To the editor: The photographs of President Trump taken by a Russian state photographer (American media were not allowed into the meeting) with the Russian foreign minister and ambassador, the day after sacking FBI Director James Comey, are more pieces of circumstantial evidence that show Trump should be investigated by a special prosecutor. ("Russia's foreign minister has cordial talk at White House against a tumultuous backdrop," May 10)
We know that many of the president's men met with Russian representatives when their government was attempting to throw the election in his favor. Trump encouraged the illegal hacking by the Russians and celebrated WikiLeaks' release of illegally obtained information. Trump officials took out of the Republican Party platform any mention of punishment of Russia for annexing Crimea. Trump praised Putin and Russia throughout the election campaign. After the election, on the very day President Obama announced sanctions against Russia, the now-disgraced former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn was on the phone with the Russian ambassador discussing the sanctions, against which Moscow did not retaliate. Jared Kushner, Trump's top advisor, also met with the Russians.
Now, after Comey asks for more resources for his agency's investigation, Trump fires him. The Republicans sit idly by while the U.S. government is burning, and Trump is photographed meeting in the White House with his potential co-conspirators. No wonder the photos show them laughing — the joke is on us.
We need a special prosecutor to get to the bottom of this now. If we do not, we will be living in Trump's alternative universe, being told what to do by a dictator.
Dave McLane, Pasadena
The writer is a civil rights and criminal defense attorney.
To the editor: "A picture says a thousand words." Never has that saying been more true than with the picture on the front page of Thursday's Times.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Trump met in the Oval Office the day after Comey's firing. The credit for the picture goes to the Russian Foreign Ministry, because the American press was banned from the meeting.
I cannot remember a time when our democracy faced a greater threat than under this presidency. Impeachment cannot come soon enough.
Richard Johnson, Santa Monica
To the editor: As the approval ratings of Trump continue to fall, Republicans in Congress will reverse their support of the president. Like the wealthy survivors of the Titanic, they will rush to the lifeboats as the 2018 midterm election draws closer.
The outrage at congressional town halls across the country over the terrible House-approved Obamacare replacement and now the fallout of Trump's firing of Comey make obvious that the Trump ship is sinking. And while the president values loyalty above everything else (like the rule of law or colluding with the Russians), the Republicans in Congress, who are selected by their constituents, will become more vocal and turn against the very man who helped them get elected.
In the end, it's the voice of the people that will ultimately decide Trump's fate. Republicans will listen not because they are motivated by their sense of what's in America's best interest, but because they want to get re-elected.
No amount of bluster or threats from the president can change that.
Richard Melamed, Marina del Rey
To the editor: How simple it would have been if Trump had simply released his income tax returns (as promised to the American people, pending completion of an IRS audit) and asked for those interested government officials to investigate them and clear his name.
Then he could get out from under the awful and dirty little clouds of false news makers that have pursued the much-maligned poor innocent guy, who has been stopped from carrying out all the wonderful things he had in store for the American people.
But instead, Trump keeps opening his mouth and continues to contradict himself whenever he gets a chance. Many of us parents, teachers and religious leaders call it lying.
Judith Markoff Hansen, Los Angeles
To the editor: Though shamefully executed, I don't have a problem with the firing of Comey. The suspect timing, however, comes straight from Trump's playbook of diversionary tactics because all this Russia poking unnerves him.
Now the country is slapped with the fact that one person can block the creation of an independent investigation into possible Russian connections to Trump and associates. By citing a spurious rationale for not considering this, master obstructionist and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) shows himself to be not only partisan but mostly concerned with the Republican legislative agenda and his own position.
Alas, our quaint democratic concept of checks and balances seems to be atrophying from lack of use.
I am dismayed by the current state of my country because there is an egotistical liar in the Oval Office who behaves increasingly like an autocrat. Trump is dangerous.
If I were younger, I would move to France.
Marilyn Moore Shultz, San Clemente