Despite solid evidence to the contrary, President Donald Trump will never acknowledge Russian interference in the 2016 election (“Trump questions U.S. intelligence, not Putin, on Russia 2016 meddling,” StarTribune.com, July 16). Doing so would delegitimize his “brilliant campaign” and his presidency, which would put his ego in a tailspin. He’s still smarting from losing the popular vote. It would add insult to injury for people to know he won the Electoral College with a little help from his friends.

That aside, failing to deal with Russia’s threat to free elections in this country is tantamount to opening the gates to the KGB. That is treason and the strongest possible evidence that Trump is colluding with Russian President Vladimir Putin. There is no other justification for not doing everything in his power to end this assault on the legitimacy of our elections. The Russians helped him win in 2016, and he needs them to win the midterms.

Karon Garen, Minneapolis

• • •

President Trump, in his remarks dismissing U.S. intelligence findings of Russian meddling in the 2016 election, was appalling. As a lifelong Republican, I’m embarrassed not only for my country, but my party as well. When are Republican senators and congressmen going to condemn the president’s disparaging comments about our allies while at the same time he fawns over Putin? Trump’s constant need for praise to feed his narcissistic ego is becoming more and more dangerous for our country. He is a pathological liar who has no regard for the truth, even when confronted with facts that refute what he says. How Republicans in Congress abide him, I have no idea.

Tom Burgett, Eden Prairie

• • •

I’m not much surprised by Dmitri Trump’s performance today, but the acquiescence of Ivan Bolton and Mikhail Pompeo raises an eyebrow.

Dave Smith, Minneapolis

• • •

We’ve heard ad nauseam for nearly two years that Russia meddled in the 2016 election. However, no evidence exists that even one American vote was compromised as a result.

Many Americans believe President Trump has failed to adequately denounce Russia’s misbehavior. What is he to do? Publicly chastise Russia, as many American politicians have already done? Russia doesn’t care. Start a war? Because killing thousands of innocents over a failed attempt to influence an election seems sensible, right?

The Justice Department has indicted several Russians for meddling. They can’t be extradited and will never stand trial.

Beating a dead horse only results in the person doing the beating getting worn out because the horse doesn’t care. Has it occurred to anyone that perhaps Trump realizes it is time to move on from an unchangeable past and work for better relations with Russia in the future?

Jason Gabbert, Plymouth

ERIC KALER

Plaudits as he begins his final year as president, but …

Since the announcement last week by University of Minnesota President Eric Kaler of his intent to step down in 2019 (front page, July 14), I have read several comments on his outstanding work the last eight years. Many of these plaudits are probably well-deserved. But he does need to be admonished for his faulty handling and decisionmaking within the athletic department. Kaler subscribed to his own philosophy of “guilty until proven innocent.” That particularly relates to the recent happenings in the Gopher football and basketball programs. His decisions to suspend several players without due process has negatively impacted the lives of several student-athletes. The true American way is just the opposite: “innocent until proven guilty.”

Thank you, President Kaler, for your service to the university. But going forward in whatever endeavor you undertake, please make sure you follow due-process values that have made this country great.

Mark S. Nowak, Wells, Minn.

HEALTH CARE

U.S. Rep. Jason Lewis says his support is clear. I doubt it.

I am skeptical of U.S. Rep. Jason Lewis’ claims in his July 14 letter to the editor that he would not “gut” protections for pre-existing health conditions, for according to Democrats in both houses, Trump and his “enablers” — and Lewis has voted with Republicans 90 percent of the time (July 11 post by FiveThirtyEight) — are trying to gut the Affordable Care Act (July 14 petition in Daily Kos signed by Sens. Jeff Merkley of Oregon, Debbie Stabenow of Michigan and a dozen others).

According to this petition, the Republican four-part plan to kill the ACA would “[r]emove protections for the 130 million Americans living with pre-existing conditions” and “[g]ive insurance companies the ability to charge much higher rates to Americans between the ages of 50 and 64.” Given his past performance, Lewis is likely to support Republican plans to destroy the ACA by destabilizing the health care market. Yet Lewis wants to blame his opponent Angie Craig for helping to create, in his words, a “dysfunctional health care market.” I will vote for Craig, who says, “Our healthcare system needs to improve and that starts with stabilizing the markets, not trying to undermine them” (Facebook, June 28).

Brenda Daly, Burnsville

ETHANOL

Commentary praised year-round E15, omitted its consequences

Much as I admire and enjoy my friend Steve Sviggum, I must respectfully disagree with his July 16 commentary (“There’s a cure for the summertime blues”) touting the year-round use of 15 percent ethanol blend fuel. The owner’s manual for my 2005 Mazda6 says, “Vehicle damage and drivability problems resulting from the use of the following may not be covered by the Mazda warranty …..Gasoline containing more than 10 percent ethanol.” Enough said?

James W. Bassett, Cannon Falls, Minn.

• • •

Sviggum presents a list of benefits of E15. He chose not to include any of the negatives. Readers might want to Google “E15 ethanol pros and cons” to get a more balanced view on this important issue.

Neil Fagerhaugh, Hugo

SONGBIRDS

Here’s where they’ve gone

In response to “Where have the songbirds gone?” (Readers Write, July 16): It seems they have gone slightly south of Minneapolis! I live in the Heart of the City in Burnsville in a villa with some green space. I have many goldfinches at my feeder daily, and the songs of birds wake me with the sun. I have seen as many as six golden finches at the same time. They are lovely, alive and well in Burnsville!

Renee Tyszko, Burnsville

• • •

Here is where one little finch has gone: rapping on my window with his bill and watching me.

Janet Llerandi, St. Paul

• • •

I can attest that one answer would be Blaine. From the patio of my lakefront home overlooking our backyard gardens, trees and bird feeders, I witness and hear numerous goldfinches, robins, song sparrows, cardinals, hummingbirds and orioles on a regular basis. Having grown up in south Minneapolis, I find it difficult to believe that my hometown has become devoid of all songbirds. I’m interested in hearing what other residents say.

Tom McPhillips, Blaine

• • •

I agree with the July 16 letter writer about lack of songbirds. The vast majority of birds in the cities are the invasive species English sparrow, which takes food and habitat from native birds. All you hear is the constant chirping sound. Robins are nice, but just pass though after they have their fledglings. Good news regarding goldfinches, purple finches and chipping sparrows: I’ve found that almost anywhere in the city that you put up a thistle seed feeder, they will soon come. I live in the Morris Park neighborhood and have those beautiful yellow birds all the time. Regular seed mixes are a waste in the city — all eaten by sparrows and squirrels.

Philip Wagner, Minneapolis