Margot Cleveland uses a Federalist column to apply common bias-detection standards to the contrasting federal investigations of the 2016 major-party presidential contenders.

Now let’s apply these well-established principles of employment law to a theoretical investigation into a company’s two sets of employees — Hillary Clinton and her associates and Donald Trump and his associates — pretending for purposes of illustration that team Hillary is Caucasian and team Trump ais African-American. Let’s also assume that the comments were race-based instead of Trump-based.

Here is Lisa Page’s text to Peter Strzok in that context: “That African-American is not ever going to become president, right? Right?!” And his response: “No. No he won’t. We’ll stop it.” That statement, if spoken in the context of an employment decision, would be the rarely existent direct evidence of racial animus.

That the agents spoke about Trump instead changes nothing of import: It provides direct evidence of an illicit motive. That evidence is backed up with the additional circumstantial evidence consisting of anti-Trump and pro-Hillary messages exchanged by Page and Strzok and the other unnamed agents.

Applying the indirect method of proof is equally damning. Hillary and Trump are similarly situated, yet in investigating allegations of illegality, the FBI approached the cases differently.