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Congressman Lee Zeldin

Photo from Congressman Lee Zeldin's office

U.S. Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-NY1) was speaking at a campaign event upstate when a man approached him and allegedly tried to stab him.

Zeldin is the Republican Party and Conservative Party nominee for New York State governor. The congressman was speaking at a VFW post in the Village of Fairport on the Erie Canal on July 21, when the man approached him after walking on the congressman’s platform. According to a July 22 post on Zeldin’s Facebook page, the congressman said, “His words as he tried to stab me a few hours ago were, ‘You’re done.’”

Zeldin grabbed the attacker’s wrist, and several attendees, including his running mate Alison Esposito, tackled the man. The congressman served active duty in the U.S. Army for four years and is currently a lieutenant colonel in the Army Reserve. Esposito is a former NYPD deputy inspector. The alleged attacker was taken into custody by local law enforcement.

The alleged attack happened at approximately 8 p.m., according to a press release from the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office. The male, identified as David Jakubonis, 43, of Fairport, allegedly had a weapon in his hand, according to the police. The sheriff’s office said he “swung it toward Zeldin’s neck.”

There were no injuries, and the candidate was able to finish his speech, according to his staff.

The Monroe County Sheriff’s Office charged Jakubonis with attempted assault in the second degree. He was arraigned and released on his own recognizance.

On July 23, U.S. attorney Trini Ross announced that Jakubonis was arrested again, according to a press release from the U.S. District’s Attorney’s Office, Western District of New York. This time the alleged attacker was arrested by the FBI and was charged with assaulting a Congress member using a dangerous weapon. According to the press release, Jakubonis can spend up to 10 years in prison if found guilty.

The defendant allegedly “extended a keychain with two sharp points” toward Zeldin, according to the press release.

Jakubonis is being held pending a July 27 detention hearing.

According to a federal criminal complaint filed in the U.S. District Court by an FBI special agent, Jakubonis, who served one tour in the Iraq War, drank whiskey on the day of the event. He walked onstage to ask Zeldin “if he was disrespecting veterans.” He told Monroe County investigators he didn’t know who the congressman was when he approached him.

“When shown a video of the incident, Jakubonis stated in sum and substance, that what was depicted in the video was disgusting and that he ‘must have checked out,’” according to the criminal complaint.

Zeldin criticized the release of Jakubonis by the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office and was grateful that federal authorities stepped in.

“I’m thankful that federal authorities came in to do what New York State’s broken pro-criminal justice system could not: Uphold the rule of law,” Zeldin said in a press release. “The state must start prioritizing the safety of law-abiding New Yorkers over criminals. Cashless bail must be repealed and judges should have discretion to set cash bail on far more offenses.”

 A representative from Zeldin’s office said the congressman’s security has been increased.

Updated July 24 to reflect federal arrest.

 

File photo

Suffolk County Police have arrested a Huntington man for allegedly spray painting a political sign with a swastika.

A swastika, “187,” and the word “Gambino,” were found painted onto a Lee Zeldin campaign sign, located on the corner of West Pulaski Road and Oakwood Road in Huntington Station, on June 26 at approximately 10:05 a.m.

After an investigation, Hate Crimes Unit detectives arrested Vincent J. Mckie outside his home on Oakwood Road on June 28 at 12:25 p.m..

Mckie, 41, was charged with Aggravated Harassment 1st Degree, a hate crime, and Criminal Mischief 4th Degree. He will be arraigned at First District Court in Central Islip on a later date.

A criminal charge is an accusation. A defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.

Congressman Lee Zeldin. File photo

Last week, Congressman Lee Zeldin (R-NY1) formally announced that he is now in remission from leukemia. 

The Shirley native said that back in November 2020, he was diagnosed with the illness and after nine long months he’s now cancer-free.

It’s impressive. Zeldin has done quite a lot while battling cancer — and keeping it quiet from the public. 

He won his reelection the same month he was diagnosed; he was in Congress when the insurrection in the U.S. Capitol happened in January; he announced his run for governor and has been campaigning for that office since.

While he has been busy at work throughout his treatment, he also has done some things that a typical cancer patient would absolutely steer away from.

