Na­tion: FBI di­rec­tor de­fends Ka­vanaugh in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

The Mercury News - - Front Page - By Devlin Bar­rett and Karoun Demir­jian

WASHINGTON » FBI Di­rec­tor Christo­pher Wray de­fended his agents’ han­dling of a back­ground in­ves­ti­ga­tion into then-Supreme Court nom­i­nee Brett Ka­vanaugh, say­ing that it was “lim­ited in scope” and fol­lowed stan­dard pro­ce­dures.

Wray was pressed at a Se­nate hear­ing by Sen. Ka­mala Har­ris, DCalif., about how much di­rec­tion FBI agents re­ceived from the White House when they con­ducted a sup­ple­men­tal back­ground in­ves­ti­ga­tion into claims by a Cal­i­for­nia pro­fes­sor that Ka­vanaugh at­tempted to sex­u­ally as­sault her when the two were teenagers.

Har­ris pressed the di­rec­tor to ex­plain why FBI agents never in­ter­viewed the woman, Chris­tine Blasey Ford, or Ka­vanaugh, about her ac­cu­sa­tions.

Wray replied: “As is stan­dard, the in­ves­ti­ga­tion was very spe­cific in scope, lim­ited in scope, and that is the usual process and that my folks have as­sured me that the usual process was fol­lowed,” Wray said.

Har­ris then asked if the FBI ex­am­ined whether Ka­vanaugh may have mis­led Congress in his pub­lic tes­ti­mony.

“That’s not some­thing I could dis­cuss here,” Wray said.

Wray ap­peared along­side Home­land Se­cu­rity Sec­re­tary Kirst­jen Nielsen at a hear­ing about se­cu­rity threats held by the Se­nate Home­land Se­cu­rity and Govern­men­tal Af­fairs Com­mit­tee.

He could not an­swer whether White House coun­sel Don­ald McGahn played a role in dis­cus­sions be­tween the White House and the FBI about the in­ves­ti­ga­tion, say­ing only that he was told the FBI’s Se­cu­rity Di­vi­sion co­or­di­nated the ef­fort with the White House Of­fice of Se­cu­rity.

The Ka­vanaugh probe, Wray in­sisted, was “con­sis­tent with the stan­dard process for such in­ves­ti­ga­tions go­ing back quite a long ways.”

The FBI ques­tioned nine peo­ple as part of that fol­low-up in­quiry.

Democrats have ac­cused White House of­fi­cials of prevent­ing the FBI from con­duct­ing a thor­ough in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

Har­ris said in a Se­nate floor speech last week that the probe was “not a search for the truth. This was not an in­ves­ti­ga­tion. This was an ab­di­ca­tion of re­spon­si­bil­ity and duty.”

Back­ground check in­ves­ti­ga­tions are not like crim­i­nal probes, which are con­ducted in­de­pen­dently from ad­min­is­tra­tion over­sight to de­cide whether some­one should be charged with a crime. Rather, they are an in­ves­ti­ga­tion con­ducted at the di­rec­tion and spec­i­fi­ca­tions of the White House to an­swer par­tic­u­lar ques­tions about a nom­i­nee or job can­di­date.

Ka­vanaugh was con­firmed by a mostly par­ti­san vote Satur­day. At a swear­ing-in cer­e­mony at the White House Mon­day, Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump said that “what happened to the Ka­vanaugh fam­ily vi­o­lates ev­ery no­tion of fair­ness, de­cency and due process.”

He told Ka­vanaugh: “You, sir, un­der his­toric scru­tiny, were proven in­no­cent.”

Lawyers for Ford, the first of three women to ac­cuse Ka­vanaugh of sex­ual mis­con­duct, wrote to Wray di­rectly with their con­cerns, call­ing it “in­con­ceiv­able” that the FBI could con­clude its in­ves­ti­ga­tion with­out in­ter­view­ing ei­ther her or Ka­vanaugh.

At Wed­nes­day’s hear­ing, Wray said the FBI is en­gaged in thou­sands of ter­ror­ism in­ves­ti­ga­tions.

“Right now as I sit here, we’re cur­rently in­ves­ti­gat­ing about 5,000 ter­ror­ism cases across Amer­ica and around the world and about 1,000 of those cases are home­grown vi­o­lent ex­trem­ists, and they’re in all 50 states,” said Wray, adding: “In the last year or so we’ve made hun­dreds of ar­rests of ter­ror­ism sub­jects.”

FBI Di­rec­tor Christo­pher A. Wray tes­ti­fies be­fore the Se­nate Com­mit­tee on Home­land Se­cu­rity and Govern­men­tal Af­fairs.

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