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Friday, May 12, 2017

Targeting the Truth -- How A Federal Investigation Works

After listening to or reading the 19th story in the media about the supposed impropriety of President Trump asking then FBI Director Comey if he [Trump] were a target of an investigation, I just can't take the foolishness anymore.  Let's go over the rules regarding how the government deals with people targeted in investigations.

1.  Standard procedure in most criminal investigations is to tell the person being targeted that he or she is the target of an investigation.  There are even form letters disseminated by the government to all of the offices of the US attorneys which are to be used in notifying someone that he or she is the target of an investigation.  There can be times when the feds choose not to inform the target, but that is not the point right now.  What is important to remember is that it is quite proper and common for the target to be told.

2.  Similarly, it is also proper and common for the feds to tell people if they are NOT the target of an investigation.  Again, the feds don't have to tell you, although they cannot lie about it.  The point is that it is proper and common for someone to ask and be told that he or she is NOT the target.

3.  Finally, even if no one asks, it is fine and commonplace for the federal investigators to tell someone that he or she is not the target of the investigation.

Put this together, and you can see that there is nothing unusual or improper about former director Comey telling the President that he is not the target of any federal investigation.

One last note:  whatever the government says can change in a moment.  Even if you get told that you are a target, that can change quickly.  Similarly, the FBI could change its target no matter what Comey told Trump.

The real point here is that all these people who profess to be horrified that Trump would ask Comey or Comey would tell Trump that he is not the target of the investigation are just misinformed.  There is nothing unusual about such a conversation (aside from the participants).  Certainly, there is no reason to be horrified that it happened -- unless you are trying to score political points by misleading and lying to the public.

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