USPS Pennsylvania Whistleblower Richard Hopkins: ‘I Did Not Recant’

November 10, 2020 Updated: November 12, 2020

A U.S. Postal Service (USPS) whistleblower in Erie, Pennsylvania, who last week claimed that he overheard superiors discussing a scheme to backdate mail-in ballots, has released a video dismissing reports that he fabricated the allegations.

On Nov. 7, Senate Judiciary Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) received a sworn affidavit signed by mail carrier Richard Hopkins under the penalty of perjury, alleging that a local postmaster, Rob Weisenbach, had instructed USPS workers to collect mail ballots they receive after Nov. 3 and hand them over to him to be backdated.

Hopkins, 32, who has since been placed on non-pay status by the Erie Post Office, said that he is willing to testify about his claim under oath. He claimed that he heard Weisenbach tell a supervisor that he was backdating 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.”

Under state election rules, ballots can be counted up to three days after Election Day as long as they are postmarked as having been sent on Nov. 3.

A USPS spokesman told The Epoch Times it was aware of Hopkins’s claim and had referred the matter to the U.S. Postal Inspection Service and the Office of Inspector General. A USPS Office of Inspector General spokesperson told The Epoch Times via email, “The U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General does not comment on ongoing matters.”

Weisenbach did not respond to a request for comment but wrote on Facebook that the allegations were “100 % false” and “made by an employee that was recently disciplined multiple times.”

The House Oversight Committee on Tuesday claimed that Hopkins went back on his allegations of ballot tampering, saying that investigators from the USPS Office of Inspector General had told the committee that the whistleblower had signed a sworn affidavit recanting his claims.

Investigators “informed Committee staff today that they interviewed Hopkins on Friday, but that Hopkins RECANTED HIS ALLEGATIONS yesterday and did not explain why he signed a false affidavit,” Democrats on the panel said in a statement on Twitter.

The Washington Post published a report echoing similar claims, citing three anonymous officials briefed on the investigation, and the statement.

Hopkins soon denied the allegations in a video posted by James O’Keefe of Project Veritas, a watchdog who first publicized Hopkins’s accusations.

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In this still image from an undated video released Nov. 6, 2020, U.S. Postal Service whistleblower Richard Hopkins delivers mail in Erie, Pa. (Project Veritas)

“My name is Richard Hopkins, I’m a postal employee who came out and whistleblew on the Erie, Pennsylvania postal service, postal office. I am right at this very moment looking at an article written by the Washington Post—it says that I fabricated the allegations of ballot tampering,” Hopkins said.

“I’m here to say that I did not recant my statements, that didn’t happen, that is not what happened. You will find out tomorrow, and I would like that the Washington Post recant their wonderful little article that they decided to throw out there, out at random.”

O’Keefe separately claimed that Hopkins was “coerced” by federal agents in a four-hour interrogation without representation, and that he has footage that would be released in full on Wednesday.

A partial clip released Tuesday night appears to be recording of a meeting between Hopkins and USPS Office of the Inspector General Agent Russell Strasser.

“And so let me, let me make good on that promise right away, okay? This storm is getting crazy, right? It’s out of a lot of people’s control and so the reason they called me in is to try and harness that storm, try to reel it back in before it gets really crazy,” Strasser appears to say during the interview. “Because we have senators involved. We have the Department of Justice involved. We have Trump’s lawyer’s team’s gotten ahold of me.”

“I am not—I am, actually. I am trying to twist you a little bit because in that, believe it or not, your mind will kick in. We like to control our mind and when we do that we can convince ourselves of a memory. But when you’re under a bit of stress—which is what I’m doing to you purposely—your mind can be a little bit clearer and we’re going to do a different exercise too, to make your mind a little bit clearer,” he said. “But this is all on purpose.”

The USPS, House Oversight Chairwoman Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.), the Senate Judiciary Committee, and Erie County didn’t respond to requests for comment by The Epoch Times.

A spokeswoman for Republicans on the House Oversight Committee told The Epoch Times via email: “We are monitoring the situation and seeking more information from the U.S. Postal Service Inspector General about these serious allegations. We look forward to learning more as USPS looks into this issue.”

The Epoch Times has not been able to independently verify the authenticity of the recording.

Erie County’s Chair of Election Board, Carl Anderson III, said in a statement last week that the “story has nothing to do with the work and effort of the Erie County Board of Elections.”

“The Erie Post Office under Postmaster Robert Weisenbach has been responsive and helpful to us. I believe the processes they use will stand as legitimate under scrutiny,” he said.

Ivan Pentchoukov and Zachary Stieber contributed to this report.