North Country Dems say FBI document undercuts Stefanik

From a Times Union article by Dan Freedman, dated Tuesday, July 24, 2018

WASHINGTON — North Country Democrats seeking to gain traction in an uphill battle to unseat Rep. Elise Stefanik are focusing on the FBI affidavit they say undercuts the lawmaker’s support of positions favorable to President Donald Trump.

“She was part of undermining an FBI investigation, and she hasn’t retracted a thing,” said Joe Seeman of Ballston Spa, a supporter of Stefanik’s Democratic opponent Tedra Cobb. “She’s shown she’s on the side of (Russian President Vladimir) Putin and against American law enforcement.”

As a member of the House intelligence committee, Stefanik in March voted in favor of releasing a memo by Republican chairman Devin Nunes, R-Calif., that concluded there was no collusion between then GOP candidate Donald Trump’s campaign and Russia.

The Republican memo, released ahead of its Democratic counterpart, claimed to prove bias by the FBI against Trump. It said the bureau’s wiretap application from October 2016 was based on the now-famous dossier of former British agent Christopher Steele, and that the FBI failed to disclose Steele’s antipathy toward Trump.

The Democrats’ subsequently released memo argued the FBI did, in fact, tell the judge considering the warrant of the anti-Trump motive. But the controversy withered because the actual application remained secret.

On Saturday at the prompting of Trump, the FBI released a heavily redacted version of the application. It prompted Trump to proclaim vindication in a tweet, writing the documents “confirm with little doubt that the Department of ‘Justice’ and FBI misled the courts.”

The application proves the investigation of special counsel Robert Mueller into Trump 2016 campaign connections to Russia is a “hoax,” “witch hunt” and “scam,” Trump tweeted.

Democrats, however, pointed to a lengthy footnote in the application that warns the judge that the dossier had been commissioned by an individual “likely looking for information that could be used to discredit” Trump.
“This is a war by Russia against American democracy,” said Seeman. “Which side is she on?”

Cobb, a former St. Lawrence county legislator from Canton, had not participated in the mini-Twitter campaign over the weekend urging journalists to “question (Stefanik) on why she voted to support the false memo.”

But asked for comment Tuesday, she said through a spokesman: “Elise Stefanik chose party over patriotism and truth. This is not the leadership and representation that New York families deserve.”

Join Tedra