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COMMENTARY: A tough but necessary decision on impeachment

I write this with a heavy heart. On Sept. 24, I made the solemn decision to support an impeachment inquiry of President Donald Trump. My decision was based on a few key, but alarming, facts.

First of all, as President Trump himself admitted and an official White House phone call summary confirmed, a sitting American president called on the president of a foreign country to interfere in our elections. He has since admitted that he made these requests and has made additional public requests for foreign countries to interfere in our elections.

Second, it is clear that this administration interfered in the lawful release of a whistleblower complaint from a brave American public servant who spoke up because of the threat to our democracy that the president’s actions posed during that phone call.

And, third, allegations based on an official White House summary and an official U.S. intelligence report indicate that the president brazenly used taxpayer dollars as a bargaining chip — taxpayer dollars that the American government had dedicated to protecting our allies in Europe and our troops stationed there.

All of these facts lead me to believe that the president betrayed the Constitution by abusing the power of his office. I took an oath of office to uphold the Constitution, as did every member of Congress, regardless of party. We have begun an inquiry because, frankly, we had no other choice. Our Founding Fathers created this process, and this is the time for our leaders, including my GOP colleagues, to step up and protect our country. We all have an obligation to put country before party and politics.

I am thankful that there is bipartisan support for this ongoing investigation, and I hope that every member of Congress will join me in allowing the inquiry to run its course before ultimately deciding on whether the president should be impeached. Only through this process will Congress be able to weigh the facts and make the right decision for the sake of our country.

Underscoring my decision is the importance of the American-Ukrainian relationship and why a request for a personal favor is a serious national security threat.

The ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine threatens the stability of American national security interests in Europe and the world. The United States has spent millions of taxpayer dollars and sent thousands of American troops to Ukraine, a critical ally, to protect and defend this democracy from Russian aggression. Ukraine’s dependence on the United States for its security means that the president leveraging that dependence for personal gain is a very serious abuse of power and turns the guarantees of American security into a protection racket.

Since my first day in Congress, one question has guided every decision I’ve made: How does my decision improve the lives of my constituents? While this inquiry continues, I will keep working to address the problems facing Nevada families, from lowering prescription drug prices to expanding educational opportunities to protecting the benefits our veterans have earned. The stakes are too high to put that work on hold.

Be assured that the best interests of families in Southern Nevada are at the very core of everything I do in Congress. And it begins with protecting our democracy, national security and Constitution.

Susie Lee, a first-term Democrat, represents Nevada’s 3rd Congressional District.

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