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 KavanaughDems escalate gun fight a year after Parkland Virginia political scandals show why words, and their delivery, truly matter In Virginia, due process should count more than blind team support MORE was limited in scope, following precedent for similar investigations.

Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisHillicon Valley: New York says goodbye to Amazon's HQ2 | AOC reacts: 'Anything is possible' | FTC pushes for record Facebook fine | Cyber threats to utilities on the rise O’Rourke heading to Wisconsin amid 2020 speculation 2020 Dems slam Trump's plan to declare national emergency 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.

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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 CollinsGOP braces for Trump's emergency declaration DOJ warns White House that national emergency will likely be blocked: report On The Money: Trump to sign border deal, declare emergency to build wall | Senate passes funding bill, House to follow | Dems promise challenge to emergency declaration MORE (R-Maine), Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeTrump suggests Heller lost reelection bid because he was 'hostile' during 2016 presidential campaign Live coverage: Trump delivers State of the Union Sasse’s jabs at Trump spark talk of primary challenger MORE (R-Ariz.) and Joe ManchinJoseph (Joe) ManchinSenate confirms Trump pick William Barr as new attorney general GOP wants to pit Ocasio-Cortez against Democrats in the Senate Senate poised to confirm Trump’s attorney general pick MORE (D-W.Va.) voted for Kavanaugh after viewing the report.