The Corner

Politics & Policy

The IG Hall of Mirrors

The 568 page report by U.S. Department of Justice Inspector General Michael Horowitz is seen shortly after its release in Washington, D.C., June 14, 2018. (Jim Bourg/Reuters)

The professionally written and admirably researched IG report is in some sense a hall of mirrors, with all sorts of reflections that are contorted and warped, and into which all parties claim to see reality.

Often the euphemistic conclusions are not supported by the data produced. The only constant to Obama-era FBI and DOJ behavior is the universal assumption that Hillary Clinton would be president, and what might be assumed as improper or illegal conduct in the present, would likely in the future be excused or rewarded.

On the question of “bias,” the report exhaustively catalogues communications in which government investigators and attorneys systematically deprecate Trump, and the Trump voter, and in explicit terms boast about stopping him.

Apparently the IG can conclude that there is not actionable bias (although at times admitting he could not rule it out), because he did not find something such as “documentary” memos or texts outlining explicit behaviors, or some fantasy such as an admission that “the Trump voter is a POS who smells and therefore that fact is going to unprofessionally guide my investigations” — as if bias and prejudice are ever in professional life so clumsily documented in a formal, self-incriminating manner.

Instead, bias in government is manifested through cynicism about the objectivity of an investigation, in personal animus for those under investigation, and with disdain for particular and entire classes of perceived inferiors — precisely the themes of various texts in the IG report. And, of course, bias shows up in results: Almost none of the DOJ and FBI agents in the IG report will ever face serious legal consequences for running a warped investigation quite unlike any of those they typically conduct on average Americans. What the IG often terms “improperly” would be considered “illegally” for most Americans.

There is mention of apparent quid pro quo “gifts” to FBI agents from journalists. The lead investigator into the improper if not illegal use of personal emails himself improperly uses personal email. A DOJ lawyer as a veritable Clinton mole obsequiously tries to peddle his influence to snag a job for his son on the Clinton campaign. The Russian probe is mysteriously green-lighted; the Clinton email scandal investigation is ossified.

FBI and DOJ attorneys cynically predict that investigations and their results will be predicated on the reality of an existing Obama presidency and a preordained Clinton continuance. Trump’s supporters are trashed as smelly idiots, little more than feces. Redaction is exposed as an FBI/DOJ juvenile and clumsy ruse to protect the embarrassing and biased communications of those supposedly conducting “unbiased” investigations. Un-redaction reveals revolting gossip and puerility, not as once claimed confidential investigative methods or matters of national security.

Comey’s FBI is the mirror image of Mueller’s special-counsel investigation: Both have the same objective to subvert Trump, but the means to achieve such a shared end are flipped, given the different circumstances.

On the one hand, Comey and his FBI ignore likely perjury and the misleading testimonies of Clinton staffers. For purposes of exoneration, they struggle to invent new linguistic interpretations of existing statutes. They ignore what is likely obstruction of justice of the attorney general modulating her investigations of the email scandal after meeting stealthily with Bill Clinton, the spouse of the suspect currently under investigation. They deliberately mask the fact that the president of the United States has communicated with his secretary of state over an illegal server and then has likely lied about his ignorance of such a fact. Comey himself admits that political considerations warp the course of his investigation of the email scandal.

In dire contrast, for Mueller, even perceived incomplete or inaccurate testimony is immediately leveraged as possible perjury for dirt on superiors. Supposed bribes and influence peddling are never reduced to mere “gifts.” When there is no evidence of collusion, every imaginable personal sin of the past is dredged up, again to flip a witness with threats of exorbitant legal costs and exposure to jail. The Andrew McCabe standard of conflict of interest (there is supposedly no technical law against one’s spouse receiving $700,000 in campaign help from a political machine allied to a candidate that one has just been investigating) does not apply to Flynn et al. but is redefined as “collusion.”

We have not yet even seen a smidgeon of any IG report on the abuses of the FISA court, the government trafficking in the Clinton-bought dossier, or the insertion of an “informant” into the Trump campaign. But this particular IG report mostly follows the pattern of those conducted about Fast and Furious, the Lerner IRS mess, and other scandals of the prior eight years: Professionally conducted research into behavior of federal officials that finds levels of illegality that would warrant any other American a jail sentence — concluding with the implied obvious conclusion and suggested remedies: 1) There will be no consequences for the culpable other than temporary embarrassment and loss or reassignment of employment; 2) federal employees should follow existing laws.

NOW WATCH: 8 Things You Need To Know About The IG Report

Victor Davis Hanson — NRO contributor Victor Davis Hanson is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution and the author, most recently, of The Second World Wars: How the First Global Conflict Was Fought and Won.

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