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Rep. Stefanik continues to put party before country

It is clear there are two different sets of facts being presented to the American public when it comes to impeachment.

Truth is on trial, and I fear the public will be a hung jury.

I was struck by a comment from one reader on our website Tuesday:

“We are way past educating voters. Everyone is dug in deep. Unfortunately, today’s politics is just white noise. No branch of government is actually functioning, except the judicial branch, and that’s even under attack. Politics has turned into a sport where you cheer on your team. Pretty sad. I think a purge of all elected officials is necessary. Voters however, aren’t smart enough to realize that.”

Previously in our history, we could look to our leaders to take the initiative and do the right thing to uphold the rule of law and ensure our democracy goes forward.

Unfortunately, our own congresswoman has not done that.

In an interview with the Watertown Daily Times last week, Rep. Stefanik confirmed she remains unconvinced that President Trump did anything wrong. She actually said the same thing back in September before any evidence had been presented.

When the Watertown Daily Times reporter asked her last week if it was right for a sitting president to ask a foreign leader to investigate one of his political rivals, she said that is not what the transcript said.

You should note in that response she did not answer the question.

It is a pattern throughout the story of a savvy politician dancing and dodging for the good of her party instead of her country.

When she was asked by the Watertown Daily Times reporter if she was suggesting that Trump never asked the Ukrainian president to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden or his son, Stefanik referred the reporter to the transcript as “the most important piece of evidence that we had.”

Note, she did not answer that question either.

Note that the reporter then reminded her the Bidens were mentioned in the notes from the call.

Note that later testimony from EU Ambassador Gordon Sondland confirmed the president wanted a personal political favor in exchange for military aid to Ukraine.

Rep. Elise Stefanik should know this. She is on the House Intelligence Committee.

When asked by the Watertown reporter about Trump being accused of refusing to release security aid to Ukraine until there was an investigation into the Bidens, Stefanik changed the subject and said there had never been an investigation into the Bidens.

These are important distinctions when you consider Rep. Stefanik’s responses.

As a member of the House Intelligence Committee, sitting at the crossroads of a historic moment, Rep. Stefanik has disregarded the testimony of 12 different witnesses, including damning testimony from Sondland, to advance her own place in the Republican Party.

Factcheck.org, a nonpartisan, nonprofit “consumer advocate for voters that aims to reduce the level of deception and confusion in U.S. politics,” confirmed there was wrongdoing in its fact check of Republican talking points on Dec. 5, writing “The Republican National Committee on Dec. 4 selectively highlighted several facts from the investigation, providing an incomplete picture on what the congressional testimony has revealed.”

Rep. Stefanik repeated it anyway.

Ultimately, all of us as citizens must decide who we believe by asking hard questions about what each individual has to gain.

What do the 12 people who testified before the House Intelligence Committee have to gain?

What does the whistleblower have to gain?

What about factcheck.org?

Or myself?

One person who does have something to gain by supporting President Trump is Rep. Stefanik.

What these hearings have shown is that there are still people of integrity in this country willing to tell the truth under oath. Unfortunately, Rep. Stefanik is not one of them.

History should not be kind to her.

What is so startling is that the words she spoke earlier in the week shows she knows better.

It showed she knows what respectable looks like with her words about state Sen. Betty Little.

“Betty Little truly sets the bar for her tireless and effective public service to her constituents. Our community has watched in awe as Betty dedicated decades of her life to representing the hard working families of upstate New York. I often get asked about women in politics and I always proudly point to our local icon Betty Little, who quietly shattered glass ceilings before it was hailed by the media.”

It’s clear now more than ever that Elise Stefanik is no Betty Little, never will be.

Ken Tingley is editor of the Post-Star of Glens Falls.

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