbacks in staffing and equipment recently imposed by the postal service. Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, responding to a national outcry over service disruptions and fears of voter disenfranchisement, said this week he would suspend many planned changes until after the election. But postal workers say significant damage has already been done, including the removal of mail-sorting machines, which may not be replaced.

While the long-term effect of the cuts on U.S. mail service is unclear, the evidence of serious disruptions appears to be mounting, according to postal employees interviewed by The Times as well as customers, lawmakers and union leaders. Until this week, the postal service was implementing a sweeping plan to remove 671 mail-sorting machines, or about 10% of its total, from facilities across the U.S. — including 76 in California. Officials also slashed overtime pay and imposed a new policy that could delay outgoing mail. The cuts have had a ripple effect in California, snarling the operation of one of the biggest mail-processing facilities in the country and delaying the delivery of prescriptions, rent payments and unemployment checks. Some people have complained of going days without receiving any mail at all.

At least five high-speed mail-sorting machines have been removed from a processing plant in Sacramento, said Omar Gonzalez, the Western regional coordinator for the American Postal Workers Union. Additionally, two of the machines have been removed in Santa Ana and six in San Diego, Gonzalez said. Processing plants serve more than 1,000 California post offices, some of which deliver to far-flung, rural addresses that could be faced with high delivery costs if serviced by private mail carriers. Inside one sprawling facility at Florence and Central avenues in Los Angeles, which serves 92 L.A.-area post offices, seven delivery bar code sorters were removed in June, leaving three, Gonzalez said. Each of those machines, which would handle mail-in ballots, can process up to 35,000 pieces of mail per hour. “A lot of the machinery has already been gutted. Some of it has been dismantled and relocated or trashed,” Gonzalez said. “Although we welcome the news of the suspension of these changes, it’s just that — a suspension. The attacks and undermining of our operations will resume, maybe at the worst possible time, in December, our peak season.”

By Marshall Cohen and Kristen Holmes, CNN

(CNN) Embattled Postmaster General Louis DeJoy reversed course Tuesday, saying that all changes being made to the Postal Service would be suspended until after the November 3 election, just as 20 Democratic states announced plans to file federal lawsuits. DeJoy said that some of the deferred decisions mean that retail hours at post offices will not change, mail processing equipment and blue collection boxes will remain in place and no mail processing facilities will be closed. At least 20 Democratic attorneys general across the country are launching a multi-pronged legal effort to push back on the recent changes that disrupted mail delivery across the country and triggered accusations that Trump and his appointees are trying to undermine mail-in voting.

The Democratic attorneys general plan to argue that DeJoy is illegally changing mail procedures ahead of the 2020 election as the Post Office braces for an unusually high number of mail-in ballots as voters look to avoid casting ballots at polling centers where they could potentially contract the coronavirus. DeJoy "acted outside of his authority to implement changes to the postal system, and did not follow the proper procedures under federal law," according to a statement from Washington state Attorney General Bob Ferguson. The USPS and DeJoy have maintained that the changes are intended to improve the agency's dire financial situation. DeJoy also rejects accusations that he made these changes at Trump's behest.

At least two lawsuits are being filed Tuesday. One led by Washington state will be joined by Colorado, Connecticut, Illinois, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia and Wisconsin. Another group of state Democratic attorneys general are filing a similar lawsuit in a Pennsylvania federal court. These states include California, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Delaware, Maine and North Carolina. The lawsuit led by Washington state makes liberal use of Trump's words and tweets against mail-in voting and connects them to the DeJoy's actions, saying the President has attacked mail-in voting more than 70 times "without supporting evidence."

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