Comey defends FBI's ability to investigate Kavanaugh

Comey defends FBI's ability to investigate Kavanaugh
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Former FBI Director James ComeyJames Brien ComeyThe Hill's Morning Report — Washington readies for Mueller end game Comey: I'm not rooting for Mueller to demonstrate Trump is a criminal Trump's attacks on McCain exacerbate tensions with Senate GOP MORE is defending the FBI's ability to investigate allegations of sexual misconduct against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. 

Comey in a New York Times op-ed published Sunday stood up for the bureau's integrity and efficiency, saying it is staffed by "people who just want to figure out what’s true" even "on a seven-day clock."

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"It is better to give professionals seven days to find facts than have no professional investigation at all," Comey wrote. "Agents can just do their work. Find facts. Speak truth to power." 

He added that he believes the one-week time frame is "idiotic." 

Sen. Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeTrump's attacks on McCain exacerbate tensions with Senate GOP Schumer to introduce bill naming Senate office building after McCain amid Trump uproar Trump keeps tight grip on GOP MORE (R-Ariz.) called for a one-week delay on a Senate vote to confirm Kavanaugh, in order for a FBI investigation to take place. The White House promptly ordered the investigation.

But recent reports have indicated the White House is limiting the scope of the FBI's probe. The White House is reportedly not allowing the bureau to investigate claims made by Julie Swetnick, the third woman accusing Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct, or Kavanaugh's history with alcohol. The White House has denied the report.

While some Democrats have cast doubt on the FBI's ability to complete a thorough investigation under these circumstances, Comey in the op-ed wrote that he does not believe politics will hinder the investigation.

"Although the process is deeply flawed, and apparently designed to thwart the fact-gathering process, the FBI is up for this," Comey wrote. "It’s not as hard as Republicans hope it will be."

He compared the situation into the FBI's investigation of former Democratic presidential nominee Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonDemocratic Socialists of America endorses Sanders for president How to end the Electoral College and elect our next president by popular vote CNN town halls put network at center of Dem primary MORE's private emails.

"The FBI is back in the middle of it," he wrote. "When we were handed the Hillary Clinton email investigation in 2015, the bureau’s deputy director said to me, 'You know you are totally screwed, right?' "

"He meant that, in a viciously polarized political environment, one side was sure to be furious with the outcome," Comey said, theorizing this situation will be equally frustrating to those on both sides of the aisle. 

Comey guessed that most of the witnesses will be compliant and tell their stories to the FBI agents working on the probe.

"Yes, the alleged incident occurred 36 years ago," he wrote, referring to Christine Blasey Ford's allegation that Kavanaugh pinned her down and assaulted her in 1982. "But FBI agents know time has very little to do with memory."

The former FBI director and author in the article also charged that Kavanaugh "lied" about the definitions of words in his high school yearbook during the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Thursday. 

Kavanaugh during a hearing on Thursday answered extensive questions about comments written in his high school yearbook, ranging from a reference to being "alumnus" of a female student at a nearby school, which he said was not a sexual term, to "Devil's Triangle," which he said was a drinking game.

"[FBI agents] also know that little lies point to bigger lies," Comey wrote. "They know that obvious lies by the nominee about the meaning of words in a yearbook are a flashing signal to dig deeper."

"Although the FBI won’t reach conclusions, their granular factual presentation will spotlight the areas of conflict and allow decision makers to reach their own conclusions," Comey wrote. 

Comey in the article doubled down on previous comments he has made criticizing the president for casting doubt on the FBI's integrity. 

"We live in a world where the president routinely attacks the FBI because he fears its work," he wrote. "He calls for his enemies to be prosecuted and his friends freed." 

Trump fired Comey in 2017 and he has since become a vocal critic of the administration.