FBI director Christopher Wray told a Senate committee Wednesday that the supplemental background check investigation focusing on sexual misbehavior charges against Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh was “limited in scope,” Politico reported.
Wray, speaking in front of the Senate Homeland Security Committee, made the admission under questioning from Sen. Kamala Harris. Harris also was part of the Senate Judiciary Committee which questioned Kavanaugh and one of his accusers, college professor Christine Blasey Ford two weeks ago about one of those charges.
Kavanaugh’s confirmation was delayed by the Senate after the FBI re-opened a background check investigation on him after Ford and two other women made sexual misbehavior claims. Ford charged that Kavanaugh allegedly tried to rape her during a house party while both were in high school more than 30 years ago.
The FBI re-opened the investigation after Republican Judiciary Committee member Jeff Flake, from Arizona, urged it in exchange for his vote to move Kavanaugh’s nomination to the full Senate.
Wray told the Homeland Security Committee that while the Kavanaugh investigation was new, it met FBI standards in such situations.
“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 a long ways,” Wray told Harris under questioning Wednesday, per Politico.
“I’ve spoken with our background investigation specialists and they have assured me this was handled in a way consistent with their experience and the standard process,” Wray said, adding that the investigation was “very specific in scope—limited in scope.”
Wray told Harris that he was not aware of White House counsel Don McGahn reaching out to FBI officials on the investigation or setting the limits of the investigation.
“The communication between the FBI and the White House for nominees, including judicial nominees, is through the FBI security division, background investigation specialists and the White House Office of Security,” Wray told Harris, per Politico. “I can’t speak to what anyone throughout the organization might have received instructions on.”
House Democrats have promised a new sexual misconduct and perjury investigation against Kavanaugh if they win back power in the House of Representatives after the midterm elections, according to the New York Times.
U.S. Rep. Jerrold Nadler, of New York, told the Times that the FBI investigation was a “whitewash,” the newspaper noted. Nadler, who would be in line to lead the House Judiciary Committee if Democrats took control of the House, stopped short of starting impeachment proceedings against Kavanaugh, per the Times.