We’re happy to hear that he’s healthy again and he has beaten a disease that has taken thousands of lives. But what’s most concerning is that while going through chemotherapy, he chose not to wear a mask and, in fact, has taken a strong stance against them. 

Masks are protecting others — such as Zeldin now — who have compromised immune systems, and who are most at risk. 

It was discouraging to know now that the congressman has held several anti-mask and Unmask Our Kids rallies, where people were in close proximity to each other. 

Zeldin was the lucky one — other people are not always so lucky and with new variants spreading, immunocompromised people could be hit harder.

According to a new study published by University College London, cancer has become an increasing public health priority in the U.K. after vaccines and other measures continued to contain the spread of COVID-19. Findings from the study showed 40,000 late diagnoses of cancer due to a lack of emergency referrals by general doctors and fewer face-to-face appointments. Delays caused by lockdown could result in 10,000 people dying of cancer “significantly earlier” than would otherwise have been the case.

Could the U.S. follow suit? 

We hope that representatives such as Zeldin, who now has personal experience to relate to, will reconsider their stances on anti-masking, vaccinations and general public health. 

The cold months are coming, and germs will be everywhere — we need to keep each other safe. 

From New York State website

On Tuesday, Aug. 10, New York State Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) announced his resignation.

The announcement came a week after the release of a report by state Attorney General Letitia James (D) saying independent investigators concluded that the governor harassed multiple women from 2013-20. The resignation came after a virtual press conference held by his attorney Rita Glavin. She criticized the attorney general’s report and said it contains errors and omissions when recounting allegations made against Cuomo. Glavin added that each account needs more investigation.

“I think that women should be believed and they should be treated fairly,” she said. “I also believe men should be believed and treated fairly. All people should be given that, and everybody should have a chance to respond, and everybody should be scrutinized with what they say by facts, context and evidence. That hasn’t happened here.”

After the attorney general’s report was released, one of the alleged victims, former executive assistant Brittany Commisso, filed a criminal complaint saying the governor groped her and fondled her breast.

Cuomo said during his announcement that he will step down in 14 days. He will be replaced by Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) who will become the state’s first female governor.

The outgoing governor said he thanked those with sincere complaints as the women coming forward taught him an important lesson, and he said he took responsibility.

He added he felt that with some there are other “motivations at play.”

Local legislators react

Shortly after Cuomo announced his resignation, U.S. Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-NY1), who has been named the presumptive Republican nominee for governor in the 2022 race, released a statement saying the governor was “resigning to skirt all repercussions for his actions as opposed to accounting for his misconduct. He knows he would be impeached. He knows he would be voted out of office.” 

“Andrew Cuomo broke the law and criminal repercussions must follow, despite him no longer serving in public office,” Zeldin said. “From his deadly nursing home order and cover-up, to his $5.1 million self-congratulatory book deal and serial harassment and abuse of others, he’s been unfit to continue serving for a long period of time.”

Zeldin also criticized Hochul in his Aug. 10 statement.

“Unfortunately, for New Yorkers, we’re left with Cuomo’s lieutenant who empowered this disgusting behavior while Andrew Cuomo cultivated this toxic culture, leaving a trail of victims in its wake,” Zeldin said. “Kathy Hochul has been silent scandal after scandal, from fatal nursing home policies and cover-ups to rampant harassment, intimidation, bullying and abuse.”

State Sen. Jim Gaughran (D-Northport) called the past few months “a very difficult period for the people of New York state” in a statement.

“I thank and commend the incredibly brave women who stepped forward and spoke truth to power,” he said. “No one is above the law.”

In the statement, Gaughran praised the next NYS governor and said he looks forward to working with her.

“I have known and worked with Kathy Hochul for years and there is no one better equipped to step in and lead New York as the state continues to navigate the pandemic and heal from these past few months,” he said. “Her decades of public service across the local, state and federal levels will serve New Yorkers well and help lead the state through this tumultuous time.”

State Sen. Anthony Palumbo (R-New Suffolk) said Cuomo’s “impending resignation is welcome news to New Yorkers.” He said the move saves the time and money that would be invested in impeachment.

