The Risks of the Trump Investigation

More from our inbox:

  • Treat Trump Like a Toddler
  • ‘Chart a New Course’ to Fight Monkeypox
  • Masks on the Subway
  • Building in Flood-Prone Areas

Credit…Morry Gash/Associated Press

To the Editor:

Re “Garland Can’t Afford to Miss,” by Ross Douthat (column, Aug. 21):

Mr. Douthat cautions Attorney General Merrick Garland to make sure he has a “slam-dunk” as the Justice Department investigates the misdeeds of Donald Trump. Reactions to the Justice Department’s investigation have varied from its being too aggressive (the viewpoint of many on the right) to not being aggressive enough (the viewpoint of many on the left).

I would suggest that the fact that he’s being criticized by both the left and the right suggests he is doing a good job managing an investigation with massive political overtones.

Larry S. Sandberg
New York

To the Editor:

Merrick Garland is a Biden appointee and therefore must carefully consider whether he should pursue this matter involving classified documents further. As Ross Douthat says, if the facts show that Donald Trump committed an egregious crime like sharing nuclear secrets with the Saudis, he should be prosecuted. Otherwise, Mr. Garland should refrain from prosecution on this matter and continue to pursue other serious issues, such as the attempted coup.

Bette Bloomenthal Grosman
Hingham, Mass.

To the Editor:

Donald Trump’s more than 50 years in public life have been managed by a “catch me if you can” ethos, daring law enforcement to confront him. With U.S. democracy his target since 2020, what the nation cannot afford is, far from prosecutorial failure, fear of failure.

Merrick Garland’s dedication to responsible, prudent and even cautionary-to-a-fault application of the law has been demonstrated beyond question. Mr. Douthat’s public warning to Mr. Garland is another in a lifetime of undeserved free passes amassed by Mr. Trump.

Eric R. Carey
Arlington, Va.

To the Editor:

Successfully prosecuting Donald Trump could hand the populist right a martyr with generational staying power — a boon to a movement already showing disturbing signs of durability. Whether that is a fair price to pay for justice would be decided in time by the American people.

If the prosecution fails, the country gets an emboldened, “exonerated” ex-president with millions of followers eager to avenge the left’s latest “witch hunt.” No one will need much time to weigh costs versus benefits in that scenario.

Michael Smith
Georgetown, Ky.

Treat Trump Like a Toddler

To the Editor:

Re “F.B.I. Asked Ex-White House Lawyers About Missing Trump Documents” (news article, Aug. 17):

When former President Donald Trump was urged by his advisers to return sensitive White House documents, he wailed: “It’s not theirs. It’s mine.”

Like the 2-year-old who has clamped his hand on a playmate’s toy and stubbornly resists his mom’s pleading, “But it doesn’t belong to you, sweetie,” Mr. Trump is now offering every twisted argument that he can come up with to defend his ownership “rights.”

Ask any parent or caregiver at the end of a frazzled workday and they will tell you: Sometimes you just have to grab that toy from your kid’s fist and hand it back to its rightful owner.

Cathy Bernard
New York

‘Chart a New Course’ to Fight Monkeypox

Lining up to receive monkeypox vaccinations at a sexual health clinic in New York City.Credit…Victor J. Blue for The New York Times

To the Editor:

Re “Biden Officials Change Injection Method to Conserve Doses of Monkeypox Vaccine” (news article, Aug. 10) and “States Blame Federal Mix-Ups as Monkeypox Shots Are Lost” (front page, Aug. 16):

For nearly three months, advocates like us have been sounding the alarm as the Biden administration continues to miss opportunity after opportunity to listen to providers on the ground, sexually transmitted infections clinics and the communities they serve.

While well intentioned, the new vaccine distribution strategy is inherently problematic; it is arguably a real-time experiment. Aside from medical experts saying there is little data to prove the efficacy of this approach, the infrastructure to implement it does not exist in our public health system today.

It requires funding to hire and train additional staff, purchase supplies, and educate the public and earn their trust — which continues to erode each time the vaccination strategy changes.

This is funding we simply do not have yet. Now is the time for the Biden administration to chart a new course forward by giving a seat at the table to sexual health clinics and health care providers to help inform the national strategy and to allocate $100 million in funding to implement a change in vaccination strategy.

Anything short of this will, once again, miss the mark in an already spiraling epidemic.

David C. Harvey
Lempster, N.H.
The writer is executive director of the National Coalition of S.T.D. Directors.

Masks on the Subway

Credit…Karsten Moran for The New York Times

To the Editor:

Re “New York City Braces for M.T.A. Budget Disaster Brought On by Pandemic” (news article, Aug. 15):

Here’s one way the Metropolitan Transportation Authority could get me to return to my former heavy use of the transit system.

Until the pandemic is a lot closer to really ending, figure out a way to enforce the rule that transit riders wear a face mask while they are in the system.

I’m 75 and have worked hard to avoid infection, but the one source of infection that I can’t avoid if I want to move around the city is the subway, where, by my count, fewer than half the riders are masking up. Two weeks ago I needed to take two long subway rides, and even though I did so at off-peak hours, my luck ran out and I caught Covid-19, and the only place it could have been was on one of those rides.

I was fortunate that my symptoms were moderate, and I’m now fully recovered, but for a person my age, a Covid infection can be deadly. For the next couple of months I’ll be taking advantage of my boosted post-infection immunity and riding the subway whenever I need to do so, but not forever.

Jonathan Bennett

Building in Flood-Prone Areas

Credit…Sam Kalda

To the Editor:

In my 2001 book, “Blue Frontier,” I reported examples of how FEMA flood insurance, beach replenishment and congressional “corrections” to the Coastal Barrier Resources Act left poorer inland taxpayers subsidizing richer waterfront property owners.

As Francis Wilkinson suggests in “We Will All End Up Paying for Someone Else’s Beach House” (Opinion guest essay, Aug. 9), not enough has changed except that states like Florida that create their own insurance pools to encourage people to rebuild in harm’s way will probably go bankrupt before those funds can be tapped out by the second-home-owning beach barons.

Planned retreat, on the other hand, is what smart locals like the developer of Seaside, Fla., Robert Davis, have always known about and why his planned town behind the dunes survived a 1995 hurricane that took out adjacent communities. “It used to be everyone built well back from the beach,” he explained. “That was before federal flood insurance made stupidity feasible.”

David Helvarg
Richmond, Calif.
The writer is executive director of Blue Frontier, an ocean conservation group, and co-host of “Rising Tide: The Ocean Podcast.”

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