Outgoing American President Donald Trump has been dealt another massive blow as questions swirl around one of his main arguments of electoral fraud, which has reportedly disintegrated.
The Republican Party incumbent has been crying foul ever since his opponent Joe Biden emerged as the election victor over the weekend following the November 3 vote.
The Democratic Party presidential nominee has so far secured 290 electoral college votes to claim victory, and while three states – Alaska, Georgia and North Carolina – are still counting, they will not make a difference to the final result. A candidate must score 270 electoral college votes to claim victory, and Trump has only 214.
Since then, Trump has made a string of allegations of voter fraud, and has repeatedly claimed his rivals were attempting to "steal" the election from him.
One of the major pieces of "evidence" from the Trump team was claims of ballot tampering which were made by US postal worker Richard Hopkins.
In a signed affidavit, Hopkins alleged postmaster Rob Weisenbach from Erie, Pennsylvania, told staff to backdate votes which had actually been sent in after election day – which would be a breach of rules.
His claims were publicised by Project Veritas, a far-right activist group, with founder James O'Keefe desribing him as "an American hero".
But at the time, Weisenbach rejected the allegations, posting on Facebook that they were "100% false" and had been made "by an employee that was recently disciplined multiple times".
However, an official investigation was launched in response to Hopkins' explosive claims – but according to the Washington Post, the 32-year-old has now admitted that his claims were false.
They cited three officials who said that Hopkins had signed an affidavit recanting his allegations for the US Postal Service's Office of the Inspector General.
Democrats on the House Oversight Committee have posted the news on Twitter, claiming Hopkins has "completely recanted" allegations made in his "false affidavit".
Hopkins would not comment to the Washington Post but meanwhile Project Veritas has hit back posting a tweet and footage which claims federal agents attempted to "coerce" Hopkins to "water down" his story.
And in a YouTube video posted by the organisation, Hopkins has pushed the Washington Post to "recant" their story, claiming "that is not what happened" and that he "did not recant" his comments.
Nevertheless the suggestion that Hopkins has recanted his original allegations has sparked an outpouring of fury among Americans who are growing increasingly frustrated by the Trump team's refusal to concede.
The 74-year-old has been constantly tweeting a series of fraud claims on Twitter, many of which have been slapped with a warning from the social media platform that "this claim about election fraud is disputed".
"I don't care what state you're in, this computer voting system is wide open to fraud and intervention. True, and wait until you see what's coming!" Trump posted on Wednesday afternoon.
But Trump supporters have taken the bizarre and changing story as further "proof" that the election was rigged.