“Now, state government must refocus its energies on defeating the COVID Delta variant, working to rebuild New York’s struggling economy and infrastructure, and combating the rise in violent crime,” he said.

“I look forward to working with New York’s first female governor, Kathy Hochul, to put this dark episode in state government behind us and work to heal the state as we move forward through these times of great uncertainty,” Palumbo said.

State Sen. Mario Mattera (R-St. James) on his official Facebook page said the resignation announcement should have happened months ago.

“Andrew Cuomo has abused his power in a truly reprehensible manner and it is unacceptable that he and his team attempted to hide or excuse his disgusting behavior,” Mattera wrote. “They must all be held accountable and it is imperative that all ongoing and future investigations be allowed to proceed to their rightful conclusions.”

Mattera said he is ready to work with Hochul.

“I congratulate her on this historic moment and promise my support and cooperation as she begins her tenure,” he said. “This is a truly tragic story of abuse and betrayal that has now reached its conclusion, and we need to make sure that today serves as the dawn of a new era for every New Yorker.”

Hochul’s first day in office will be Tuesday, Aug. 24.

Suffolk County Legislator Kara Hahn announced her bid to run for Congress on June 2. Photo from Hahn’s campaign office

As TBR News Media papers were going to press Wednesday, June 2, Suffolk County Legislator Kara Hahn (D-Setauket) was scheduled to discuss something big in the front courtyard of the Three Village Inn in Stony Brook later in the day.

Hahn, who is also deputy presiding officer of the county Legislature, announced in a press release June 2, her bid to be the next congresswoman for New York’s 1st Congressional District. The seat is currently held by U.S. Rep. Lee Zeldin (R) who has his eyes on the New York State governor’s seat in 2022.

The June 2 event was organized for Hahn to make her first public remarks about her decision. When she was younger, Hahn was a waitress at the Three Village Inn.

She said in the press release she is running for Congress “to make an even greater impact for the community where she grew up and continues to raise her family today.”

“For too long, our community has paid the price for a representative in Washington who is more dedicated to partisan politics than the needs of this district,” Hahn said. “The cost of living on Long Island is squeezing students, workers and homeowners across this district, and it’s time we have a representative that’s laser-focused on building an economy that supports Suffolk County’s working families.”

In her time in the Legislature, Hahn has risen to the deputy presiding officer leadership post and her accomplishments include authoring laws to protect land and water from pollutants, leading the charge to confront Long Island’s opioid epidemic, and working to keep women and children safe from domestic abusers.

The legislator lives in Setauket with her husband Chris and two daughters. For more information on her campaign, visit www.karaforcongress.com.

File photo by Erika Karp

By Leah Chiappino

Despite high marks from his handling of the pandemic, Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) has recently faced seven allegations of sexual harassment. 

The allegations come after a Jan. 28 report by the state attorney general, Letitia James (D), alleging the governor’s administration undercounted COVID-19 deaths in nursing homes by as much as 50 percent.  

Due to these recent developments, many elected officials have called on the governor to resign,  including U.S. Sens. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY). 

“Confronting and overcoming the COVID crisis requires sure and steady leadership,” they said in a joint statement March 12. “We commend the brave actions of the individuals who have come forward with serious allegations of abuse and misconduct. Due to the multiple, credible sexual harassment and misconduct allegations, it is clear that Governor Cuomo has lost the confidence of his governing partners and the people of New York. Governor Cuomo should resign.”

Graphic by Leah Chiappino

U.S. Rep.  Lee Zeldin (R-NY1), an ardent Cuomo critic who is eyeing a run for governor next year, echoed calls for Cuomo to resign. 

When news of the seventh allegation broke, Zeldin issued a statement, also March 12, which read, “Andrew Cuomo has abused the power and privilege entrusted to him by the people of New York, and his most recent remarks could not make this more clear. His continued attempts to discredit the individuals who have come forward, question their ‘motives’ and more underscore just how far he’ll go to dodge any and all responsibility. His actions are inexcusable and unforgivable, and it’s up to each and every New Yorker — legislators, the media and voters — to hold him accountable.”

