Washington, D.C.

Stefanik among eight House members tapped to help defend Trump during impeachment trial

Elise Stefanik
Elise Stefanik

U.S. Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-Schuylerville, has been named by the White House as one of the House members who will help defend President Donald Trump as the impeachment trial in the Senate gets underway. 

The eight-member team will work to “combat this hyper-partisan and baseless impeachment,” said the White House in a prepared statement. 

“I am honored to be named by President Trump as a member of his impeachment defense team,” said Stefanik. “I am proud to stand up for the Constitution, my constituents in New York’s 21st District and the American people’s vote.”

U.S. Rep. Lee Zeldin is the other New York Republican tapped for the panel. 

Other members include U.S. Reps. Doug Collins, Mike Johnson, Jim Jordan, Debbie Lesko, Mark Meadows and John Ratcliffe. 

Members have “provided guidance” to the White House team, according to the statement.

“The president looks forward to their continued participation and is confident that the members will help expeditiously end this brazen political vendetta on behalf of the American people.” 

Stefanik’s office didn’t immediately respond for comment on what the lawmaker’s duties will be as part of the newly-minted team.

But the third-term lawmaker has emerged as one of the president’s most fervent defenders this fall, criticizing the impeachment process and gaining a national profile by asking pointed questions during House Intelligence Committee hearings. 

That defense, paired with appearances on Fox News, earned praise from Trump, who called her a “rising star” and named her an honorary New York state campaign chairperson for his re-election bid this year. 

The House passed two articles of impeachment along party lines last December, charging Trump with abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. 

Democrats allege the president sought to withhold nearly $400 million in military aid to Ukraine as leverage to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden, a potential rival who is seeking the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination.

The Senate impeachment trial began Tuesday afternoon.

Trump’s legal team urged the Senate to reject the two articles of impeachment, calling the case “brazen and unlawful.” 

His team submitted a 171-page filing with the Senate on Monday. 

For Trump to be removed from office, two-thirds of senators must vote to convict. No president has ever been removed from office. With Republicans in control of the Senate, removal of Trump is highly unlikely.

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