by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
It is so frustrating to observe news coverage of Thursday’s announcement that the Justice Department’s inspector general will review the conduct of FBI and Justice Department officials tangential to — but, as I’ve explained, not at the core of — the investigation of Hillary Clinton’s e-mail scandal. As usual, the Left understands exactly what they are choreographing, beginning with Friday’s screaming New York Times page-one headline that “Comey” is the subject of a new Justice Department probe. As always, the Left is setting the parameters of the controversy and the terms by which it will be discussed.
And as night follows day, Republicans are at sea, not knowing quite what is being investigated. Precisely because of the way Democrats have teed things up, Republicans have been hoodwinked into thinking that they must figure out where to come down on FBI director James Comey’s rollercoaster announcements during the campaign stretch run.
In other words: The Democrats are more than halfway home. Republicans figure nothing important has really happened yet. The Left knows it has already set the table. By the time the GOP grasps what’s happening, the public’s understanding of the controversy will be set in stone.
Let me try, again, to help.
Please understand: The charade now underway has nothing to do with determining whether Justice Department protocols were violated by the statements of FBI and Justice Department officials who revealed non-public investigative information — in Comey’s case, to the public at large. That’s the pretext for convening something that can be called a “Justice Department investigation” (which sounds like we’re looking to identify a culprit) by the inspector general (which sounds like the investigation must be non-partisan, even though the IG is an Obama appointee who works with, although often not under the supervision of, Obama’s chosen attorney general).
To the contrary, what is going on here is a battle, which Democrats are hell-bent on winning, between two competing narratives.