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Letters to the Editor

An unrecorded 'summit'

TO THE EDITOR

As Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 elections proceeds, alarming revelations emerge almost daily.

Hacking our voting systems is ominous, certainly, though there's no compelling evidence that direct tampering changed the outcome of the presidential election.

More insidious is the now well-documented psychological warfare Russia has waged against a divided America, using digital and social media to enflame an already polarized electorate and deepen the divisions in American society. Russian trolls and propagandists have targeted voters on both the right and the left with inflammatory messages aimed at intensifying partisan rancor, vilifying and demonizing political opponents, and diminishing constructive civic discourse across political lines.

Where we once viewed contending political parties as "loyal opposition," we now seem to have crossed a line into the destructive territory of political opponent as "enemy."

There is an old saying, "The enemy of my enemy is my friend." By that logic, Vladimir Putin, the declared enemy of Hillary Clinton, can be accepted as a friend of Donald Trump and the GOP. We are on dangerous ground when an American president sides with a hostile foreign power against his own country's opposition party. Even more dangerous when that party won't check him.

Every patriotic American should be concerned with the attack on our mutual life by sophisticated foreign manipulators. Party affiliation should not limit our alarm at being kept in the dark regarding agreements made in private in Helsinki by two known pathological liars. Many suspect that Putin is blackmailing Trump with kompramat, compromising information, standard operating procedure in Russian politics and business.

Has Trump secretly blessed Putin's aggression toward the Ukraine? Endorsed Russia's backing of the murderous Assad regime in Syria? If so, how will we ever find out? Such an unrecorded "summit" must not be allowed to occur again.

Thomas R. Smith

River Falls

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