To the editor,

Our democracy and our national security are in the midst of a very serious crisis. We need our leaders in Washington DC to stand up for the rule of law and defend our constitution and our country. Unfortunately, once again, Congressman John Katko is failing to do his job, instead preferring to play the role of Donald Trump’s defense attorney.

The facts are clear. Using the power of his office, President Donald Trump asked foreign governments to interfere in our election. He admitted doing this. The memo of his phone call with the Ukranian president corroborates this. The whistleblower complaint corroborates this. Text messages between Trump’s diplomats corroborate this. And if all of that evidence weren’t enough, he did it again. While talking to reporters in front of cameras on the South Lawn of the White House, the president asked the Ukraine and China to interfere in the 2020 election and investigate his political opponent.

President Trump’s actions undermine our national security and our democratic values. They are an abuse of power. They violate the law. And this is exactly what the framers of our Constitution had in mind when they created the power of impeachment. Their chief concerns were foreign interference in American affairs and a president who would use his office for personal gain.

Congress has a constitutional obligation to protect our nation and serve as a check on the president. They must hold him accountable if and when he violates his oath of office, poses a danger to our country, or breaks the law. By soliciting foreign governments to interfere in our election, President Donald Trump has done all of these things. Not only is it appropriate for the House to begin impeachment proceedings, it is required of them.

And yet, Congressman Katko refuses to fulfill his most important constitutional obligation. In fact, he will not even acknowledge the truth that’s right in front of us. We’ve seen this from him before--he did the same thing with the Mueller report. He denies the evidence that we are seeing with our own eyes and hearing with our own ears. There are two possibilities: either John Katko doesn’t understand the situation or he’s putting partisan politics ahead of the truth. Either way, John Katko is failing the people of central and western New York. He’s prioritizing giving political cover to Donald Trump over doing what’s right for us and for the country.

While we are facing a major national security threat and the very fundamentals of our democratic institutions are at stake, Congressman Katko is playing partisan political games and putting his party ahead of our country. By refusing to hold the president accountable, the Congressman is encouraging further abuse of power and sanctioning this behavior for future presidents.

I have some questions for Mr. Katko. Congressman, do you think President Trump’s solicitation of foreign interference in our election is acceptable? Are you so committed to protecting Donald Trump that you don’t care about protecting our national security? When will you put aside partisan politics and stand up for the people of central and western New York?  When will you uphold your oath of office and protect and defend our constitution? When will you do your job and hold this president accountable?

I expect we’ll be waiting quite a while for answers. Perhaps they will never come. So, in the meantime, let me be clear: Congressman Katko you are, in fact, not Donald Trump’s defense attorney. You are our elected representative. It’s time to do your job and stand up for the rule of law.

For the sake of our country, do the right thing.

Dana Balter is running for the Democratic nomination in New York’s 24th Congressional District.

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