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When I opened the Opinion section last week, I did not expect flecks of spittle about a has-been former president to fly out, but I needed a napkin to wipe up the mess. There was more froth than at a Starbucks! My goodness, people, outrage over No. 45 dogged him well before he was president. Ask anyone who did business with his operation over the last five decades. He tried to countersue the government in 1973 for charging him with discrimination. That's the kind of guy he is.

Expecting him to change is a serious misunderstanding of his nature. He will be in scuffles with the law until he's cold in the ground. Tone down the rhetoric; our country's better for him not being in the Oval Office anymore.

Andy Mason, Edina

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Clive Cook's dissuasion of bringing criminal charges against former President Donald Trump is quite flawed ("Discretion is the better part of prosecution," Opinion Exchange, Aug. 14).

Of course, prosecutors exercise discretion in deciding which infractions to charge, based on myriad considerations, including the "public interest."

But the offenses that the ex-president allegedly has committed, including those related to the Mar-a-Lago search last week, are hardly "technical or relatively inconsequential," the Department of Justice guideline he references.

The suggestion that prosecuting him would be an impermissible "political" decision overlooks that refraining from doing so because of his stature would be a "political" indulgence, too.

If a White House valet upon leaving his position had purloined the large batch of documents as the ex-president seemingly did, he surely would be subject to prosecution.

The same should be true for his former superior.

Marshall H. Tanick, Minneapolis

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Trump's post-hoc claim of having surreptitiously declassified any and all material he removed from the White House reminded me of Michael Scott's plan to declare bankruptcy on "The Office." He walks into the common area and shouts, "I! Declare! Bankruptcy!"

John Gunyou, Minneapolis

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Questions about the Mar-a-Lago search that need answers:

How did Trump acquire the top-secret documents?

Why did he keep them?

What was he going to do with them?

Why didn't he return them when subpoenaed?

Was his refusal to return the documents a cynical attempt to get his name back in the spotlight where he could play the victim?

How much money has he raised since last Monday?

Jim Wacek, Rogers

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Wait! What was that noise — did you hear it? I have heard this noise before. I know — it was a gunshot. The Democrats have just shot themselves in the foot, again.

Edward McHugh, Lindstrom, Minn.

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With all the hubbub over the FBI's investigation at Mar-a-Lago, I'd like to take a second to revisit what I believe is the biggest scam that the previous president got away with: That someone who lives in a 60,000-plus-square-foot Palm Beach mansion actually cares about the average Joe.

Benjamin George, St. Paul

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It's obtuse, plain and simple, that the Trumpian Republicans making the "banana republic" noise won't admit Trump brought us here. If this is a banana republic or a swamp, Trump's buffoonish, dangerous, myriad human deficiencies furnish most of the mud.

Yes, the raid on his residence was unprecedented — because only Trump among a couple of centuries' worth of former presidents sunk so low as to allegedly take and refuse to return, even after repeated requests, documents (some perhaps classified) that belong to the people — about whom, by the way, the "populist" Trump doesn't give a darn, as evidenced by his policies.

As for those who follow and defend him, you should be ashamed. Woe is we if he's the best we can do as a choice for any idea, any party — and you know it. And you owe it to your conscience and your fellow citizens and your country to say so out loud. Your guy brought us here.

Steven Schild, Winona, Minn.

SCHOOL DISCIPLINE

A false premise in Duluth

There is no polite way to say this, but the premise of the story on Duluth school discipline in the Aug. 2 Star Tribune story ("Uneven discipline in Duluth schools"), that Black students are "disproportionately ticketed" for disciplinary infractions, is simply false, and it is dangerous.

I have fought and taught about segregation and discrimination and practiced civil rights and discrimination law for decades, so I know a bit about these issues. Discriminatory discipline would be occurring if tickets were issued to Black students, for the same violations, at a higher rate than those same violations were ticketed for white offenders. But, although the story avoids mentioning this, it is apparent that the difference in the percentage of tickets for each racial group is due, not to race discrimination, but to the fact that a higher percentage of Black students engaged in the violative conduct.

The implied "remedy," which the critics of the Duluth schools' disciplinary actions seek, is to withhold discipline from Black student offenders, while imposing the same or increased levels of discipline on whites. That would be actual "discrimination" and a disservice to everyone.

We must not, in a misguided effort to avoid confronting different levels of disciplinary, criminal or educational outcomes by race, choose to impose racial quotas on outcomes or define away the standards, or do so for Black Americans. The result of such policies would be misunderstanding of what society rightfully expects of all citizens, and whites resenting the resulting double standard. This is a recipe for racial conflict and more bad behavior by everyone.

Douglas P. Seaton, Minneapolis

The writer is a lawyer and the president of the Upper Midwest Law Center.

JOE BIDEN

Don't undercut the president

I will vote for Democratic Rep. Dean Phillips in November. At the same time, I am deeply disturbed with his misguided and undermining statements as a Democratic congressman that President Joe Biden should not seek a second term ("Phillips: Time for 'new generation,'" July 30).

Phillips now joins the ranks of Sens. Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema, along with the negative votes of the Democrats' congressional "Squad," to further erode the effectiveness of their president and the public's view of cohesive Democratic leadership. When a single vote on a key matter can be the difference between success or failure, this is not a winning Democratic strategy.

Biden is entitled to make his own decision based on his electoral victories and growing list of major legislative successes encompassing health care, infrastructure and climate. These are landmark accomplishments that have not been achieved in over a decade.

Additionally, the president has restored global alliances, strengthened NATO and supported Ukraine. Inflation, as economists point out, is not under the control of any president and predictions of a severe post-pandemic recession are now being reassessed as the USA economy added over 500,000 new jobs in July, with employment now back to pre-pandemic levels.

Phillips can make his decision to run for office citing his record. If that is insufficient in his judgment to win, then attacking his party's elected president says more about Phillips than Biden. Phillips' remarks serve to cancel Biden's leadership going forward and link with others who wish to cancel his presidency — going backward by denying Biden won the 2020 election. Both forces merge to essentially negate the duly elected president.

The president has earned the right within his own party to make his decision to run again and to make that decision at an appropriate time. For a congressional representative from his own party to undermine the president midcourse in his term is cavalier at best and self-serving deflection at worst.

Tim O'Malley, Plymouth