Stefanik condemns president’s ‘lynching’ tweet
North Country congresswoman maintains stance against impeachment
PLATTSBURGH — Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-Schuylerville, condemned President Donald Trump’s tweet in which he referred to the impeachment inquiry as a “lynching.”
“So some day, if a Democrat becomes President and the Republicans win the House, even by a tiny margin, they can impeach the President, without due process or fairness or any legal rights,” he tweeted Tuesday morning.
“All Republicans must remember what they are witnessing here – a lynching. But we will WIN!”
The reference — which for many calls to mind the violent targeting and hanging of African-Americans — drew criticism from media and some politicians, though Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., defended the president’s use of the word. As Stefanik has done in recent weeks, Graham called for a House vote on the impeachment inquiry which, he told reporters, would empower the House’s Republican minority and allow Trump to call witnesses on his behalf.
“Until that is done, this is a joke, this is a shame and this is a political lynching,” Graham said.
Stefanik spokeswoman Madison Anderson said the congresswoman believes the president’s tweet was “inappropriate and offensive.”
Not at Camp David
Stefanik was not among the Republicans who went to Camp David with acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney for a retreat this past weekend.
Anderson said the congresswoman stayed after Friday’s votes for the afternoon bipartisan briefing on Syria.
She then attended the “Portraits of Courage: A Commander-in-Chief’s Tribute to America’s Warriors” — a collection of oil paintings of wounded veterans by former President George W. Bush — at the Kennedy Center over the weekend.
“We do not know who was at Camp David or what was discussed,” Anderson said.
Some media reports have suggested that Trump’s decision to refrain from hosting next year’s G7 summit at his Doral, Florida, resort came about following a phone call to Republicans at the retreat.
The Times Union reported that the retreat’s main topic was likely impeachment defense.
Stefanik has said repeatedly that she does not support impeachment of the president and argued that there was nothing impeachable in the memo detailing Trump’s July 25 phone conversation with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
Last week, she maintained there was no “quid pro quo” even as Mulvaney appeared to indicate that hundreds of millions in aid to Ukraine was withheld in order to encourage that country’s participation in investigations into the 2016 election.
On Friday, the congresswoman and her fellow House Intelligence Committee minority members sent a letter to Committee Chair Adam Schiff expressing their concerns over the impeachment inquiry’s concealed nature and their lack of access to certain committee documents related to the inquiry.
Monday, Stefanik’s opposition to Schiff’s conduct further escalated when she voted in favor of bringing a resolution to the floor that would censure him.
In a statement, she described Schiff as “unfit to serve” as the committee chair and explained her vote came about due to his “continued failed leadership and lack of transparency” with both House members and the American public.
Democrats blocked the resolution.
On Monday, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., visited the Institute for Advanced Manufacturing at Clinton Community College in Plattsburgh to announce her new legislation, the Rebuild Rural America Act.
During a brief off-topic question period, Gillibrand said concern expressed by Republicans over the impeachment inquiry’s closed-door nature comes from a fundamental misunderstanding of the process.
She said the proceedings are supposed to mirror those of a grand jury, wherein the House investigates and elucidates facts which it presents to the Senate, who then has the “trial version” when information from both sides is heard.
“I think it’s just an effort by advocates who support the president to muddy the waters on what the process is actually supposed to be.”
In response to those comments, Stefanik again brought up that in all three prior cases of impeachment, a vote on whether to move forward was brought before the House.
“Speaker Pelosi is doing a disservice to the American people by breaking with precedent and refusing to let Congress have a say in the matter.
“Additionally, Chairman Adam Schiff has brought secrecy and partisanship to a whole new level by knowingly withholding sensitive documents from Republican members of the Intelligence Committee relating to the impeachment inquiry.”
She reiterated her previous statements that the inquiry should be conducted with full transparency.
“Chairman Schiff has made a mockery of this process. I stand for transparency for the American people.”
Gillibrand additionally commented that more leadership is needed on both sides of the aisle, but especially among Republicans.
“They’re not standing up to this president and they have a job and an obligation to the Constitution and their constituents beyond their party,” she said.
To counter that point, Stefanik repeated that she does not support impeachment.
“I am focused on delivering real results to my district, which voted overwhelmingly for the president in 2016.”
The congresswoman’s political action committee, E-PAC — whose mission is to get more Republican women elected to Congress — announced its first slate of “Rising Star” endorsed women candidates for the 2020 elections, according to a press release.
Eleven candidates from seven states met E-PAC’s metrics, which were “at least $250,000 raised within their first full quarter after announcing their candidacy, a built-out campaign team, and the ability to prove a path to victory.”
Endorsed New York candidates were Nicole Malliotakis and Chele Farley for the state’s 11th and 18th congressional districts, respectively.
“E-PAC’s mission is to recruit and support a formidable group of Republican women running for Congress in 2020, and these candidates have demonstrated their strength early on in their races,” Stefanik said in a statement.
“I worked with each of these candidates to ensure they are building strong, competitive campaigns, and I’m proud to endorse them today.”
E-PAC also added 18 candidates to its “Women to Watch” list.