FBI chief: 'Usual process was followed' for Kavanaugh background investigation

FBI Director Christopher Wray said Wednesday that the bureau's background investigation into Supreme Court Justice Brett KavanaughBrett Michael KavanaughChief justice of California Supreme Court leaves GOP over Kavanaugh confirmation Doug Jones: Carmakers 'scared to death' over Trump tariffs McCaskill: 'Kavanaugh spectacle' made the difference in midterm loss MORE was limited in scope, following precedent for similar investigations.

Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisBiden, Sanders lead field in Iowa poll The 2020 Democratic nomination will run through the heart of black America Gillibrand says she's worried about top options in Dem 2020 poll being white men MORE (D-Calif.) asked Wray during a Senate hearing whether the FBI was given full discretion "to investigate whatever your agency thought was appropriate to figure out what happened."

“Our investigation here, our supplemental update to the previous background investigation, was limited in scope and that is consistent with the standard process for such investigations going back quite a long ways,” Wray said.

The FBI head declined to say who at the bureau had made the decision to not interview Kavanaugh, his accuser Christine Blasey Ford or other potential witnesses as part of the investigation.

He also declined to say whether the FBI looked into allegations that Kavanaugh had lied during his testimony before Congress.

“As was standard, the investigation was very specific in scope and limited in scope and that is the usual process and that my folks have assured me that the usual process was followed,” Wray said.

When asked if White House counsel Don McGahn had directly communicated with anyone in the FBI about the background investigation, Wray said he could not “speak to what anybody throughout the organization might have received instructions on.”

He said that, generally, communications about nominations take place between the White House’s security office and the FBI’s security division. 

Kavanaugh, who was sworn in as a member of the Supreme Court over the weekend, faced public allegations of sexual misconduct from three women. He has denied all of the allegations.

Both he and Ford testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee late last month about her allegation that Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her, and the White House directed that a supplemental investigation into Kavanaugh's background be opened amid pressure from Democrats.

The confidential report was made available to senators last week. While Republicans said the report was thorough, some Democrats claimed the FBI did not contact an adequate number of witnesses about the sexual assault allegations.

Key swing votes Sens. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsOvernight Defense: Senate bucks Trump with Yemen war vote, resolution calling crown prince 'responsible' for Khashoggi killing | House briefing on Saudi Arabia fails to move needle | Inhofe casts doubt on Space Force House Dems follow Senate action with resolution to overturn IRS donor disclosure guidance Senate votes to overturn IRS guidance limiting donor disclosure MORE (R-Maine), Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeThe Hill's 12:30 Report – Cohen says Trump knew payments were wrong | GOP in turmoil over Trump shutdown threat | Kyl to resign from Senate at year's end Overnight Defense: Senate bucks Trump with Yemen war vote, resolution calling crown prince 'responsible' for Khashoggi killing | House briefing on Saudi Arabia fails to move needle | Inhofe casts doubt on Space Force Flake asks Daily Show where he can get a blanket emblazoned with his 'meaningless tweets' MORE (R-Ariz.) and Joe ManchinJoseph (Joe) ManchinOvernight Defense: Senate bucks Trump with Yemen war vote, resolution calling crown prince 'responsible' for Khashoggi killing | House briefing on Saudi Arabia fails to move needle | Inhofe casts doubt on Space Force Hillicon Valley — Presented by AT&T — New momentum for privacy legislation | YouTube purges spam videos | Apple plans B Austin campus | Iranian hackers targeted Treasury officials | FEC to let lawmakers use campaign funds for cyber Manchin puts hold on FCC nomination over wireless internet fund delay MORE (D-W.Va.) voted for Kavanaugh after viewing the report.