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Opinion

Readers React: Trump’s most impeachable offense: failing to fight Russian election interference

FILES-G20-SUMMIT-DIPLOMACY-ECONOMY-TRADE-US-RUSSIA
President Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin arrive for a meeting in Helsinki, Finland, on July 16, 2018.
(Brendan Smialowski / AFP/Getty Images)

To the editor: For some reason that I cannot understand, everyone seems to have forgotten that the title of Justice Department special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s report is, “Report on the Investigation into Russian Interference in the 2016 Presidential Election.” (“Impeachment isn’t a criminal proceeding, it’s a political one,” Opinion, April 23)

Forget about collusion or conspiracy, and forget about obstruction of justice (President Trump almost certainly obstructed justice, based on a fair reading of the report). Mueller’s investigation has found, without question, that the Russian government interfered in the 2016 presidential election in “sweeping and systematic fashion.”

What has Trump done about this? Practically nothing. For a while he wouldn’t even admit that the Russian government interfered in the 2016 election for fear that it would diminish his “great electoral victory.”

Trump has failed to protect the United States from an obvious threat. For this alone, the president needs to be impeached.

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Marc Weiner, Ladera Ranch

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To the editor: I can just see Trump thanking the Democratic presidential candidates who support impeachment. Being despised by liberals and playing the victim are exactly what appeals not only to his base, but also to many of the undecided voters who will make all the difference in 2020.

Trump is craftier than his opponents like to think, and he knows how to take advantage of their attacks on him. As Franklin Roosevelt famously observed, “Never underestimate a man who overestimates himself.”

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Impeachment is exactly what Trump wants.

Spencer Grant, Laguna Beach

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To the editor: By reminding readers that impeachment is a political process and not a criminal one, columnist Jonah Goldberg feeds a popular misunderstanding by conflating two meanings of “political”: partisanship and the art of governing.

When Alexander Hamilton wrote in Federalist 65 that impeachment is “political,” he was referring to “the abuse or violation of some public trust” in governing. He also warned that the Senate’s judgment may be influenced by partisanship rather than address “the real determinations of innocence or guilt.”

Partisanship may influence the Senate, just as it can influence the Supreme Court. Nonetheless, the framers hoped that in judging political threats to the republic, the Senate would be less partisan than the House, which initiates impeachment and is more connected to the people.

Brook Thomas, Irvine

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To the editor: The decision the Democrats face on impeachment is a political one. For the House of Representatives, it’s a constitutional one.

If the evidence points to Trump’s guilt, the House must move forward with impeachment. The Constitution demands this. A decision not to proceed would have to be considered a political one.

By all means, the House should continue with its investigations, but if their investigations point to impeachment, the decision should be a constitutional decision, not a political one. Maintaining the rule of law is important, and it appears this president doesn’t have any idea what that means.

Judy Ferguson, Laguna Niguel

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To the editor: There is one alternative to impeachment that could hold Trump accountable: a vote of censure in Congress.

The Democrats can assemble a list of horribles from the Mueller report and conduct hearings and investigations. The Republicans will have to decide if they really want to deny the truth of Trump’s misdeeds. Some Republicans may even vote for censure when they would never vote for impeachment.

Thus, the Democrats can say they have not ignored their constitutional duty.

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Carlton Martz, Redlands

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