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Murphy tours ECSU, defends Trump in impeachment probe

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U.S. Congressman Greg Murphy, R-N.C., holds a drone as Dr. Kuldeep Rawat, dean of Elizabeth City State University’s Department of Science, Technology and Engineering, explains how the device operates, during Murphy’s tour of the ECSU campus on Tuesday.

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By Paul Nielsen
Staff Writer

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

U.S. Rep. Greg Murphy is making good on one of his top priorities since winning election in September: getting to better know the expansive 3rd Congressional District.

But another top priority for Murphy has been defending President Donald Trump against the House impeachment inquiry that began just days after the Greenville Republican was sworn in on Sept. 17.

Murphy is currently barnstorming parts of the 17-county 3rd District and on Tuesday he spent part of the day in Elizabeth City. Murphy toured the U.S. Coast Guard Base Elizabeth City before meeting with officials at Elizabeth City State University and touring the campus. On Monday, Murphy visited Dare and Currituck counties to inspect Hurricane Dorian relief efforts and meet with local leaders.

During a tour of ECSU’s STEM complex, Murphy talked about his transition to Washington, his tour of the district, and his views on the House Democrats’ impeachment inquiry into President Trump.

Murphy voted against a House resolution that passed last week — without any GOP votes — authorizing the guidelines, which include public hearings, of the impeachment inquiry, saying after the vote that the effort to investigate Trump was a “smear” and an attempt to “reverse the 2016 election.”

Murphy also was one of about 30 GOP Congress members who, on Oct. 23, stormed a House Intelligence Committee closed-door impeachment inquiry deposition that was being conducted in a secure room at the Capitol.

Murphy said he joined the effort because the investigation is being controlled by Democrats and conducted behind closed doors. However, both Republicans and Democrats on the Intelligence Committee have been present for the closed-door depositions.

“I think the important thing was that we feel like the process should be a fair, open and transparent one,” Murphy said of taking part in the Oct. 23 demonstration. “It has been anything but that to this point and we are trying to get our message out that that’s what needs to be done.”

The heart of the impeachment inquiry surrounds a phone call between President Trump and Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky. A transcript of the July 25 call released by the White House reveals that Trump asked Zelensky to start a corruption investigation against a company connected to the son of former Vice-President Joe Biden, one of Trump’s potential Democratic rivals for president in 2020.

Murphy said he has no problems with what was said during the call. He said Trump was doing his job ensuring that aid from the United States is not sent to corrupt entities, even if that means asking a foreign nation to investigate American citizens.

“The fact that it came out with what actually the president said really reinforces my belief that nothing is there,” Murphy said, referring to the transcript of the call. “The president of the United States has an obligation to the American people that aid is sent to a government that is not corrupt or involved in corruption. Any president — President Trump, President Obama, President Clinton — all had those obligations to make sure money given by the American taxpayers is used wisely.”

Murphy is planning to visit all parts of the 3rd District in the coming weeks. He said one of his priorities is providing constituent services for citizens who are facing real-world problems. The district did not have a representative for over seven months following the death of Congressman Walter Jones in February.

“I want to meet the people I represent and see the different constituencies that I serve,” Murphy said. “The transition has been good and it has been a tumultuous political time in Washington, D.C. But what I am really concentrating on as best that I can is getting constituent services back up and running for District 3. That has been my main focus.’’

While at ECSU, Murphy toured the school’s aviation program and at one stop he jumped into a flight simulator with an ECSU staff member.

“I haven’t crashed yet,” Murphy said minutes before doing just that as his simulated flight fell short of the runway.

Murphy praised the work being done at ECSU and called the campus a critical regional economic and educational asset.

“Elizabeth City State University, along with East Carolina University, are our hallmarks of what the east is trying to do in higher education,” Murphy said. “I’m glad to come here and learn about it and support it.”

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