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Brindisi says he will vote for impeachment, Katko will vote against

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Rep. John Katko
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Facebook (file photo)
Rep. Anthony Brindisi (D-Utica), left, and Rep. John Katko (R-Camillus)

Congressmen in two of central New York’s swing districts will be voting along party lines in this week’s impeachment vote in Washington.

Rep. Anthony Brindisi (D-Utica) announced Tuesday morning that he will vote with a majority of Democrats to impeach President Trump. As recently Monday, he said he wasn’t sure how he was going to vote, but admitted it was one of the toughest decisions of his political career. And he promised that the politics of running as a Democrat in a district that voted overwhelmingly for Trump three years ago, doesn’t play into his decision.

"I think politics probably creeps into anything,” Brindisi said. “But in this kind of a decision, the most important thing is not what’s important to the Democratic party or the Republican party -- it’s what’s best for America.”

Brindisi's full statement was released this morning via email:

“President Trump is my President too. I’ve always said I would work with him to get things done, as I have demonstrated. President Trump signed my first bill into law to extend key housing and transportation programs to our nation’s veterans who need them. I worked together with the President to push a new trade deal with Canada and Mexico. Soon he will sign into law major provisions I championed in the National Defense Authorization Act including huge support for Rome Labs, and my SPOONSS Act that will create jobs by requiring the military to buy American-made flatware from Central New York. We have also passed the first-ever fentanyl sanctions legislation, cracking down on illicit drug traffickers in China and Mexico that are flooding our streets with synthetic opioids. However, I will always put Country first and stand up for what I believe in when I think he is wrong. I took an oath to defend the Constitution. What the President has done is not something I can pretend is normal behavior. It is also not okay for the President to block the testimony of key subpoenaed witnesses that had direct knowledge of the administration’s actions. There is a difference between working with a President and checking that same President. My job is to do both. I will be voting for the articles of impeachment and I look forward to getting right back to work to get things done for the American people.”

Tuesday afternoon, the White House released a statement, saying "While President Trump has been laser focused on supporting America’s veterans, growing our economy, and renegotiating our trade agreements, Brindisi has wasted time and taxpayer dollars on a sham impeachment hoax that Pelosi and Nadler have been focused on since the day the President took office."

Rep. John Katko (R-Camillus) last week announced he would join other Republicans voting against impeachment. Katko has said he was troubled about Trump’s conversation with the president of Ukraine that is at the center of two articles of impeachment he’ll vote on this week. But he says that bad judgment doesn’t rise to the stature of an impeachable offense.

"Never before in the history of our country have we ever impeached a president for non-criminal conduct," Katko said Monday. "And that’s basically what these articles are. And that’s what's really worrisome for me."

Katko also faces tricky political waters from the vote. He won as a Republican in a district that voted for Hillary Clinton three years ago. Both congressmen are expected to face highly contested races for reelection in 2020, with some national political groups already starting advertising campaigns in each district.