FBI Director Chris Wray defended the investigation into Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh and said Wednesday that the FBI’s background investigation was limited in scope but that the “usual process” was followed.
Wray’s comments at a Senate committee hearing on national security threats were his first public statements about the bureau’s investigation into Kavanaugh’s past and allegations of sexual misconduct dating from Kavanaugh’s high school and college years.
Democrats demanded an investigation, then complained that the White House didn’t give them the open-ended process they wanted.
Democrats also said the FBI was constrained and Senate Republicans narrowly defined the parameters of the investigation, which lasted just a week. Republicans said Democrats were “moving the goalposts” to delay the confirmation when zero evidence of wrongdoing was found.
The Senate confirmed Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court on Saturday.
Wray, responding to questions from California Sen. Kamala Harris, Democrat, said that unlike criminal investigations, the FBI’s authority in background investigations is determined by the agency that requested it — the White House in this case.
“I think I would say that our investigation here, our supplemental update to the previous background investigation, was limited in scope and that that is consistent with the standard process for such investigations going back quite a long ways,” Wray said.
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He said at another point that there had been communication between the FBI’s Security Division, which runs the background investigation process, and the White House Office of Security.
Wray said he had spoken with “our background investigation specialists and they have assured me that this was handled in the way that is consistent with their experience and the standard process,” he said.
The Associated Press contributed to this article