The congressman also criticized Cuomo’s handling of nursing homes. “The [U.S.] Department of Justice needs to immediately open an obstruction of justice investigation into Governor Cuomo and his administration,” he said in another statement, Feb. 12. “It’s now being reported there has been a direct admission of their nursing home coverup with the intent of blocking a DOJ investigation. The families of thousands of dead New York seniors deserve accountability and justice for the true consequences of Governor Cuomo’s fatally flawed nursing home policy and the continued attempts to cover it up.”

Local state Republicans, have also called on Cuomo to resign. State Sen. Mario Mattera (R-St. James) said that if Cuomo does not resign, the State Assembly and Senate should move forward with impeachment proceedings. “While I did not come to this decision lightly, the time has come for new leadership so that all elected officials can return to doing the work our residents need without the numerous distractions that have plagued our state recently,” the March 11 statement read. “As a husband and a father, the continual unveiling of new sexual assault allegations — now sexual abuse — against Governor Cuomo are simply appalling. Equally important, his administration’s admitted altering of data and misdirection regarding our state’s nursing homes are simply unacceptable.”

State Sen. Anthony Palumbo (R-New Suffolk) agreed the governor should resign in light of the harassment allegations against him. “In the wake of numerous sexual harassment allegations and now a deeply disturbing claim of sexual assault against Governor Cuomo, I truly question his ability to lead our state through these difficult times,” he said in a statement, also March 11.  “While I am a firm believer in due process and feel strongly that everyone is entitled to their day in court, these scandals undermine the governor’s ability to conduct his official duties and have irreparably damaged the public’s trust in the state’s top executive.”

The majority of local Democrats are awaiting the independent investigation called for by AG James before making a final determination. 

However, state Sen. Jim Gaughran (D-Northport), released a statement in coordination with the Long Island State Senate majority, calling on Cuomo to step down until the attorney general finishes her investigation into the sexual harassment claims. “The gravity of these claims makes it clear to us that the governor cannot lead the state while faithfully responding to multiple investigations,” the March 12 statement read. “This is especially true in light of the impending state budget deadline, the need to continue guiding the state through the pandemic and the fragility of the state’s economic recovery.”

Graphic by Leah Chiappino

U.S. Rep. Tom Suozzi (D-NY3), said that if Cuomo cannot simultaneously comply with the investigations against him and govern the state, he should consider resigning. “The governor is entitled to due process on the many serious and disturbing allegations that have been made against him,” he said in a March 12 statement. “I have confidence that the attorney general and the NYS Assembly will conduct thorough investigations. … I believe the governor must seriously consider whether he can effectively continue to govern in the midst of these unfolding allegations.  If he cannot effectively govern with all of the controversy surrounding him, he must put the interests of all New Yorkers first and he should resign.”

State Assemblyman Steve Stern (D-Dix Hills), said he supports the investigation by the state attorney general into the accusations against Cuomo. “These allegations of sexual harassment must be taken seriously, and it is imperative that a transparent and independent inquiry begin immediately,” he said. “I also support the Assembly Judiciary Committee’s simultaneous investigation to determine if any impeachable offenses were committed. The committee will have the authority to interview witnesses, subpoena documents and evaluate evidence, all of which is provided under the New York State Constitution.” 

While Cuomo has repeatedly apologized for making his accusers feel uncomfortable, he has denied that he ever groped anyone and has refused to resign.

A March 15 Siena poll, as reported by Politico, indicated that a total of 57% of respondents are “satisfied with the way Cuomo has addressed the allegations” while 32% are “not satisfied.” As for the resignation issue, 50% say he should not leave office, 35% say he should and 15% are undecided.

Groups gathered outside local congressional offices demanding that President Donald Trump (R) be impeached and convicted, and for Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-NY1) to be expelled from Congress following his vote against the certification of Electoral College ballots. 

On Monday, Jan. 11, the group Suffolk Progressives organized the protest and created a petition, demanding Zeldin leave his position. 

