A July 17 letter writer stated that constant talk of Russian election meddling was “beating a dead horse” and that President Donald Trump realizes it’s time to “move on from an unchangeable past.” He asks what Trump should do. Here are some ideas:
1) State unequivocally that cyberattacks on our election systems have and are occurring, and that these attacks are being carried out with the support of the Russian government.
2) Further acknowledge that, since free and fair elections are a core principle of our democracy, interference is illegal and must be stopped at all costs as soon as possible.
3) Announce an expanded effort, with the highest priority, by the Federal Election Commission to work with state election officials to review and improve security measures to prevent further attacks. Additional funds should be made available, and used appropriately, to make necessary improvements.
4) Immediately impose additional sanctions on Russia, with a clear message that more sanctions will follow if Russia does not stop the attacks.
5) Make it abundantly clear that there will be no improvement in relations with the Russians without meaningful action on their part to stop cyberattacks on any foreign nation.
Regardless of how effective the Russian efforts have been to date, they represent an attack on our democracy. Does the letter writer (and President Trump) think that improved relations without consequences for these actions will stop Russia from continuing? This lack of concern is an indication that Trump and his supporters do not really care for our country or understand the importance of our electoral process, which I find both hypocritical and appalling.
John Cannon, Minneapolis
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In light of what we know about Russian attacks on American election infrastructure, from our intelligence agencies and the Department of Justice’s indictments of a dozen Russian military personnel, the Minnesota secretary of state should do an immediate and thorough audit of the security of Minnesota’s voter information, registration rolls and electronic voting machines. The state should encourage voting-by-mail, with the security and convenience of paper ballots, as the default method of voting, even if it means we will have to wait longer to hear results.
Far from taking the necessary decisive action, President Trump has shown no interest in safeguarding our elections, instead inviting Russian intelligence to collaborate with those who uncovered their crimes. The states and counties of America are left to safeguard the foundation of democracy on their own. Eligible Minnesota residents can request absentee/vote by mail ballots online at MNVotes.org. But we need an audit, so we know where we are vulnerable and what damage the Russians may have done in our state.
John McAndrew, Rochester
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Supporters of the current occupant of the Oval Office continue to say there is no evidence of any vote during the 2016 election being compromised. That is probably true, in that the Russian hackers were most likely not able to get into a voting machine and actually change a vote from candidate x to candidate y.
To me, the real problem is the theft and dissemination of stolen e-mails, and the use of social media to send a barrage of fake news and false accusations. That onslaught of corrupt information swayed enough people’s minds before they even entered the voting booth. That is what compromised the voting process.
Even in the face of overwhelming evidence provided by our intelligence services regarding those hacking issues, too many are unwilling to see the Russians for what they really are, a ruthless government intent on the continued decay and demise of our free elections and the rule of law.
Ron Bender, Richfield
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His face was serene now, the color slowly leaving as his body went limp in my arms. His face belied the fact that his body was full of holes and his blood everywhere. He, like me, was 19 or 20ish, an American soldier in Vietnam.
He was cut down on a mission that ultimately uncovered a Russian weapons and ammunition cache. The same bullets that took his life. He was one of many killed then by Russian munitions, but as he lay in my arms, my tears washing his face, I could only think of the family he no doubt had at home and how their lives would be devastated by his death.
Only later did the Russian connection become known to me.
February 2014: Russia invades Ukraine and takes Crimea — more than 10,000 killed to present.
July 17, 2014: A Malaysia Airlines jet is shot down by Russian agents — 298 killed.
2000 to present: Hundreds of Russian journalists murdered.
September 2015: Russia supports Syrian President Assad in murdering thousands of his own people, some with chemical weapons.
I could go on. Russia and its president, Vladimir Putin, are not and never have been our friends. To see our president kowtow and support this murderer is only one thing — treason
Kevin Kelleher, Houston, Minn.
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It is time to impeach President Trump, now, on the grounds of treason, based on his meeting with Putin in Helsinki. Several grounds for impeaching Trump, in the past, were overlooked. What else does Congress need before taking action? And, how much longer will American citizens keep their heads in the sand and their mouths shut?
Janice May Dobies-Hein, Edina
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Well — I think it’s time we see the tax returns.
Jerry Leppart, Eden Prairie
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I’m sure there were many smiles back in 1930 when H.L. Mencken penned the following lines: “As democracy is perfected, the office represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. We move toward a lofty ideal. On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart’s desire at last, and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron.”
My question: Who’s laughing now?
Sandy Bloom, Minneapolis
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It might be time for Presidents Carter, Bush Sr., Clinton, Bush Jr. and Obama to chain themselves to the White House fence.
Richard Robbins, Mankato
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To Minnesota representatives serving in Congress: The Russian Republic under the leadership of Putin made a direct attack on our country when it waged a campaign to interfere with our election in 2016. This is a fact, and yet on Monday, our president did not stand up for our government; he criticized and denied the information the agencies charged with our security had uncovered. He has done more to harm our country inside and out than any president before him, at least in my memory (I’m 70). He has done everything to hinder a thorough investigation of the attacks on our government. On Monday, he chose to support the leader of a country who works in opposition to our nation’s goals and values, rather than defend our nation.
If you consider Trump’s actions destructive to our country, speak up. Be brave; take the chance that you might not be re-elected in the fall. If you are in opposition to the president, it is your responsibility to speak up and to take actions on behalf of the people you serve. What is more important — that you win your election or that our government acts in the best interest of its citizens and our country?
Susan L. Peterson, Lino Lakes