CAPITAL REGION -- The three members of Congress representing the Capital Region voted as expected, along party lines, when the impeachment of President Donald J. Trump came to the House floor Wednesday evening, after a full day of floor debate.
Democratic representatives Paul D. Tonko, D-Amsterdam, and Antonio Delgado, D-Rhinebeck, each supported impeachment, which is sending two charges against Trump to the Senate for a trial in January. Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-Schuylerville, voted against impeachment.
All three made their positions on impeachment clear ahead of the vote, following the expected party lines.
20th Congressional District representative Tonko, an outspoken progressive who has often spoken out against Trump and administration policies, said his oath of office compelled his vote for impeachment.
"Today, when the House votes on articles of impeachment against the President, I will vote YES," he wrote on Twitter Wednesday afternoon. "I pray for our country, for her people and for our President that we find the wisdom and grace to make the right decision and remember that the ties that bind us together as a nation are ever stronger than those that wish to tear us apart."
Delgado, who represents the 19th Congressional District, announced last Sunday that he would support impeachment, and elaborated during a meeting with the Gazette Newspapers editorial board on Monday. “The President pressured a foreign government for personal political gain while withholding congressionally approved foreign aid, and in doing so, both abused his power and put our national security at risk," Delgado said. "The President also obstructed Congress by blanketly refusing to cooperate with the body’s constitutional right to investigate the matter."
"This was something I don't pin on anything except my own internal sense of truth and what I can accept," the freshman legislator elaborated to the editorial board. "You consult your conscience."
The region's only Republican member of Congress, Stefanik, has been an ardent defender of Trump during the Intelligence Committee hearings last month, and said on Wednesday that she would oppose the impeachment.
“House Democrats failed to uphold their Constitutional duty and instead pursued a partisan impeachment process due to their visceral disdain for President Trump and the will of the American people who elected him," Stefanik said in a statement. "In order to impeach a duly-elected President, there must be direct evidence of impeachable offenses -- high crimes and misdemeanors, bribery or treason. Neither the Intelligence Committee nor the Judiciary Committee found direct evidence, resulting in bipartisan opposition to impeachment."
The case for Trump demanding a quid pro quo from Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky is an "illusion," she said: "This case is easily disproven by two critical facts: security assistance and defensive lethal aid was provided to Ukraine, and there was no investigation into the Bidens. It’s unfortunate that House Democrats believe their disdain for President Trump is more important than respecting the will of the American people."
Earlier Wednesday, Stefanik's expected 2020 Democratic opponent Tedra Cobb came out in favor of impeachment.
“Given the seriousness of the charges and based on the overwhelming evidence that the President used $400 million in taxpayer money for his own personal, political gain, while risking our national security, I would vote in favor of impeachment," Cobb said in a statement released Wednesday morning. "We must ensure that anyone who occupies the highest office in the land never abuses the powers of that office."