Federal investigators and prosecutors did not give preferential treatment to Clinton. They pursued the case on the merits. They were guided by, as the inspector general’s report puts it, “the prosecutor’s assessment of the facts, the law, and past Department practice.”

The most significant mistake in the investigation didn’t help Clinton. It hurt her, badly. It was James Comey’s decision to violate department policy and talk publicly about the investigation. If it weren’t for that decision, the polling data suggests Clinton would be president.

Now that the report has been released, Trump and his allies are trying to confuse people about what it actually said. The White House and loyal media organizations like Fox News are mixing the report’s subjects to make it sound much better for Trump than it really is. And more serious news coverage often struggles to find clear enough language to explain the bait and switch, without seeming to lose its objectivity.