In an op-ed written by James Comey and published Sunday by the New York Times, the former FBI director expressed support for the agency’s “supplemental” investigation into Supreme Court Justice nominee Brett Kavanaugh’s background but condemned the imposed deadline, saying “It is idiotic to put a shot clock on the F.B.I. But it is better to give professionals seven days to find facts than have no professional investigation at all.”
Comey expressed complete confidence in the ability of FBI agents to conduct a thorough investigation, explaining that this is their area of expertise. As they dig into claims against Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct, they will leverage their interviewing skills and will make sure that any leads are followed up with additional interviews.
Comey added that, “Unless limited in some way by the Trump administration, they can speak to scores of people in a few days, if necessary.”
CNN reported Sunday that there are concerns about the extent to which the White House will seek to control this week’s investigation, with sources telling them that the FBI will take direction not from the Senate but from the president and that it is the president who will control its scope. The source further stated “that the agency would interview a handful of people.” It isn’t known how specific the direction provided by the White House is so it isn’t known whether it limits the scope of the investigation to specific incidents or to specific potential interviewees.
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The former FBI director said that the interviewing skills of agents lies not only in knowing what to ask but also in how to ask it. He explained that they “confront people with testimony and other accounts, testing them and pushing them in a professional way. Agents have much better nonsense detectors than partisans, because they aren’t starting with a conclusion.”
As mentioned multiple times throughout the Kavanaugh hearings, the FBI’s reports will not reach a conclusion but rather will bring attention to discrepancies and provide a basis for senators and others to draw their own conclusions.
James Comey questioned the real intent of the new investigation, stating that an investigation that is truly done in an effort to determine the truth doesn’t have a time limit. He stated that if “truth were the only goal, there would be no clock, and the investigation wouldn’t have been sought after the Senate Judiciary Committee already endorsed the nominee.”