Do I understand correctly? Democratic leaders are telling us that the best way to punish former President Donald Trump for not accepting the will of voters is to pre-empt the will of any voters in the future who might desire to put him back in office? Further, because he did obey his oath to uphold the Constitution, they plan to use the impeachment clause in a way that was never intended?
Renold Russie, New Brighton
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Forget for a moment that the president invited and assembled the mob and then incited the riot that stormed and desecrated our Capitol, and ask yourself how he responded to this national emergency. What did he do once the mayhem began? Did he call the Pentagon? Did he assemble his national security advisers? Did he contact the mayor? The FBI or other federal law enforcement? Did he show any regard whatsoever for his vice president or the legislators, whose lives were in danger? No, he watched it all on TV with reported satisfaction, and then after multiple hours, he made a video repeating the Big Lie and told those rioters that he loved them. Then put it on Twitter.
Beginning Tuesday, the nation will relive this national trauma and watch Republican leaders try to ignore the president's conduct by claiming it's too late to do anything about it. Never mind that it was the Republican Senate majority leader who delayed the proceedings until the president had left office.
This is not politics. This is the devolution of society and justice.
David Pederson, Minnetrista
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As I see it, under the current state of the evidence, I don't believe that I could vote to impeach ex-president Trump. I am not an expert on whether this trial is lawful as it occurs when Trump is out of office, and I do understand that the question of whether to impeach is a political question even though the Constitution says that the president "shall" be removed from office on the conviction of a crime by the Senate. What is clear to me is that, beyond doubt, Trump encouraged the gathered crowd to fight for their rights — and it is clear to me that the crowd had beforehand conspired to commit crimes to that end. Then what's the problem? As a lawyer, a prosecutor for more than 10 years and a defense lawyer for more than 30, I need to be shown the nexus between the two facts that I accept as proven. If Trump knew beforehand what the crowd was up to and then encouraged it, he is guilty of a crime, no doubt. But if he didn't know, and he only spoke, then his words were free speech, and there is doubt. So far, I haven't seen evidence establishing the connection, beyond doubt. I also believe that many of the senators, trained in the law, will reasonably have the same doubt and will be compelled to acquit.
Michael McGlennen, Hopkins
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The divide over the Senate impeachment trial or moving on seems to boil down to whether we should just move on because he isn't president anymore or hold him accountable.
We must do both.
It's definitely time to put Trump aside. He will do almost anything to grab a headline, and the media has been all too willing to give it to him. But he isn't president anymore and doesn't deserve to be treated as though his every word and deed is important to the country. Yes, let's move on. Let's put our attention and energy on the other serious issues we face.
But our national integrity demands that we hold accountable even the most privileged if they have violated the law, or, in the case of a president, violated the oath of office. It isn't about revenge. It's about ensuring that facts, real facts, are established, and if he is found guilty, that he pays a consequence for his acts. The accusations against Trump are serious and deserve serious consideration and a vote.
Many are eager to move on. I fear that their eagerness is driven by a desire to divert attention from their own words and deeds and the GOP's. If he is convicted, Trump loyalists will doubtless also be held accountable.
Kathleen Winters, Roseville
Winning an election doesn't guarantee committee power
Yesterday, U.S. Rep. Pete Stauber sent out letters to constituents with a disingenuous explanation of why he refused to vote to strip Georgia Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene's House committee assignments ("Dems eject Greene from House committees," front page, Feb. 5). He essentially stated that she had a right to serve on powerful House committees because she had been elected. Apparently, he believes that serving on a committee is a right despite Greene having advocated for the death of the speaker, calling for violent attacks on other members and spreading lies that inflamed a mob to attack the Capitol (apart from claiming that Jewish space lasers cause wildfires). Well, this Eighth District constituent is embarrassed to have to give Rep. Stauber a history lesson. Serving in the House and on committees is a privilege, not a right. In 1861, members were expelled for conspiracy. However, I assume that Rep. Stauber knows this, making his stated position even more offensive. Thus, one can only conclude that he is supportive of the violent rhetoric espoused by Greene as opposed to the institution in which he serves. Sadly, he seems to see himself as a member of the party of Jefferson Davis rather than the party of Lincoln.
Kelly Dahl, Linden Grove Township, Minn.
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Since U.S. House Democrats stripped Greene of her committee assignments because of her past statements, isn't it time to strip certain Democratic House members of their committee assignments because of their patently offensive and incendiary statements? Exhibit No. 1, our own Rep. Ilhan Omar, who called Israel "evil," who charged that American Jews have dual loyalty, who traduced Jews by claiming that "It's all about the Benjamins baby," and who claimed Jerusalem is under "occupation." Exhibit No. 2, Rep. Hank Johnson of Georgia, who infamously compared Israelis to "termites." And Exhibit No. 3, Rep. Rashida Tlaib of Michigan, who declared that "Israel is a racist state." Yet, all three remain on their committees, and Democrats will do nothing to strip these members because, in the modern Democratic Party in Congress, defaming Israel and spewing forth anti-Semitic remarks are apparently tolerated. What rank bigotry and hypocrisy from those who lecture us about "hate speech."
Mark R. Miller, Minneapolis
Review your messaging, Democrats
I've read multiple Star Tribune articles about Republican soul-searching since Nov. 3 but little about how disappointing the last election was for my party. The Feb. 3 "Dems didn't cash in despite cash" article was one exception, noting how Democrats failed to take the state Senate, and lost votes in the state and national Houses — despite more money (not to mention a vulgar, dishonest, incompetent cartoon character as the Republican standard-bearer).
In the article, Democrats blamed not being able to door-knock. I believe the explanation is deeper than that logistical hitch. I believe we are tone-deaf to how some of our messaging plays to folks outside the party activist base. For example, implying white people are racist because they are white is probably not a good strategy to win their votes. Or coining a "defund the police" slogan that requires a paragraph to describe what you actually mean is an invitation for Republicans to misrepresent. I suspect that phrase alone explains multiple losses across the country. If we ran on more bread-and-butter policies, like universal health care, and less on identity politics, we would clean up at the ballot box and actually be able to improve people's lives.
We aren't always going to be fortunate enough to face a freakishly sinister narcissist. If with our current messaging we can barely beat former President Donald Trump, what happens when we face a competent Republican opponent?
Ryan Pulkrabek, Minneapolis
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