It is a federal crime to obstruct mail delivery in the United States. I cite 18 U.S. Code § 1701. Here’s what it says: “Whoever knowingly and willfully obstructs or retards the passage of the mail, or any carrier or conveyance carrying the mail, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than six months, or both.”
It is clear, given his recent statements, that Trump is engaged in obstructing and retarding the passage of the U.S. mail ahead of the next general election. We’re in a pandemic; a record 76 percent of registered voters are eligible to vote by mail. On Thursday, Trump said he would hold up new federal funding for the U.S. Postal Service because he claims — falsely — that mail-in voting is fraught with fraud.
“They (Democrats) need that money in order to have the post office work so it can take all of these millions and millions of ballots,” he said during an interview on Fox Business. “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.”
Congressional Democrats want money for the USPS, some of it specifically for election security, in the next round of federal pandemic aid. Negotiations toward the aid package have gone nowhere, and Congress is in summer recess. “If we don’t make a deal, that means they don’t get the money,” Trump said. “That means they can’t have universal mail-in voting, they just can’t have it.”
His goal is to raise public doubts about the election and the USPS, a beloved public institution that millions of Americans continue to depend on even in the age of email and Amazon. In fact, the USPS is so critical to American life — and increasingly for our elections — it should be a full government agency, not the independent government agency it has been for 50 years. It should be fully funded as a public service, as the Constitution requires, to keep postage rates affordable. It should not be set up to compete with the private sector, a losing proposition for everyone.
What do we have right now? A president who is hostile to the USPS and who does everything possible to reduce public trust in the service, and a Postmaster General, Republican megadonor Louis Dejoy, who claims he needs to fix the service’s “broken business model” a few months before the presidential election. Mail sorting machines have been removed from USPS facilities and taken apart. Mailboxes are disappearing from streets, raising suspicions. The mail has slowed. Postal worker overtime has been stopped. DeJoy told employees to leave mail behind at distribution centers if it delayed letter carriers from their routes, according to this report in The Washington Post.
Clearly Trump and his appointed Postmaster are trying to screw up the next election so that Trump and his Attorney General can go to the Supreme Court and claim that it was flawed and not legitimate. You think that’s far-fetched? I don’t. Not with the King of Chaos in the White House.
I hope Congressional Democrats do not wait to do something about this. In fact, someone needs to go to court to put a stop to Dejoy’s and Trump’s obstruction of the U.S. mail. I gave you the citation from the U.S. code. Get to it before it’s too late.