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Protesters want report

From left, Joe Seeman of Ballston Spa addresses the crowd at a protest held outside the office of U.S. Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-Schuylerville, on Thursday. About 40 people attended the event to call for the public release of the report submitted by special counsel Robert Mueller into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.  

About 40 people protested outside the Glens Falls office of U.S. Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-Schuylerville, on Thursday, calling for the full release of the report by special counsel Robert Mueller into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.

Shouting “Who’s above the law? Nobody’s above the law” and carrying signs that read “Release the Full Report,” the protesters made it clear they do not want a redacted version of the document.

Mueller delivered his report to Attorney General William Barr on March 22, and Barr on March 24 issued a four-page summary, writing that the investigation “did not establish that members of the Trump Campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities.”

On obstruction, Mueller did not draw a conclusion one way or the other about whether Trump obstructed justice. Barr concluded that there was not sufficient evidence to establish that Trump obstructed justice.

“I feel very strongly that we paid for that report and people who have nothing to hide, hide nothing,” said Glens Falls resident Joanne Armstrong.

Other protesters said they worried that Stefanik was trying to undermine the Mueller report and its credibility. They said Stefanik joined with her Republican colleagues on the House Intelligence Committee in calling for U.S. Rep. Adam Schiff, chairman of the committee, to resign, because they said they had lost faith in his ability to lead the committee. Schiff has been pushing for further investigations into Trump.

Larry Fine, media liaison for Saratoga Progressive Action, said before the protest that it is only fair that Congress be able to see the full, unredacted report so members can evaluate it for themselves, even if some of the material cannot be released to the public.

“You should be able to trust Congress not to be saying anything they shouldn’t be saying. Most of them are lawyers anyway,” he said.

Fine said he is concerned the report contains more information about potential corruption that should be investigated.

“Even if it’s not illegal, certainly it’s not moral or not to the benefit of the country,” he said.

He is particularly concerned about foreign influence on the Trump administration, including recent reports that people working for him, including his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, were initially denied security clearances because of concerns about conflicts of interest from overseas deals.

When asked if Stefanik was available for an interview or had further comment about the Mueller investigation, Stefanik spokeswoman Maddie Anderson pointed to an earlier statement from March 22 in which Stefanik said she supported releasing the Mueller report to the American people.

The Post-Star has been trying for two weeks to get Stefanik on the phone to talk further about the Russia investigation and other topics, but has not been successful.

On March 25, Anderson said that Stefanik was not available to answer follow-up questions about the Mueller report. On April 1, Anderson did not reply at all to an inquiry about whether Stefanik had a few minutes to talk about President Trump’s threat to shut down the U.S.-Mexico border and the Russia investigation. There was no response to a message left at the office.

Last Thursday, an email to Anderson asking for a phone interview with Stefanik was ignored, but Anderson did reply to a question later in the day about whether the congresswoman herself would be at a workshop on how municipalities can apply for grants through the Northern Border Caucus. She will not be attending.

An assistant at Stefanik’s Washington, D.C. office on Thursday directed the reporter to send an email with his questions.

On Friday, Anderson was asked in an email if Stefanik was available on Monday for an interview and there was no response.

School-based health clinics

Stefanik has co-sponsored the School-Based Health Centers Reauthorization Act to extend funding for school-based health centers through 2024.

School-based health clinics serve over 256,000 students, according to a news release.

“Proper health care is essential for a student’s academic success,” Stefanik said in a news release. “Regardless of the community they live in, students of all backgrounds deserve access to affordable primary health care. The SBHC program is a critical resource that ensures each student has a chance to succeed and make a difference in this world. I’m proud to co-lead this bipartisan, life-saving bill.”

Democratic U.S. Rep. John Sarbanes, from Maryland, is the other lead sponsor of the legislation.

School districts locally have been establishing school-based health clinics. Queensbury has had a program with Parsons since the fall of 2015, where students are able to access counseling services.

Cambridge has had a program with Parsons since the spring of 2017. Other districts have expressed interest in setting up programs.

Congressional art contest

Stefanik announced that the 2019 Congressional Art Competition is open to all high school students who live in the NY-21 Congressional District.

Artwork entered in the contest must be original, may be up to 26 inches by 26 inches, 4 inches in depth and cannot weigh more than 15 pounds. Types of media could include paintings using oil, acrylics and watercolor; drawings using colored pencil, pencil, ink, marker, pastels, charcoal; two-dimensional collages; lithographs, silkscreen or block prints; mixed media; computer-generated art and photographs.

Art can be submitted to one of Stefanik’s district office locations no later than April 26. Entrants must also submit a congressional release form, which can be found at https://www.house.gov.

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Michael Goot covers politics, business, the city of Glens Falls and the town and village of Lake George. Reach him at 518-742-3320 or mgoot@poststar.com and follow his blog at http://poststar.com/blogs/michael_goot/.

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reporter - Glens Falls, Northern Warren County, business and politics

Reporter for The Post-Star, covering the city of Glens Falls, town and village of Lake George and northern Warren County communities.

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