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What We Can Learn From Mueller Report

April 20, 2019 06:15 AM


What We Can Learn From Mueller Report
The redacted version of the report by special counsel Robert Mueller III, charged with investigating possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian agents in the 2016 presidential elections, has been made public and given to the US Congress. It absolved the President, to his relief, of collusion with the Russians, but found he attempted to obstruct the investigation. Two features of the report and its making are striking. One, many in the Trump administration, partisan and conservative as it is, refused to accede to the president’s demand to shut down the probe. Two, it shows that it is possible to conduct a fact-based investigation, even into a subject that treads on acute sensitivity and sensibilities, and reach definitive conclusions. Both attest to the strength of US institutions.

The report’s finding was made public only because of pressure from Democratcontrolled House of Representatives. In the US, the legislature or Congress is a coequal branch of government. This is what allows the US lawmakers to step in and consider the Mueller report and determine the future course of action. In India’s Westminster system, the executive is part of the legislature. Court-monitored special investigation teams, apart from joint parliamentary committees, can carry out in India a function similar to Mueller’s. The common thread between these two systems is the primacy of the rule of law and the constitution.

Questioning the integrity of institutions just to further a short-term political agenda only serves to undermine democracy. Building strong institutions takes time and hard work, requiring all, particularly the political class, to set aside the lure of narrow short-term gains. That is the lesson that democracies such as India should draw from the Mueller report

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