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Former President Barack Obama tweeted Friday that everyday Americans could become "collateral damage" if President Trump continues to attempt to slash funding for the U.S. Postal Service as part of his campaign against mail-in voting.

Why it matters: Trump linked his baseless claims that increased mail-in voting will lead to widespread voter fraud on Thursday to the current impasse in coronavirus stimulus negotiations.

  • "Everyone depends on the USPS. Seniors for their Social Security, veterans for their prescriptions, small businesses trying to keep their doors open. They can't be collateral damage for an administration more concerned with suppressing the vote than suppressing a virus," Obama said.
  • He advised Americans to vote early during a podcast chat with his 2012 campaign manager David Plouffe: "If you're in a state where you have the option to vote early, you need to do that now, because the more votes are in early, the less likely you're going to see a last minute crunch."

The big picture: Obama also told Plouffe that the arrival of a vaccine before Election Day could "change the dynamic" in the presidential contest, giving Trump an opportunity to take credit for any economic boost caused by the vaccine.

  • "It is possible that some of the trials that are being done result in us knowing before the election that a vaccine is on the way," Obama said.
  • "That might relieve people's anxieties, and that's good, we should hope for that. But that also can change the dynamic, particularly when you have a president who takes responsibility for nothing but takes credit for everything," he added.

The bottom line: Obama's analyses reveals concern in the highest levels of Democratic circles about Trump's ability to turn the race around, even as most public polling gives Joe Biden a comfortable lead.

Go deeper

Christopher Wray: FBI has not seen evidence of national voter fraud effort by mail

FBI Director Christopher Wray responded to a question on the security of mail-in voting to the Senate Homeland Security Committee on Thursday by saying that the agency has "not seen, historically, any kind of coordinated national voter fraud effort in a major election, whether it's by mail or otherwise."

Why it matters: President Trump has ramped up his claims, without evidence, that widespread mail-in voting would rig the 2020 election against him. On Wednesday, after declining to say whether he would commit to a peaceful transition of power if he loses the election to Joe Biden, Trump said that "the ballots are out of control."

The apocalypse scenario

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Democratic lawyers are preparing to challenge any effort by President Trump to swap electors chosen by voters with electors selected by Republican-controlled legislatures. One state of particular concern: Pennsylvania, where the GOP controls the state house.

Why it matters: Trump's refusal to commit to a peaceful transfer of power, together with a widely circulated article in The Atlantic about how bad the worst-case scenarios could get, is drawing new attention to the brutal fights that could jeopardize a final outcome.

Obama issues second round of 2020 endorsements

Photo: Liu Jie/Xinhua via Getty Images

Former President Barack Obama on Friday endorsed 111 Democratic candidates running for office in November, including 29 in House races and seven in Senate races.

The state of play: Obama has so far endorsed 229 candidates in state and federal races across 34 states this year after issuing a first wave of endorsements in August.