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 KavanaughOvernight Health Care — Presented by That's Medicaid — Progressives hope to avoid drug-pricing showdown with Pelosi | 'Medicare for All' backers get high-profile hearing | Dems take victory lap after eliminating drug protections in trade deal Justices grapple with multibillion-dollar ObamaCare case Potential Dem defectors face pressure on impeachment MORE was limited in scope, following precedent for similar investigations.

Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisPoll: Buttigieg slips into fourth place as Biden widens lead Yang qualifies for December Democratic debate The media have fallen out of love with Bernie, but have voters? 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 CollinsRepublicans consider skipping witnesses in Trump impeachment trial Group of veterans call on lawmakers to support impeachment, 'put country over politics' Defense bill includes fix for military families' survivor benefits MORE (R-Maine), Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeLindsey Graham basks in the impeachment spotlight Kelly, McSally virtually tied in Arizona Senate race: poll The Hill's 12:30 Report — Presented by Nareit — White House cheers Republicans for storming impeachment hearing MORE (R-Ariz.) and Joe ManchinJoseph (Joe) ManchinManchin warns he'll slow-walk government funding bill until he gets deal on miners legislation Krystal Ball: Is this how Bernie Sanders will break the establishment? Potential Dem defectors face pressure on impeachment MORE (D-W.Va.) voted for Kavanaugh after viewing the report.