The Mueller report, even redacted, reveals the sad truth. President Donald Trump and his gang are simply not competent enough to conspire. They ran the campaign like they have since run the country — ineptly. Trump doesn’t care about information beyond a few words that let him create a meme. Any normal group of politicians would have blundered into a chargeable conspiracy; would have kept quiet in public; would have been embarrassed to be caught out in any of the stupid stunts they pulled. But as he has demonstrated consistently in his career, Donald Trump is not a normal politician. He blurts out whatever comes to mind; he is oblivious to signals others send that they’d like to work secretly; he is even public in his attempts to cover up. He is so obvious he is easily played by the likes of Putin and Kim and Bibi. They don’t need to conspire. They simply manipulate him with praise.
Robert Veitch, Richfield
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After watching the discussion on cable news following the news conference by Attorney General William Barr and the release of the Mueller Report, I can only conclude that Nadia Comaneci — a five-time Olympic gold medalist — is not the greatest gymnast of our time. No, that honor must now go to the Democratic presidential hopefuls, to House Democrats Adam Schiff, Jerry Nadler, Maxine Waters and Eric Swalwell, and to the talking heads on CNN and MSNBC. Despite her agility, Comaneci could never compete with them as they spin, turn and twist Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s findings and attack his credibility after two years of calling for legislation to prevent his firing.
Even though Barr was only reading from Mueller’s report when he said that “no American, including Trump and his associates and campaign colluded or conspired with the Russians,” the Democrats call him a “Trump lackey.” Worse than slandering both Barr and Mueller, they can’t even rejoice in the fact that a lengthy, thorough and costly investigation has concluded that no American conspired with the Russians to affect our election. Instead, these so-called “patriots” say Mueller’s investigation is not the end, and that the Democratic House will now start its own investigation. Why not simply accept the conclusion that our president was not “a Russian agent” or “an unwitting tool of Moscow,” give a big sigh of relief, and get on with the business of running the country?
Ronald Haskvitz, St. Louis Park
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Barr’s willingness to brief the president’s personal lawyers before briefing our elected representatives (front page, April 18) is one further insult to our democracy. AGs in prior administrations exercised legal independence from the White House. This AG is another of the toadies who support the corruption of our values. If Trump isn’t impeached, Barr should be.
Jane Hovland, Duluth
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Of course Barr briefed the White House before the Mueller report was released. Barr was brought into the Trump administration for one thing and one thing only — to be Trump’s Roy Cohn.
Like Cohn, Barr has proved to be an unprincipled “fixer” who sees his role not as upholding the Constitution but as running interference for Trump in all matters. His efforts may prove to be all for naught because Volume II, 1-8 of the recently released redacted version of the Mueller report lays out a pretty solid case for, if not “high crimes,” certainly “misdemeanors” at an astonishing level.
Which means that the ball is now in House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s side of the court. She may be loath to address the “I” word; but, unlike her Republican cohorts, the public expects her to perform her constitutional duty.
As Jeffrey Engel, associate professor at Southern Methodist University and director of that school’s Center for Presidential History, recently stated in a Washington Post article (tinyurl.com/wp-engel): “The group that created our nation’s founding document would already have judged Donald Trump unfit for office — and removed him — because he’s repeatedly shown a dearth of the quality they considered paramount in a president: a willingness to put national interest above his own.”
An impeachment by the House would more than likely go nowhere in the Republican-controlled Senate, but regardless, it is critical that our elected officials perform their constitutional duty and demonstrate that the rule of law remains the cornerstone of our nation and of our democracy, and that no one is above it — including the president.
Gene Case, Andover
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Whatever the Mueller report says or doesn’t say about President Trump, the Democrats (and all Americans, regardless of their party affiliation) will have plenty of other reasons to vote for someone else in 2020.
Peter Berglund, St. Paul
Revisiting UnitedHealth CEO’s warning about single-payer
To follow up on the April 18 letters about UnitedHealth Group CEO David Wichmann’s sounding the alarm on proposals for a single-payer system, as a former employee of UHG I can say that it is an extremely well-run company. That said, its driving goal is enhancing shareholder value. It is very good at it, and that’s OK, too — this is America, after all. Yet, there’s the rub. Two things to consider:
First, Minnesota, until recent developments, had always required health insurance companies to be nonprofits, and that served us well and would be a great suggestion for the country. It was a terrible mistake to change that, because we need to get the stock market out of health care.
Second, even nonprofits haven’t been able to solve the issue of cost of services and pharmaceuticals. Nor will single-payer, not when everyone wants the latest expensive wonder drug or procedure. It is going to be very difficult to get the medical industry to take the pay cuts necessary to make any system work, but it needs to be done, or any system will fail and we are doomed to bankruptcy as a nation.
D. Roger Pederson, Minneapolis
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Having worked in Canada under total government control care and in the U.S. under a “few holds barred” private insurance system for more than 40 years, I have experienced the bad and the good of both systems. As a teacher of future physicians and pharmacists, I am very concerned about the huge debts young people are accumulating to obtain their degrees. “Medicare for All” is not the solution. In Canada, there was no incentive to innovate, and supply of services was limited by both restrictions on number of procedures and delays in obtaining care. On the other hand, all were covered and financial anxiety was not present.
All people in the U.S. need medical insurance, but the question is how it is provided. Complete control of health care by government would have many negative consequences. Taxpayers would be subsidizing coverage for many wealthy persons, as is now the case for some of my financially well-off patients. Medicare payments now are quite low, and only more generous private insurance payments enable the medical care system to pay the wages needed to attract bright young people to undertake the very strenuous training. Many students are concerned that if salaries drop, many will never be able to pay off their debts in a reasonable time frame.
We have made fantastic progress in drugs and devices in the last four decades: Medtronic pacemakers, immunotherapy for cancer, MRI machines and others are a few. None of these were developed in Canada or by Medicare. Our government funded much of the basic research, but a profit motive is necessary to fund the costly clinical development. Many European countries have developed a system where the government requires all to have insurance and sets standards for coverage but allows private insurance to sell policies that are subsidized for low-income but not rich people. The U.S. needs a balance of government and private insurance to provide the best cost-effective care.
Dr. Ilo E. Leppik, Golden Valley
The writer is a professor of pharmacy and neurology at the University of Minnesota.