May 13, 2017

On AMJoy this morning, Joy Reid asked former FBI agent Clint Watts about the idea the director of the FBI would asked to have dinner with the president "in order to save his job, does that ring true to you?"

Watts explained why that was so unlikely.

"No. the FBI director is on a ten-year appointment. He's going to do his job," he said. "If you want the FBI director to a meeting, you do it in the Oval Office.

"This is the Trump way of doing business, around dinner tables. He hasn't understood he's no longer running a business, he's running a country."

Reid then asked if an FBI director "or anyone below him" would tell someone they were not under investigation.

Watts said he doubted it.

"I can't imagine I would say this. If you have that question, and that's coercion, that's influence," he said.

"If you get that question, you either don't answer it or try at least to get out of the situation, which is what I imagine Director Comey was doing."

Everything Watts said is in line with my own experience with the FBI as a reporter. They don't notify the subject during the active investigation phase. When that's concluded, the subject gets what's called a "target letter" telling them they're the target of an investigation. The indictment is yet to follow.

The FBI almost never says anyone was cleared. They only confirm that an investigation has ended. (Again, the agents I knew assumed the target was guilty, they just couldn't get enough to indict.)

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