New York Daily News: MANHATTAN, NY – Rep Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) called Tuesday for a criminal probe of President Trump’s embattled Post Office chief even as Postmaster General Louis DeJoy agreed to roll back cutbacks that critics say are designed to disrupt voting by mail in the November election.

Calling DeJoy a “stooge” of Trump, the No 4 Democrat in the House of Representatives denounced the controversial cost-cutting moves that he said have put democracy at risk.

“It’s outrageous that Donald Trump and his henchmen right before our very eyes thought they could get away with destroying the Postal Service from within,” Jeffries said outside the Cadman Plaza post office in downtown Brooklyn.

Representatives Hakeem Jeffries (L) and Yvette Clarke speak at a press conference about the future of the USPS outside the Cadman Plaza Post Office in Brooklyn, New York City on Tuesday, August 18, 2020.
Representatives Hakeem Jeffries (L) and Yvette Clarke speak at a press conference about the future of the USPS outside the Cadman Plaza Post Office in Brooklyn, New York City on Tuesday, August 18, 2020 – Gardiner Anderson/for New York Daily News
Clarke demanded DeJoy resign immediately.

“Trump and DeJoy have demonstrated that they are not interested in conducting free and fair elections,” Clarke said.

The lawmakers spoke hours after DeJoy said he would “suspend” his initiatives until after the election “to avoid even the appearance of any impact on election mail.”

DeJoy said the agency will stop the removal of collection boxes and mail-processing machines, and will not close mail processing facilities. He also said overtime for workers has not been eliminated.

“The Postal Service is ready to handle whatever volume of election mail it receives,” DeJoy said in a statement.

That’s a 180-degree flip-flop from his stand a couple of days ago, when he pointedly warned states not to rely on the “We Deliver For You” workers to meet absentee ballot deadlines.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called the decision a “necessary first step” but called on DeJoy to repair the damage that has already been done to the federal agency.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Sen. Chuck Schumer of N.Y. speak to reporters on Capitol Hill on Friday, Aug. 7.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Sen. Chuck Schumer of NY speak to reporters on Capitol Hill on Friday, Aug. 7 – Andrew Harnik/AP

The abrupt reversal comes as more than 20 states, from New York to California, announced they would sue to block the extensive cuts to service including eliminating overtime for workers and removing postal collection boxes nationwide.

Critics want to ensure voters are able to vote by mail to avoid casting their ballots at physical polling places amid the coronavirus pandemic.

DeJoy and the head of the Postal Service board of governors will be facing both chambers of Congress to answer for the drastic changes, including testifying before the Senate on Friday and the House on Monday.

Congress is not in session but Pelosi (D-Calif.) is calling the House back to Washington over the crisis at the Postal Service, setting up a political showdown amid growing concerns the Trump White House is trying to undermine the agency ahead of the election.

Dozens of mail boxes sit in the parking lot of a post office on Lafayette Avenue on Aug.17, in the Bronx.
Dozens of mail boxes sit in the parking lot of a post office on Lafayette Avenue on Aug.17, in the Bronx – David Dee Delgado/Getty Images

The House is expected to vote Saturday on the “Delivering for America Act,” which would prohibit the Postal Service from implementing any changes to operations or level of service it had in place on Jan. 1. The package would include the $25 billion approved as part of the COVID-19 rescue that is stalled in the Senate.

Trump made clear last week that he was blocking emergency aid to the Postal Service, acknowledging he wanted to curtail election mail operations, as well as a Democratic proposal to provide $3.6 billion in additional election money to the states to help process an expected surge of mail-in ballots.

  • Top Feature Photo: US Postmaster General Louis DeJoy – Alex Wong/Getty Images