Shoshana Hershkowitz, from South Setauket, who founded the group, said they are against the congressman’s vote challenging the results of the 2020 presidential election — even after the deadly riots at the U.S. Capitol Jan. 6. 

“He continued to talk about his feelings despite the evidence from the country,” Hershkowitz said. “On Jan. 2, he put a tweet out saying this is a lie. … Those words unfortunately they came to fruition on Jan. 6.”

After the mass attack on the Capitol by pro-Trump extremists, Zeldin still voted to object the election of President-elect Joe Biden (D), and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris (D). 

“The combination of all of it, and then going back into the chamber after all of this violence and death, refusing to accept those results, trying to overturn the people … it was mind-blowing,” she said.

Upon Zeldin’s vote, Hershkowitz and her group penned a petition that is now up to nearly 2,000 signatures, calling for his expulsion.  

“I was hoping that after all this he would change his tune,” she said.

On Monday, Jan. 11, a group of more than 100 people gathered outside of Zeldin’s Patchogue office. A smaller group of counter-protesters stood across the street. 

Members further west rallied outside Rep. Tom Suozzi’s (D-NY3) Huntington office, asking him to demand that Zeldin be accountable. Suozzi supports the removal of Trump through the 25th Amendment or impeachment. 

The day of the insurrection, Zeldin released a statement.

“This should never be the scene at the U.S. Capitol,” he said. “This is not the America we all love. We can debate, and we can disagree, even on a January 6th following a presidential election. We can all passionately love our country, but in our republic, we elect people to represent us to voice our objections in the House and Senate on this day.”

He added that there must be “zero tolerance for violence in any form.”

Hershkowitz said she will be sending the petition to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA). 

“I believe that these people shouldn’t be sitting in Congress,” the group organizer said.

U.S. Rep. Lee Zeldin said there is not much risk of the Dwyer program being defunded any time soon. File photo by Kevin Redding

U.S. Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-NY-1) was named to President Donald Trump’s (R) legal defense team regarding the Senate’s impeachment trial, which just began today, Jan. 21.

Seven other members of the U.S. House of Representatives have also been named to the team as well. Zeldin has been a big proponent of the president and has decried the impeachment trial constantly on cable news shows and on Twitter. The other members of the team have also been outspoken allies of Trump, including fellow Rep. Elise Stefanik, whose district includes a large part of upstate New York. 

“The President NEVER should have been impeached in the first place!” Zeldin wrote to Twitter, also congratulating his fellow congress members on being assigned to the legal team.

The White House statement announcing Zeldin’s position said that such officials have already provided guidance to the White House Team, and derided the impeachment proceedings in the house, saying it was “concocted” by Democrats.

People planning to run against Zeldin were quick to condemn him for accepting the position. In a release, Nancy Goroff, a Stony Brook Democrat planning to run for the 1st congressional seat, said the congressman “has his priorities upside down and backwards, caring more about lying for President Trump than standing up for his constituents.”

For a full Q&A of Zeldin and his thoughts on impeachment, visit: https://tbrnewsmedia.com/one-on-one-with-lee-zeldin/

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Representatives Thomas Suozzi (D-NY-3) and Peter King (R-NY-2) have introduced bipartisan legislation to reverse the impact of last year’s tax overhaul, which eliminated the deduction of state and local taxes from federal filings. If passed, people who live in high-salary, high-tax areas, such as Long Island would regain write-offs plus other benefits. 

“The SALT cap was particularly unfair to Long Islanders and New Yorkers because they already subsidize other states by paying $48 billion more into the federal government than we receive back,” Suozzi said in a statement. “It is a tax on taxes already paid, and it hits the homeowners whose local taxes fund police, firefighters and other services.” 

The legislation, called the Restoring Tax Fairness for States and Localities Act, would eliminate the marriage penalty by doubling the cap to $20,000 for joint filers for 2019 and would fully restore state and local tax (SALT) deductions for 2020 and 2021. 

The cost of the plan would be fully offset by returning the top individual tax rate from 37 percent, back to 39.6 percent, the number prior to the GOP tax bill of 2017.   

