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An increasing number of voters are unhappy with the circus sideshow in D.C. The hard left is sure Trump colluded with Russia, tried to bully the FBI director and should be impeached. The hard right is sure there is a vast conspiracy to derail the Trump presidency by the “shadow government” controlled by elites in the press and Obama/Clinton sympathizers in government. For the vast majority of folks in the middle, frustratingly, it appears to be more of the same — how can I make the other side look bad, not how can we help Americans retain and attain the American dream? The rejection of Hillary Clinton last fall was a rejection of the D.C. status quo and an invitation to refocus on the American people and not on special interests. Donald Trump promised to drain the swamp. At this point, it appears the swamp is drowning him. Donald Trump may not be able to bring the change the American people voted for due to his flaws; however, it’s a mistake to believe that American sentiment has changed. Hillary and the establishment generally are still mistrusted and have limited support. Ironically, events in D.C. are further eroding establishment support (on the left and right) and setting the stage for another “change agent” if Trump can’t perform as promised.

Casey Whelan, Maple Grove

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Nearly every day now we are greeted to “Breaking News” about the latest White House bombshell emanating from one of dozens of news sources, in print, on TV, or online. Yes, talking heads and late-night comics are rejoicing in the fertile environment in which we now find ourselves. The public reaction to these “bombshells” is largely dependent upon how one leans politically or, even more so, how does this help my career? Clearly, many of these breaking news stories are, at a minimum, alarming. In most cases there are conflicting versions of events, responsibilities and realities. As such, like a “Law and Order” TV drama, it is time for the investigators to investigate. But many of those same talking heads and pundits want to go right past that phase (or feel it is unnecessary) and head right into the “Law and Order” trial, known in this instance as impeachment.

Impeachment is very analogous to a criminal indictment, a step taken after an investigation finds probable cause for such an action. Only then can and should the U.S. House of Representatives draft articles of impeachment (the indictment). Per Article II of the U.S. Constitution, a president, vice president and all civil officers of the United States can be removed from office upon impeachment for the crimes (committed before or while in office) of treason, bribery and other high crimes. The U.S. House has the responsibility to initiate the impeachment process, and if passed, send the articles of impeachment to the Senate, where the trial phase is undertaken. Only upon conviction in the Senate by a supermajority can the president be removed from office.

Yes, this sounds like a civics lesson, but the point is quite clear. As with criminal cases investigated by police, indicted by prosecutors and tried in open court, impeachment is a well-defined process with appropriate checks and balances to ensure actions must be based on fact and not purely political motive. So let’s stop erecting the gallows just now; get the president’s actions out of the court of public opinion (though talking heads and comedians will remain quite busy) and, if appropriate, initiate the investigation(s) by the House and any special, impartial, investigators they wish to empower. America is still a land of law, even if many feel serious laws have been broken at the highest level.

Richard Rivett, Chaska

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I think the 80 or so percent of Trump supporters who still support him and believe what he says miss the point of what the anti-Trump people are seeing. We see a sexual predator, perpetual liar, racist, arrested adolescent and crying man/baby. Our moral standards are way too high to support a person like that. We are astonished that a morally and intellectually bankrupt person is our president, put there by people who value ideology, power and party more than country and humanity. We believe in bravery, freedom and facts. The only fake news is what comes out of Trump’s tweets, mouth and the White House press office. I think we can now call it even between Hillary’s e-mails and Donny’s dump of intel into the Russians’ lap when we talk of mishandling of secrets, OK? Donny is a frightened little boy who is in way over his head, and the likes of Erik Paulsen seem to share his fear, depraved morality, greed and religious intolerance. Good luck with that in the next election.

Greg Oasheim, Minnetonka

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Good to hear Russian leader Vladimir Putin will give us his version of the Trump meeting with the Russian diplomats where the president ostensibly revealed intelligence secrets. But to quote another U.S. president when Mr. Putin complained about American press coverage: “Unlike you, (we) don’t have editorial control.”

Frederic J. Anderson, Minneapolis

GENITAL MUTILATION

What about protections for boys?

The May 16 front page featured a photo of the embrace of a survivor of genital mutilation with state Rep. Mary Franson. The article continues with colorful photos of women who survived FGM. Genital mutilation should be roundly condemned by all civilized men and women. Thoughtful adults would readily admit genitals are owned by the person to whom they are attached, not some third person even if the third person is the parent. The owner of the genitals must decide if they are to be altered. The bill passed by the Minnesota House makes it a crime for a parent to consent to genital alterations but applies only to female genitals. Until eight weeks, a human fetus’ genitals are undifferentiated. Thereafter hormones cause the differentiation commonly understood to separate male from female. Only a severe case of cultural superiority allows us to feel good about criminalizing alteration of female genital tissue and celebrating with a handful of immigrants who have suffered as a result of deeply held cultural beliefs. It is the same deeply held cultural beliefs that blind us to the abuse we visit upon baby boys. What is it that drives us to preserve the abuse of baby boys who are much more apt to be mutilated (circumcised) in local hospitals and clinics by MDs in white coats with the consent of the parents and the cost submitted for reimbursement to a third-party-payer system? Where is the decency of us as Minnesotans to allow a bill so blatantly discriminative to be adopted without any discussion of the “elephant in the room” — why is the bill gender-specific? Should the question not be asked? I would encourage the Senate to correct this blatant gender discrimination.

Zenas Baer, Moorhead, Minn.