On Thursday, we heard highly credible testimony from former FBI Director James Comey before the Senate Intelligence Committee. He elaborated on his detailed opening statement and addressed all questions posed, answering firmly when able and providing qualifications when appropriate. He spoke passionately about the FBI and its mission and independence. He also spoke movingly about the loss of a job he loved and was honored to have, as well as his regret over not getting a chance to say a proper goodbye. I noted that he testified without recourse to notes and with no personal attorney at his elbow leaning in to whisper advice into his ear. The man sat there and delivered.
James M. Kaufmann, Burnsville
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I’m a lifelong conservative Republican. Never once voted Democrat or independent. Having watched President Trump from the day he entered the 2016 race, I’ve come to the sobering conclusion that this populist experiment was doomed from the first day of his presidency. Trump is not only not presidential; he’s a narcissist who puts “self” before country. Every day. As I watched and absorbed Comey’s testimony, it confirmed for me that Trump is indeed a pathological liar. Comey is telling the truth, and I believe that more will come out in the investigation of Special Counsel Robert Mueller. And whether or not this rises to a criminal or impeachable threshold for Trump, this travesty has so distracted our leadership from the business of running this country that who knows how long it will take to dig out? So, for the sake of my children, their children and every U.S. citizen, let’s please come together and realize what’s happening to our democracy. And if that means waiting until 2020, then Joe Biden, will you please take another look at this whole presidential thing? And maybe consider Mitt Romney as your running mate.
James Grider, Prior Lake
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Comey’s testimony confirmed two things of utmost importance. He allowed politics to cloud his judgment, and he exonerated Trump on any collusion or obstruction culpability. Yet he saw fit not to tell the American public for fear of a “boomerang” effect. That is, something new could change the investigation from a counterintelligence matter to a criminal case.
He also divulged that he leaked a conversation with the president via a third party to the New York Times with the intent of getting a “special counsel” appointed. When asked why he didn’t seek counsel on Trump’s alleged “obstruction,” Comey said it wasn’t up to him to make that call. Yet this was the very person who on July 5, 2016, after delivering a cogent prosecutorial dissertation on Hillary Clinton’s e-mail investigation, said “no reasonable prosecutor” would pursue the case.
This will not end any time soon. The Democrats and their media allies will continue to generate smoke through the midterms and into the 2020 cycle. U.S. Sen. Al Franken called Comey’s testimony “explosive” — but I ask for whom?
Joe Polunc, Cologne
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Lost in the full context of the hearing is this statement from Comey:
“The reason this is such a big deal is, we have this big messy wonderful country where we fight with each other all the time. But nobody tells us what to think, what to fight about, what to vote for except other Americans. And that’s wonderful and often painful. But we’re talking about a foreign government that, using technical intrusion, lots of other methods, tried to shape the way we think, we vote, we act. That is a big deal. And people need to recognize it. It’s not about Republicans or Democrats. They’re coming after America, which I hope we all love equally. They want to undermine our credibility in the face the world. They think that this great experiment of ours is a threat to them. So they’re going to try to run it down and dirty it up as much as possible. That’s what this is about, and they will be back. Because we remain — as difficult as we can be with each other — we remain that shining city on the hill. And they don’t like it.”
The only way to prevent this from happening again is to have a full, independent investigation. We have to understand the scope of the problem before we can solve it. This should concern all Americans regardless of political leanings.
Jim Wacek, Rogers
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Regarding the June 4 letter writer who thinks we shouldn’t be disturbed about possible Russian meddling with our last presidential election due to American interference with other countries governments in some cases in the past: What does he want? To have us stand aside and let Russia run our elections?
There are two issues: Did Russia attempt to get its preferred candidate? And was the Trump campaign complicit in this activity? Would you feel the same if the other candidate was supported?
Steven Hansen, White Bear Lake
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In this era when there is more information available than ever before, and more ways than ever of communicating that information, it is entirely predictable that disinformation will succeed better than it ever has in the past.
Vladimir Putin’s Russians are not the only group to have understood this, but they’ve had more success than anyone, so of course they will continue to use a tactic that has been unbelievably successful.
Look for more interference in the future — not only with our elections, but with other areas of our lives.
Modern technology makes it possible to drown the truth in lies. The only defense may be the evolution of higher levels of sophistication on the part of each of us.
Dave Wixon, Apple Valley
Speaking of rights: Those of children are most crucial
A June 5 editorial (“Act to prevent next measles outbreak”) promoting the idea that legislators and the medical board needed to do more was met by a June 7 letter asserting the idea of parental freedom.
Sometimes, the rights of children are more important than the ideology of parents. The anti-vaccine brigade in Minnesota has been successful in convincing legislators and the public otherwise for too many years, but Minnesotans need to ask themselves if the safety and health of children is more important than the unscientific philosophy of the few.
Minnesota currently has hundreds of schools that fail to meet the threshold vaccination rate to protect them from a measles outbreak. We need our lawmakers to stand up to the very vocal but very tiny anti-vaccine movement and to do the right thing to protect our children. This need is neither partisan nor controversial. Let’s close that vaccine exemption loophole in February.
Karen Ernst, St. Paul
The writer is founder of the Minnesota Childhood Immunization Coalition.
RELIGION IN THE WORKPLACE
Why is Islam privileged?
UPS-Edina is but the latest defendant in many lawsuits filed by the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR). The accusation is that worker practitioners of Islam are barred from “fulfilling their prayer requirements … the need to pray to Allah five times a day.” (“UPS barred Muslim workers from praying, fired them, suit alleges,” June 6).
No other religion is catered to like this — perhaps due to political correctness or, maybe, because Islam is propagated as a privileged religion.
Were there a Council on American-Catholic Relations and similar lawsuits were filed to allow worker practitioners of Catholicism to pray the Angelus at 6 a.m., noon and 6 p.m., one might wonder if political correctness and the mainstream media would respect the need of a Catholic to pray to Jesus Christ three times a day.
Gene Delaune, New Brighton