As part of the contentious confirmation process for then-Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, Republicans and the White House agreed to Democrat demands for an additional limited FBI background investigation to address new allegations and information that had been revealed at the last moment.
When that extra investigation found no corroborating evidence to support the allegations, Democrats cried foul and dismissed the probe as too limited in scope. However, the head of the FBI just testified that everything was done according to normal procedures.
Usual process was followed
FBI Director Christopher Wray appeared for a hearing Wednesday before the Senate Judiciary Committee to answer some questions about that investigation and other issues.
California Democrat Sen. Kamala Harris asked Wray if the FBI had been granted the discretion “to investigate whatever your agency thought was appropriate to figure out what happened.”
Wray replied, “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.”
He later added, “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 declined to answer if anyone at the FBI was responsible for the decision to not interview certain individuals as part of the supplemental investigation — such as Kavanaugh or accuser Christine Blasey Ford — nor did he answer whether the FBI had looked into allegations that Kavanaugh had committed perjury during his sworn testimony.
The decision of the FBI to not directly interview Ford or Kavanaugh or other named individuals marginally related to the allegations has been a key complaint of Democrats who rejected the FBI’s findings at the conclusion of the brief and limited probe.
The director was also asked specifically if White House counsel Don McGahn had communicated directly with anyone at the bureau regarding the investigation, to which he replied he was unable to “speak to what anybody throughout the organization might have received instructions on.”
Wray clarified that, generally speaking, any nominee-related communications between the bureau and White House would involve the FBI’s security division and White House security office.
According to the sworn testimony of the FBI director, the additional investigation into Kavanaugh that was demanded as a condition of his advancement through the confirmation process was done per the “usual process,” undermining Democrat claims that it was done outside of the normal procedures.
In the end, Democrat complaints about the extra investigation of Kavanaugh are little more than a moot point, as the embattled nominee was ultimately confirmed to be the next associate justice of the Supreme Court on Saturday.