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Stefanik named to Trump impeachment defense team

Payne Horning
WRVO News (file photo)

The White House announced late Monday that Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-Schuylerville) will serve as a member of President Donald Trump's impeachment defense team.  She described it as an honor.

“I am proud to stand up for the Constitution, my constituents in New York’s 21st District, and the American people’s vote," Stefanik said.

In recent months, Stefanik - a member of the House Intelligence committee — has emerged as one of Trump's fiercest champions, appearing frequently in conservative media.

She has also jousted publicly with Rep. Adam Schiff, chair of the Intel Committee, who will lead the prosecution effort for House Democrats.

In a statement, the White House said the team is being organized to "combat the hyper-partisan and baseless impeachment."

Ukraine matter reaches culmination

The Administration says Stefanik and seven other House Republicans named to the group have already provided "guidance" to the President's team during the controversy surrounding his effort to pressure Ukraine.

Trump has said his efforts were designed to protect American interests while forcing Ukrainian officials to curb corruption in their country.

But a series of high-level, non-partisan witnesses have testified that they believe Trump's efforts were designed to target a political opponent, Democrat Joe Biden.

Stefanik has broadly dismissed evidence presented by Democrats and their witnesses, echoing Trump's claim that the proceedings are designed to derail his presidency.

Indeed, even before all the witnesses testified, Stefanik said she was convinced that Trump committed no impeachable offenses; she called for the House investigation to be scrapped.

Stefanik one of four New York politicians from House taking part

This appointment by the White House elevates Stefanik yet again to the highest possible stage in national politics, at a time of constitutional crisis.

The move also continues to cement her political brand to that of Donald Trump, a controversial politician she once kept at arm's length.

One other New Yorker will join Trump's defense:  Rep. Lee Zeldin of Long Island.

Two New York lawmakers are also on the team of House managers handling the prosecution against Trump:  Rep. Hakeem Jeffries from Brooklyn and Queens, and Rep. Jerrold Nadler from Brooklyn.