WASHINGTON—U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), a member of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee, on Friday authored an op-ed in Buzzfeed detailing the Trump administration’s systematic abandonment of Ukraine that started long before the July 25th call at the center of the House impeachment inquiry.

Murphy wrote: It is right for the American political class to be focused on the July 25th call between President Trump and Ukrainian President Zelensky, and the broader campaign by the Trump administration to subordinate the foreign policy of the United States to Trump’s reelection campaign. But our leap into an impeachment inquiry is surrounded by important context that the heat of the moment threatens to sweep under the rug.”

“[Trump] sees American credibility as a casino chip, to be traded in in order to convince Ukraine to help him in his reelection campaign. This cannot be allowed in a democracy, and that is why an impeachment inquiry is so vitally necessary,” Murphy continued.

Murphy concluded: “But as a longtime leader in the Senate for a strong U.S.-Ukraine relationship, my heart has been breaking for the last two years as I have watched the systematic campaign President Trump has waged to weaken Ukraine – a campaign that began long before that July 25th phone call or the disclosed text messages of Trump’s inner circle.”

On Thursday, Murphy put out a statement on the arrest of Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman for illegal campaign contributions. In May and following reports that Rudy Giuliani was traveling to Ukraine, Murphy sent a letter to U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Jim Risch to submit an official congressional inquiry to the Trump administration about why a private citizen was traveling to Ukraine to work with a foreign government in a Trump campaign re-election effort. After news broke of the whistleblowers complaint, Murphy again sent a letter to the Chairman of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee U.S. Senator Jim Risch (R-Idaho) to open an investigation into the matter. This week, Murphy also joined his colleagues on the Foreign Relations Committee in urging Chairman Risch to convene hearings on the Trump-Ukraine scandal. Separately, the senators also wrote Secretary of State Mike Pompeo demanding an explanation for Yovanovitch’s dismissal.

More excerpts from the op-ed are below and can be viewed here.

In many ways, the election of Volodymyr Zelensky was the result of America’s unprecedented, bipartisan campaign of support for Ukraine. Parts of Ukraine are still occupied by Russia, but the economy is stable and elections are free. Russia had hoped to be able to cripple Ukraine so badly, and penetrate their political system so comprehensively, that Ukrainians would just give up and elect a president who would link Ukraine back up with Russia,” Murphy wrote.

Murphy continued: “America is now consumed with a developing scandal over the corrupt requests Trump made of Zelensky to help destroy the Bidens and Clintons. But that is just the tip of the iceberg – since the beginning of his term, Trump has engaged in a systematic campaign to weaken Ukraine and destroy the ties that bind our two countries together. This is the missing context for the current impeachment debate.”

“Trump’s incredible softness on Russia also sent a chilling message to Ukraine. In particular, his refusal to do anything about Russian interference in the 2016 election sent a clear message to the Kremlin that there would be no consequences if they continued their electoral interference campaigns, particularly in Ukraine. And Trump resisted many other efforts to help Ukraine fight-off Russian aggression,” Murphy wrote.

Murphy continued: “Then, along came Rudy Giuliani, and things really started to unravel. The removal of Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch was a major blow. Yovanovitch was a Ukraine expert, and laser-focused on rooting out corruption.”

Read the full op-ed here.