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Congresswoman Stefanik offers spirited support of former President Trump during Plattsburgh visit

Congresswoman Elise Stefanik
Pat Bradley
/
WAMC
Congresswoman Elise Stefanik during a visit to Clinton Community College in Plattsburgh

New York Republican Congresswoman Elise Stefanik was in Plattsburgh Tuesday for an event at Clinton Community College. She answered questions from reporters about the FBI search of former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate.

The 21st District Representative is Chair of the House Republican Conference, the third-highest House Republican leadership position. Stefanik is also a zealous supporter of former President Donald Trump who has characterized herself as ulta-MAGA. She was asked if she is concerned that rhetoric from her and other Republicans that the FBI is being weaponized against the former president is putting agents at risk.

“First of all there should never be any threats of violence but we do have oversight over the FBI," said Stefanik. "And the problem that we consistently see from the FBI is they don’t want to answer questions from Congress. They need to turn that information over so that Congress can assess whether they overstepped their bounds. Again you’re seeing the FBI targeting President Trump whereas you don’t see the FBI taking action against Hunter Biden. So there’s a lot more questions that need to be answered. We need to see the original affidavit which was the basis for the warrant and we also need to see what was included in those boxes.”

Pressed about falsely equating the Hunter Biden laptop, which Biden opponents claim contains evidence of corrupt business deals, to the Mar-a-Lago search, where highly classified documents were allegedly stored, Stefanik said it is a relevant example because it points to Americans’ mistrust in the FBI.

“When it comes to the information that was seized at Mar-a-Lago it was unclassified material as well including the president’s passports, including photo albums. That’s a significant over-reach," stated Stefanik. "This is also within a hundred days of the midterm elections and if the FBI was so concerned about the classified materials they waited 18 months to raise this issue?"

"They’ve been working on it for some time prior to this though," noted WAMC's Pat Bradley. "It’s not just 18 months."

"But a raid is the worst possible step they could take," the Congresswoman responded. "And if it had to do with the Presidential Records Act I’m asking for full information, full transparency and the FBI deserves specific oversight.”

The passport claim by Trump is also in dispute.

Trump wrote on his social media account that the FBI "stole" his passports. In a response, the FBI said it “follows search and seizure procedures ordered by courts, then returns items that do not need to be retained for law enforcement purposes.” The passports were later returned to Trump's legal team.

https://www.nytimes.com/2022/08/15/us/politics/trump-search-affidavit.html

Stefanik also pressed a widely circulated but false claim that former President Barack Obama also broke protocol by removing documents when he left office.

“If you look at the case of President Obama there are 33 million documents and data and emails that he took to his library in Chicago," Stefanik said. "You don’t see the FBI targeting him for abusing the Presidential Records Act.”

When reminded that the National Archives has the Obama documents and had debunked that claim, Stefanik responded that people should wait to see what documents Trump actually had at Mar-a-Lago.

“Let’s see what the documents are before we jump to conclusions and also what led up to the decision to conduct the raid," said the congresswoman.

Stefanik was asked what information she has received regarding the FBI investigation into the Schoharie limousine crash in 2018, which killed 20 people. Stefanik has pressed FBI Director Christopher Wray to disclose ties between the bureau and the troubled limousine owner.

“The FBI has refused to answer questions on their culpability in the deadliest vehicular crash in years. My constituents who have lost loved ones deserve answers to that," asserted Stefanik. "The FBI to the House Intelligence Committee’s staff is going to hesitate and not necessarily turn that investigation over. And that investigation was launched because of my open questioning to Director Wray at an open hearing. I will not hesitate to subpoena the documents. There are a lot more questions that need to be answered about that case.”

Stefanik is running for a fifth term.

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