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Stefanik believes impeach vote is certainty

Rep. Elise Stefanik

U.S. Rep. Elise Stefanik stood by claims she made last week that her Democratic opponent Tedra Cobb supports impeaching President Donald Trump, despite Cobb’s statement that she isn’t sure about impeachment, although she approves the inquiry.

Stefanik defended her assertion by saying that because congressional Democrats voted to continue the impeachment inquiry, they will inevitably attempt to impeach Trump.

Cobb has stated that she supports the probe into the president’s dealings with Ukraine but has not yet taken a stance on whether or not she would vote to impeach him. Stefanik, however, insists that a vote for investigating the president is a vote for impeaching him.

“That was a vote to move forward the process of impeachment,” Stefanik said. “You tell me how that was not a vote to move forward on impeachment.”

Asked how she reconciles this with Cobb’s statement and the fact that inquiry and impeachment are two different processes, Stefanik again conflated the impeachment inquiry with actually impeaching the president.

“The headline of your own paper said that I voted against impeachment and Tedra Cobb voted for impeachment,” Stefanik said.

This isn’t true. Online, the headline read, “Stefanik votes no to impeachment probe: Cobb says she would have voted yes to inquiry but wants to wait before deciding on impeachment.” In print it read, “Impeachment inquiry Ok’d by the house, 232 to 196: Stefanik votes no on proposal to continue probe of Trump.”

Other Republicans have made the same assertion as Stefanik, that inquiry equals impeachment, including New York GOP Chairman Nick Langworthy.

Cobb did not respond to comment for this article.

Impeachment inevitable

Asked if proceeding with the inquiry process will guarantee impeachment, Stefanik said, “(House Speaker) Nancy Pelosi is going to bring the vote to the floor to impeach this president.”

“That vote (last week) was a party-line vote to move the process forward and refer articles of impeachment to the Judiciary Committee. It is a vote for impeachment.”

The vote on Oct. 7 did decide that if articles of impeachment are drafted, they would go to the Judiciary Committee, but no such articles have been introduced. The vote formally sanctioned the investigation and when it is complete the House will decide whether to recommend articles of impeachment or charges against the president. The Judiciary Committee would have to vote on these articles and then pass them to the full House, which would vote on whether to charge the president. If so, the matter would go to the Senate for trial, as prescribed by the Constitution.

Asked if she believes Pelosi will push to impeach no matter the evidence, Stefanik said Democrats have been calling for impeachment even before an unnamed whistleblower revealed the Ukraine phone call.

“Many Democrats have run on impeaching the president,” Stefanik said. “I believe many of the Democrats in Congress have an interest in impeaching the president, frankly, since the day he won the election.”

Stefanik has sat in on most of the inquiry depositions, with exceptions of when she was holding town-hall-style meetings in the North Country on Oct. 10 and 11 and when she Afghanistan from Oct. 1 to 7.

Stefanik has said that she does not believe Trump should be impeached. She said his request that the Ukrainian president do him a “favor” and start an investigation into the son of Trump’s 2020 presidential rival Joe Biden, detailed in a memo, did not reach the level of impeachable offense. She has stated that she did not believe there was a quid pro quo of Trump withholding military aid from Ukraine until it did the investigation he requested.

When asked about the testimonies she saw, Stefanik said, “I’m not going to break the rules of the committee like some of my colleagues on the Democratic side have done, talking specifics about the depositions.

“As the (transcripts) are released, I think that it is important that the American public read both the perspective from the Democratic members but also the perspective from the Republican members as we’re asking questions.”

On Tuesday Stefanik was on “Fox and Friends” on Fox News to talk impeachment with co-host Steve Doocy. She called for Adam Schiff, the chairman of House Intelligence Committee she sits on, to be the first witness interviewed by the committee while it investigates the whistleblower complaint.

She said since Schiff had access to the whistleblower before the complaint was submitted, she has questions about how the two have coordinated. She also said she wants to have a hearing directly with the whistleblower instead of through written questions and answers.

Doocy twice referred to her as “Elaine Stefanik” in the interview.

Democratic candidates and voters in the past year have sometimes made a point of linking Stefanik with Trump. Asked how she felt about that, Stefanik said, “My constituents understand that she (Cobb) is anti-Trump.”

Stefanik has complained that the inquiry’s hearings have been held in closed-door sessions and said the new inquiry rules passed last week will result in “no increased transparency.” Schiff announced Wenesday that public hearings will begin next week, starting with three witnesses who have already testified in secret: Ambassador to Ukraine William Taylor, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State George Kent and former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch. Transcripts of Taylor’s and Yovanovitch’s testimonies were released earlier this week.