Sep. 15—Rep. Elise M. Stefanik has been in regular contact with former President Donald J. Trump, and appears to be helping coordinate with him about the Republican impeachment inquiry into President Joseph R. Biden.
According to a New York Times report Wednesday, Stefanik, R-Willsboro, has been speaking weekly with Trump and has been briefing him on the impeachment inquiry. The newspaper quoted a person "familiar with the conversations who was not authorized to discuss them publicly."
The Stefanik campaign did not respond to a request for comment by the Watertown Daily Times seeking to confirm the report.
Stefanik has been a loyal Trump ally since 2019, when he was first impeached by the House of Representatives over attempts to push Ukrainian authorities for information that would help him win the 2020 election. He was acquitted by the Senate. That first impeachment — when Stefanik rose as a loud voice in support of Trump during hearings that saw her dubbed a "Republican rising star" by the then-president — centered on similar issues to the ones currently under investigation by the House.
Then, Trump was accused of trying to force Ukrainian officials to launch an investigation into then candidate Joseph R. Biden and his son Hunter Biden by withholding money Congress had allocated for military aid to the country.
Now, Republicans are alleging that Biden used his influence to put Hunter in a leadership position at the Ukrainian state gas company Burisma and of benefiting from business deals in Ukraine as vice president and president. No concrete evidence of illegal activities with a connection to the president has been brought forward, leading to the Republican call for an impeachment inquiry to attempt to find evidence of these claims.
Much of those allegations have been investigated already, including by the Trump administration's Justice Department, with no conclusive connections to President Biden or illegal activity uncovered.
Stefanik was one of the first House Republicans to call for an impeachment inquiry in July, after months of Republican-led committee investigations had produced only a few new threads of information, none of it damning.
She's also led a resolution alongside Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., to expunge Trump's two impeachments from the congressional record, an unprecedented attempt to essentially undo the impeachments. Those resolutions have not moved forward in the House. According to the New York Times, Trump has been much more focused on that effort to expunge his own impeachments than he has on the effort against Biden.
Watertown's Rep. Claudia L. Tenney, R-Canandaigua, has similarly been supportive of an impeachment inquiry, and sits on two of the House committees now tasked with the inquiry.