Suozzi’s district includes parts of Queens and extends into Nassau and Suffolk counties, mainly along the North Shore and includes parts of Kings Park.  In the region, more than 250,000 families reportedly have claimed the SALT deduction at an average rate of $18,300. Capping the deduction has cost Long Islanders, and all New Yorkers, billions in additional taxes, according Suozzi. In fact, Suozzi reports that the average SALT burden statewide is above the $10,000 cap in 52 of 62 counties.

“Eliminating deductions for local and state taxes will have a devastating effect on New York. We give far more to Washington than we get back. For every dollar we give, we get $0.79 back. That’s a $48 billion shortfall and hurts our middle-class Long Islanders. This legislation is critical,” Rep. King said in a statement. 

Some elected officials are skeptical of the legislation. 

Earlier this year, Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-NY-1) introduced legislation that would fully reinstate SALT reductions and also close previously unaddressed loopholes. He said he prefers that to raising the individual tax rate. 

“The issue Congressman Zeldin has with this new proposal by Representative Suozzi and others is that it permanently raises the 37 percent individual tax rate to 39.6 percent and only temporarily makes changes to the SALT deduction until 2021,” said Katie Vincentz, Zeldin’s spokesperson. 

Zeldin, Vincentz said, would be happy to work with Suozzi and King to fix the current proposal and reiterated that the legislation Zeldin introduced would permanently reinstate the deduction without raising individual income taxes.

The Restoring Tax Fairness for States and Localities Act was approved in the House Committee on Ways and Means Dec. 10. 

“In the midst of all the battles in Washington, D.C., I know that my constituents on Long Island want tax fairness. The 2017 cap on SALT broke a century-old agreement. A covenant to protect state and local government and my bill restores that protection, it restores that covenant, and it restores fairness as well,” said Suozzi. “I thank Chairman Neal and the Ways and Means Committee for passing my bipartisan legislation and I hope it will be passed by the House of Representatives in short order.”

Congressman discusses impeachment hearings and more

Congressman Lee Zeldin. File photo by Victoria Espinoza

The U.S. House of Representatives has recommended filing articles of impeachment of the 45th president of the United States of America Donald J. Trump (R). Many elected officials, mostly Democrats and constitutional scholars, see a moral and legal imperative for their position, while Republicans have largely remained loyal to their party leader. With some experts saying that the nation is under threat, the situation demands   everyone’s full attention. Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-NY-1) is the elected congressional representative for most of Suffolk County. His district extends to the west to the eastern edges of Kings Park and includes Smithtown and Hauppauge and parts of Commack. Hours after the recommendation was announced on Dec. 5, Rep. Zeldin agreed to an email interview on the topic of impeachment. 

Do you see any compelling reason for impeachment?

No.

In your view, what constitutes a crime or misdemeanor offense worthy of impeachment?

Treason, bribery or other high crimes and misdemeanors as laid out in Section 4 of Article II of the Constitution.

(Article II, Section 4 of the Constitution: The President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.)

What’s your reaction to the impeachment?

Instead of focusing on opposing everything and anything, House Democrats should focus on the issues most important to the American people, working on bipartisan victories to pass the [U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement] USMCA, combat the heroin and opioid abuse epidemic, secure our borders and so much more. 

(Editor’s note: The White House and House Democrats reached a deal Dec. 10 to pass the USMCA.)

Why did you, along with other House Republicans, interrupt a committee meeting that had members of both parties in attendance and stall the impeachment probe?

The premise of your question is false. As a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, I was already in the SCIF in my seat when those other members walked in.

What is your take on House Republicans interrupting on Oct. 23 the impeachment probe committee meeting?   

There should have been greater transparency and a fairer process in the first place. They were very frustrated as elected members of Congress being completely in the dark while being asked questions back home from constituents and local media about what was going on with the impeachment inquiry.

Do you believe a U.S. president should use U.S. taxpayer dollars as leverage to coerce a foreign leader to investigate a political rival? 

If you are asking that question related to the Ukraine fact pattern, then I disagree with the premise of your question.

What is your take on what happened with President Trump requesting [help from]Ukraine leader Volodymyr Zelensky? 

Can you clarify this question?

