Maybe the U.S. House should just sit on the article of impeachment indefinitely.
A new president traditionally accomplishes more in the first few months of their administration than at any other time. You often hear of "the first 100 days" as a measure; maybe it's more like six months. But either way, this is the optimal time for a President Joe Biden to implement his agenda for the country.
An impeachment trial, however swiftly it moves, will blunt the momentum. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell isn't dumb. He knows that pushing the Senate trial until after Biden's term begins will detract from everything else Biden hopes to accomplish. Even if other business can be conducted concurrently with a Senate trial, it will distract from legislative efforts and deepen partisan division.
Instead of a trial, codify all the restrictions on executive branch behavior we thought a president naturally would follow. Put rules in place on personal business activities and conflicts, documentation of contacts and conversations, private channels of communication, security clearances, "acting" agency heads and maybe even limits on executive orders.
Seek real change, not vengeance.
David Hansen, Faribault, Minn.
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The Star Tribune Editorial Board favors the Senate convicting President Donald Trump in an impeachment trial ("This time, Senate must convict, ban," editorial, Jan. 14). Be careful what you wish for.
As in any trial, the president would have the right to submit evidence and summon witnesses. He could have a parade of protesters testify that they did not interpret his speech to be an order of insurrection. Meanwhile, prosecutors would be unlikely to find any witnesses willing to testify that Trump incited their bad acts. For the purposes of a trial, it is not a matter of how members of Congress and the media interpreted the president's speech, it's a matter of how those who entered the Capitol did.
A trial will also give Trump a forum in which to officially make his claims that the election was stolen. It could very well be the day in court he has unsuccessfully pursued since the election. His lawyers would essentially put the government, Congress and swing states like Georgia and Arizona on trial.
The past four years have been chaotic, but a Senate trial of private citizen Trump, fighting for his right to run in 2024, is bound to be the best drama yet.
Jenny Berg, St. Cloud
One difference: Reality
I haven't heard anyone in the House explain the differences between demonstrations on the left vs. demonstrations on the right. They are:
1) Demonstrations by the left (Black Lives Matter) have resulted from actions that have killed or maimed someone, an actual event, and demonstrations were against local authorities whose actions caused those injuries to their communities. They were demonstrations related to reality.
2) The demonstration on Jan. 6 was a response to a grievance that never took place, a fantasy created by the president of the United States that had been debunked after lengthy investigations by state and federal agencies and courts.
The demonstrations by the left could be answered by policy changes.
The demonstrations on the right could only be answered by ending the rule of law as provided in the Constitution.
Larry Dobson, Dodge Center, Minn.
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Two letters in Jan. 15's Star Tribune debate the similarities and differences between the recent storming of the U.S. Capitol and the riots in Minneapolis that followed the callous death of George Floyd, both letters focused on the motivation of the rioters ("Floyd response and Capitol insurgency are not equivalent," Readers Write). But they missed another critical aspect — the failure of security.
Folks in D.C. are clamoring for explanations and accountability related to the collapse of security people had assumed was in place. But here we are in Minneapolis, almost eight months after mobs looted and burned small, mostly immigrant-owned shops along Lake Street, and we still have no idea what happened to the police and fire protection these shop owners thought they were paying taxes for.
We were told that Mayor Jacob Frey thought human lives more important than property. OK, were there really no options between killing people and abandoning a significant portion of the city? And we were told that a communication problem between Mayor Frey and Gov. Tim Walz delayed the employment of the National Guard almost 48 hours. They don't have phones?
Presumably, folks in D.C. will get to the bottom of what went wrong there; it's time we got answers about what went wrong here.
John Trepp, Minneapolis
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Friday letter writers assert there is no comparison between the Floyd response and the insurgency breach of the U.S. Capitol, but I would argue that they are very similar. The extremely violent, deadly, destructive Minneapolis Floyd protests breached and destroyed U.S. post offices, banks and a government police precinct, and threatened many lives leaving hundreds of millions of damage to a shattered city. The assault on the Capitol also led to lives lost and some property destruction, but could have been so much worse if participants acted as those in Minneapolis shooting guns, initiating fires and looting.
It is a sorry divide when we cannot even agree on what constitutes federal criminal behaviors and when we disrespect those who sincerely believe what injustices they have incurred, whether racial injustice or a "stolen election" of voting improprieties. I do agree that is time for unity to face the challenging differences, respect those differences and advance to work for better lives for all Americans.
Michael Tillemans, Minneapolis
Uncharted and dangerous territory
If Big Tech has the freedom to block any thought it deems counterproductive and dangerous, what does this say about the role of communication? If we as a society would rather debate our differences than resort to physical violence, are we heading in the right direction? The ability of tech giants to shut down other competitors such as Parler really begins to raise the monopoly issue ("Amazon, Apple and Google cut off Parler, app that drew Trump backers," Jan. 11). If political ideology is the "litmus test" whereby someone is denied some service, where will this extend to next?
That is a pretty harsh direction that has no chance of resolving our issues. This has all the earmarks of ramping up opposition in direct competition according to political thought. This can only divide the nation further. The Biden administration has much work to do on this issue and if partisanship rules the day, I do not look for any solution anytime soon. We are heading into uncharted territory.
Joe Polunc, Waconia
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Those condemning social media outlets for their response to the inflammatory use of their platforms by President Donald Trump should bear in mind that it was Trump and his sycophants who demanded that the law affording protections to these outlets, immunity from suit based on a subscriber's posts, be repealed. Had he succeeded in that attempt, he likely would have found himself banned the day the law took effect.
As it stands, they appear to have done so in order to protect their brands, just as Trump protects his own.
James Hamilton, St. Paul
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