Imagine what defense attorney Johnnie Cochran, during the O.J. Simpson murder trial, would have done with notes to and from LAPD lead detectives Tom Lange and Philip Vannatter in which they demeaned Simpson's fans. Imagine a written exchange in which one detective said, "We'll stop him!" Imagine Cochran's opening and closing arguments, to say nothing of his cross-examination, if he'd had evidence similar to the kind of bias found in the Department of Justice inspector general's report on the FBI's handling of the Hillary Clinton email investigation.
The DOJ IG report included several messages between FBI attorneys and employees who worked on the email investigation. Here is one from an unidentified FBI employee (who didn't work on the email investigation) to FBI attorneys, the day after Trump's election: "I can't stop crying. ... You promised me this wouldn't happen. YOU PROMISED. ... Trump's supporters are all poor to middle class, uneducated, lazy POS that think he will magically grant them jobs for doing nothing. They probably didn't watch the debates, aren't fully educated on his policies, and are stupidly wrapped up in his unmerited enthusiasm."
This is an Aug. 8, 2016, text message exchange between an FBI investigator — who was helping lead the investigation into Russia's interference in the election at the time — and an FBI senior attorney, who were both married to other people and having an affair with each other. In the message, released to the public for the first time, FBI attorney Lisa Page wrote: "(Trump's) not ever going to become president, right? Right?!" "No. No he won't. We'll stop it," said lead agent Peter Strzok.
Yet, incredibly, the IG concluded that political bias did not influence the outcome of the investigation. The report said: "We did not find documentary or testimonial evidence that improper considerations, including political bias, directly affected the specific investigative actions we reviewed."
Still, when IG Michael Horowitz testified about his report, as ex-CBS News reporter Sharyl Attkisson notes, Horowitz used many double negatives: "What we say here is not ... that there was no bias." As to FBI lead investigator Peter Strzok's prioritizing the Trump/Russia collusion investigation over the Clinton email probe, Horowitz said, "We were not convinced that that was not a biased decision."
Horowitz also said this about Strzok's bias: "The one area where we were concerned about bias was in the October time period, and the ... weighing of Agent Strzok between focusing on the Russia investigation versus the Weiner laptop (Clinton emails), and our concern about his decision given the text messages."
Consider this exchange between Sen. Mike Crapo, R-Idaho, and Horowitz:
Crapo: "What you're telling us is you found bias; those who you found the bias among said, 'Well, we didn't let it bleed into our work performance,' and you don't have evidence to disprove that."
The IG report said: "When one senior FBI official, Strzok, who was helping to lead the Russia investigation at the time, conveys in a text message to another senior FBI official, Page, that 'we'll stop' candidate Trump from being elected — after other extensive text messages between the two disparaging candidate Trump — it is not only indicative of a biased state of mind but, even more seriously, implies a willingness to take official action to impact the presidential candidate's electoral prospects. This is antithetical to the core values of the FBI and the Department of Justice."
Simpson defense attorney Cochran vilified white cop Mark Fuhrman as a "genocidal racist." What made Fuhrman a "genocidal racist"? Fuhrman, the "dream team" learned, used the N-word a number of times while discussing his police work in a taped conversation with a screenwriter seven years earlier. And three witnesses testified that Fuhrman used the N-word in conversations with them in the mid-1980s. Imagine if witnesses had credibly testified that, during the investigation, they heard Fuhrman calling Simpson and/or his fans "deplorables" or "uneducated, lazy POS."
In fact, during the O.J. Simpson case, then-LAPD Chief Willie Williams, who happened to be black, ordered a report to determine whether any bias or misconduct affected the integrity of their investigation. Some investigators, the report found, made minor procedural errors. But the report found neither evidence of bias against Simpson nor evidence of misconduct by any of the investigators, let alone any bias or misconduct that affected the judgment of the investigators.
Now suppose the LAPD report had noted numerous instances of bias and demeaning remarks by several investigators toward Simpson, yet the report nevertheless concluded, "We did not find documentary or testimonial evidence that improper considerations, including political bias, directly affected the specific investigative actions we reviewed."
Larry Elder is a best-selling author and nationally syndicated radio talk-show host. To find out more about Larry Elder, or become an "Elderado," visit www.LarryElder.com. Follow Larry on Twitter @larryelder. To read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate webpage at www.creators.com.