Skip to main content

FBI Director Chris Wray on Wednesday defended the FBI’s background investigation of new Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, saying the work was limited in scope and that the “usual process” was followed by his agents.

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.

That process has faced bitter criticism from Democrats, who have complained that the White House constrained the FBI and worked with Senate Republicans to narrowly define the parameters of the investigation. The investigation lasted a week and did not include interviews with multiple people who said they had relevant information to share about Kavanaugh’s past.

Story continues below advertisement

Republicans say the FBI reached out to 11 people for interviews, including a Yale University classmate of Kavanaugh’s who had accused him of exposing himself to her in college, and that 10 people agreed to be questioned. The FBI did not interview Kavanaugh or a California college professor who had accused Kavanaugh of assaulting her when they were high school students.

The Senate confirmed Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court by a 50-48 vote on Saturday.

Wray, responding to questions from Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., said that unlike criminal or national security 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.

He said at another point that there had been communication between the FBI’s Security Division, which includes background investigation specialists, and the White House Office of Security. Wray said he had spoken with FBI specialists “and they have assured me that this was handled in the way that is consistent with their experience and the standard process.”

Asked by Harris who determined that the FBI would not interview the professor, Christine Blasey Ford, or other witnesses who had information, Wray replied, “The investigation was very specific in scope, limited in scope, and that that is the usual process and that my folks have assured me that the usual process was followed.”

Wray declined to answer a question from Harris about whether the FBI had investigated whether Kavanaugh had lied to Congress under oath.

Story continues below advertisement

“That’s not something I can discuss here,” he said.

Report an error
Comments

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • All comments will be reviewed by one or more moderators before being posted to the site. This should only take a few moments.
  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed. Commenters who repeatedly violate community guidelines may be suspended, causing them to temporarily lose their ability to engage with comments.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.
Cannabis pro newsletter