Clarification: Do you find any of these actions objectionable? President Trump requested in a July 25, 2019, phone call that Ukrainian President Volodymr Zelensky take a call from his personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani to discuss an investigation into the son of his political rival. The White House then placed that same day a formal hold on $250 million congressionally approved security funding for Ukraine. The funds were ultimately released Sept. 11 after a whistle-blower filed a complaint, 85 days after the Pentagon announced that aid had become available, 19 days before funds expire.

That is your version of the story. You are entitled to your opinion but I obviously would disagree with the premise of your question.

Do you believe that Ukraine and not Russia interfered in the 2016 election?

Russia interfered in the 2016 election. Ukrainians also interfered in the 2016 election. That is indisputable. The scope and nature of the interference was different in the two examples, not on the same scale, and should not be equated.

Are you planning to make the impeachment proceedings a point in your upcoming reelection campaign?

The Democrats are ripping our country in half with their destructive impeachment obsession.

Has anything in the ongoing impeachment proceedings changed your mind concerning the actions of the president?

No.

Can you please tell us how many former members of Trump’s campaign, cabinet and personal lawyers have been investigated and/or convicted of crimes? What’s your reaction to this?

I’m not aware of any new information to add beyond what you know already.

As a member of the Foreign Affairs Committee, when did you become aware of the removal of U.S. troops from Kurdish territories? Do you believe other countries or leaders have benefited from that strategy?  

As I relayed to you immediately following the announcement, the Kurds have fought, bled and died fighting alongside the US. They have been warriors and brothers in battle along the way. The president is right to want to end endless war, but the Turks wiping out the Kurds would absolutely not be an acceptable outcome after all of that.

(On background, Zeldin voted in favor of the House resolution [H.J. Res. 77 Opposing the decision to end certain United States efforts to prevent Turkish military operations against Syrian Kurdish forces in Northeast Syria] regarding this issue. The resolution indicated that the policy was in the best interest of Russia and not U.S.)

What do you believe are President Trump’s top three accomplishments in office? 

Helping grow the economy, tackling illegal immigration and going after MS-13, among many other victories.

Could you list three negative things that he has fostered? 

The SALT deduction change, an offshore drilling proposal impacting the Atlantic and certain funding levels in the federal budget.

Many of your North Shore constituents are calling for more Town Hall-style meetings. Are you planning any?

I had a town hall in September hosted by the Mastic Beach Property Owners Association. The event was completely open to anyone in the public and was widely promoted and attended by the Democratic Party and they got their questions and comments in, including multiple times with 2, 3, and more follow-ups to their original question/comment. This is in addition to Mobile Office Hours, Coffee with Your Congressman and many other meetings and events. This is the pace that I’ve set and maintained since entering Congress in 2015. As I’ve said time and time again, if someone wishes to participate in a future meeting or would like to schedule a time to meet one-on-one, they can contact my office at 631-289-1097 to find a time most convenient for them, including after work or on the weekend. For example, this year in Smithtown alone, I’ve held Mobile Office Hours and Coffee with Your Congressman. 

Can you please define for your constituents what corruption means? 

An example is a corrupt Ukrainian energy company run by a corrupt Ukrainian oligarch hiring someone with no Ukraine experience and no energy experience for at least $50,000 per month for the sole reason that they are the vice president’s son.

Can you please offer the distinctions between a democracy, autocracy and dictatorship? 

The widely accepted definitions are as follows:

Democracy: A government in which the supreme power is vested in the people and exercised by them directly or indirectly through a system of representation usually involving periodically held free elections.

Autocracy: Government in which one person possesses unlimited power.

Dictatorship: A form of government in which absolute power is concentrated in a dictator or a small clique.

Also, Michael Cohen is behind bars for campaign finance violations that include paying Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal to keep quiet about their affairs with Donald Trump. Cohen testified that it was done in coordination with Donald Trump. Does paying “hush money” to influence the outcome of an election equate with bribery or a high crime or misdemeanor? Why or why not? Is it corruption?  

He made these claims before Congress after pleading guilty to crimes, one of which was lying to Congress. He’s not a reliable witness to say the least.