NJ Democrat files criminal referral accusing Trump of ‘subverting’ election
A New Jersey lawmaker submitted a criminal referral to the state attorney general to investigate President Trump and postal chief Louis DeJoy, for the “subversion” of state election laws, he announced Friday night.
“Tonight I’ve made a criminal referral to the New Jersey Attorney General asking him to empanel a grand jury to look at subversion of NJ election laws by Donald Trump, Louis DeJoy, and other Trump officials in their accelerating arson of the post office,” Rep. Bill Pascrell, D-N.J., tweeted with a copy of his letter to the AG.
Pascrell said that New Jersey’s election system was being “undermined by Donald Trump’s attempts to interfere in our state and across the nation.”
In an interview with Fox Business’ Maria Bartiromo Thursday, the president acknowledged blocking funding to the U.S. Postal Service to prevent mail-in voting in the upcoming presidential election.
Tens of millions of Americans are expected to submit mail-in ballots during the election, in part because several states largely conduct voting through mail, but also because of coronavirus concerns. At risk people are being told to stay home, and the number of polling stations are expected to be limited.
Congressional Democrats have requested $3.5 billion to assist the USPS cope with surplus of mail-in ballots.
“They [Democrats] want $25 billion for the post office. Now, they need that money in order to have the post office work so it can take all of these millions and millions of ballots,” Trump said Thursday.
“But if they don’t get those two items, that means you can’t have universal mail-in voting because they’re not equipped to have it.”
The Postal Service released a letter to 46 states Friday, informing them that their voters are at risk of not getting their ballots in time for the Nov. 3 election.
The letter said that even if residents adhere to state deadlines for requesting, receiving and submitting ballots, the USPS still cannot guarantee votes will be processed in time.
“Trump’s open admission confirms recent reporting of widespread delays to Americans’ mail and package delivery and the deliberate sabotage of U.S.P.S. functions and operations at the behest of administration orders,” Pascrell wrote to the New Jersey attorney general.
“This includes the removal of hundreds of mail sorting machines from postal facilities across the country (with some being thrown into dumpsters) and orders from Postmaster DeJoy to deliberately slow mail service,” he added.
Pascrell is not the only member of the House to condemn the president’s attempts to prevent mail-in voting.
Connecticut Attorney General William Tong announced Friday that he is in discussions with other state attorneys general to put together a “vigorous legal defense of our postal service and the legitimacy of our election.”
And Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs said that she has asked her state’s attorney general to investigate changes to the postal system, coupled with Trump’s recent comments.
Rep. Eric Swalwell, D- Calif., also announced a proposal Friday, for the creation of a Presidential Crimes Commission, a panel that would investigate allegations against President Trump and his administration after he leaves office.
“I don’t say this lightly: when we escape this Trump hell, America needs a Presidential Crimes Commission. It should be made up of independent prosecutors who look at those who enabled a corrupt president. Example 1: Sabotaging the mail to win an election. #SaveThePostOffice,” U.S. Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-Calif., tweeted.
The president said Friday that he would consider approving funding for the postal service if congressional Democrats make concessions in their coronavirus relief package.
Democrats put forward a new stimulus package that requested $3 trillion for coronavirus relief, which GOP members said was a nonstarter. Congressional Republicans put forward a $1 trillion relief package.
Democratic lawmakers suggested meeting in the middle, which the White House rejected.
“We’ll take down $1 trillion if you add $1 trillion in,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., told reporters last week. “They said absolutely not.”
Pelosi pointed out that Americans rely on the postal service for more than just exercising their constitutional right to vote, but also to receive medical prescriptions and paychecks.
“Consequently, all of us must do whatever we can right now to protect the integrity of our elections,” Pascrell wrote. “I implore you to open an immediate investigation into whether the Trump administration’s attacks on the U.S. Postal Service violate New Jersey state laws against electoral subversion, and if so, pursue criminal and civil charges against Donald Trump, Louis DeJoy, and any other high-ranking officials involved.”
“American democracy is today in question,” he added.