A postal worker in Pennsylvania who was described by Donald Trump as a "brave patriot” for alleging fraud in mail-in ballots admitted to investigators that he had made the whole thing up, then claimed he was forced to recant - and his accusations do not affect the election anyway.
Pennsylvania’s chief election officer announced on Tuesday that around 10,000 ballots were received between the close of polls on Election Day and the evening of 6 November — a number far too small to undermine President-elect Joe Biden’s margin of victory in a critical battleground state.
Mr Biden leads by more than 47,000 votes, as the state continues to count ballots.
Richard Hopkins, 32, claimed that he had heard his supervisors in Erie, Pennsylvania, discussing stamping ballots with a 3 November postmark, even if they arrived late.
The claim was seized on by Republicans, and Lindsey Graham, senator for South Carolina, chair of the Senate judiciary committee and an ardent Trump supporter, cited his claim in a letter to the justice department calling for a federal investigation.
Mr Hopkins was questioned by investigators on Friday, and admitted that he had made the story up.
The Democrat-led House committee on oversight and reform tweeted the news on Monday, saying he had “RECANTED”.
BREAKING NEWS: Erie, Pa. #USPS whistleblower completely RECANTED his allegations of a supervisor tampering with mail-in ballots after being questioned by investigators, according to IG.
— Oversight Committee (@OversightDems) November 10, 2020
Two sources told the Washington Post that he admitted the fabrication to investigators, and they wrote a story based on the sources and the oversight committee’s tweet headlined: Postal worker recanted allegations of ballot tampering, officials say".
They approached Mr Hopkins for comment, but he declined.
Mr Hopkins then posted a video claiming he had not recanted his story.
"I am right at this very moment looking at an article written by the Washington Post, says that I fabricated the allegations of ballot tampering.
“I am here to say I did not recant my statements. That did not happen. That is not what happened. You will find out tomorrow. And I would like the Washignton Post recant their wonderful little article they decided to throw out there, out of random.”
A brave patriot. More & more people are stepping forward to expose this Rigged Election! https://t.co/DfOVDQu2Qp
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 11, 2020
Regardless of whether he recanted or not, his claim of backdating the ballots will not affect the electoral outcome.
Even if every single one of the 10,000 postal votes that arrived after election day were thrown out, it would not be enough to wipe out Mr Biden’s margin.