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Stefanik votes against Trump impeachment

For the second time in as many years, North Country Rep. Elise Stefanik voted against impeaching President Donald Trump on Wednesday, saying she “vehemently opposed” what she called a “snap impeachment.”

Nevertheless, the House impeached Trump on one count of “incitement of insurrection,” with a vote of 232 to 197, seven days before his term ends.

“It is a partisan ploy with no basis in the Constitution,” Stefanik wrote in a statement. “The Democrats’ decision to impeach the President with one week remaining in his term further fuels the divisions in the country during this very trying time.”

Ten Republicans voted for the impeachment, which did not happen in the first impeachment.

This impeachment began after a mob of Trump supporters violently overtook the Capitol building while Congress counted electoral votes a week ago on Jan. 6. The mob was incensed by Trump’s many false claims that voter fraud cost him the election, and they sought retribution on the legislators who were certifying Joe Biden and Kamala Harris as the next president and vice president.

Five people died in the riot, including a Capitol Police officer.

“Of course, the violence is wrong,” Stefanik said in a “Fox and Friends” interview Wednesday. “I condemn the violence, as did the president.”

The articles of impeachment now move to the Senate, which will prepare for a trial; however, this is likely to happen after Biden is inaugurated. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says he will not convene the Senate earlier than Jan. 19, one day before the inauguration.

On “Fox and Friends,” Stefanik said she opposes impeachment because she believes it is partisan and not conducted through the correct avenues.

She said the Republican Congress members who voted for impeachment will struggle to “stand in front of their voters” back home.

Stefanik said Democrats have wanted to impeach Trump since his inauguration. The House impeached Trump in December 2019 on charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. The Senate later acquitted him of these charges.

“As Members of the United States Congress, we should focus on unifying our country by delivering solutions to the American people,” Stefanik wrote in a statement.

25th Amendment

On Tuesday night Stefanik voted against a resolution asking Vice President Mike Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment and replace Trump in office. The amendment says the vice president and a majority of Cabinet members can do this if they decide the president is “unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office.”

The resolution passed 223-205, almost exclusively along party lines. Pence has said he will not use the 25th Amendment.

“We must work together to unify at this challenging time for the American people,” Stefanik wrote in a statement on this vote. “This political resolution sets a very dangerous Constitutional precedent and further divides our country. I believe we should focus on ensuring a safe transfer of power on January 20th.”

Local response

In social media posts, emails and phone calls to the Enterprise, some Democrats and activists said they are looking for candidates to run against Stefanik in the 2022 election because they are upset with her objections to electors on Jan. 6, her response to the violence and her vote against impeachment.

Others did not want to wait. They want Stefanik to resign. A change.org petition calling for her resignation had 16,924 signatures as of 3:30 p.m. Wednesday. The petition has an arbitrary goal of 25,000.

Stefanik is unlikely to resign. On Tuesday, Essex County Republican Committee Chairman John Gereau issued a statement that Stefanik “has a large network of supporters here in upstate New York who fully stand behind her right to question voting irregularities in this country and stand up for our constitutional rights.

“Therefore, it is an extreme stretch for Elise’s opponents to use the current climate in Washington to cruelly label her a ‘traitor’ and call for her to resign. Doing so is not only unfair, but is an insult to the numerous North Country voters who overwhelmingly re-elected her just two months ago.”

Some Republican voters opposed Stefanik’s decision to continue objecting to electors after the violent siege on the Capitol. But many North Country Republicans still support Trump and were pleased by Stefanik’s objections, saying she did her job and represented their interests. Some told her to “stay strong.”

Stefanik will join Pence at Fort Drum Sunday as the outgoing vice president thanks soldiers and their families for their service.

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