Published on November 15, 2019 by Haley Byrd

(CNN) — Republican Rep. Elise Stefanik of New York, a member of the House Intelligence Committee, has played a key role inthis week’s public impeachment hearings,ardently defending President Donald Trump, sparring with Democrats on the committee and earning praise from the White House.

“These hearings are not about tweets, they are about impeachment of the President of the United States,” Stefanik said at a contentious press briefing following Friday’s hearing. “This is a constitutional matter. You can disagree or dislike the tweet, but we are here to talk about impeachment and nothing in that room today and nothing in that room this week nothing rises to the level of impeachable offenses.”

Stefanik herself told CNN earlier on Friday that she disagreed withthe tweet in question— one in which Trump attacked former US ambassador to UkraineMarie Yovanovitch, which Democrats argue could amount to witness tampering — but it didn’t sway her from standing squarely behind the President throughout the hearing.

“I disagree with the tweet. I think Ambassador Yovanovitch is a public servant, like many of our public servants in the foreign service,” she said.

During the hearing, Stefanik focusedon the whistleblowerat the heart of the impeachment probe and hit Democrats for not pursuing testimony from the anonymous intelligence community professional.

Democrats say the whistleblower’s testimony is unnecessary giventhe President’s public statementsabout his interactions with Ukraine and the information brought by witnesses who have already come forward.

For some congressional observers, the impeachment inquiry may be their first introduction to congresswoman, but she’s been making waves on Capitol Hill for nearly five years.

Stefanik, 35, was first elected in 2014, when she was 30 years old, becoming — at the time — the youngest woman ever elected to Congress.

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