Senators had the chance to discuss homeland security threats with FBI Director Christopher Wray — but Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) felt she had more pressing issues for the director to answer.
Instead of gathering a better understanding of the threats Americans face from terrorists, Harris changed the subject to the FBI investigation of Justice Brett Kavanaugh.
Specifically, Harris wanted to nail down any limitations placed upon the investigative body by President Donald Trump.
FBI Director Wray: "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…" pic.twitter.com/XBdvtqQzaA
— CSPAN (@cspan) October 10, 2018
Sen. Harris: When the FBI was given the direction to do the background investigation as it related to Dr. Ford’s allegation, that’s a direction that goes to the FBI from the White House, is that correct, not from the Senate?
Dir. Wray: That’s correct.
Sen. Harris: And when the FBI was directed to do that investigation as it relates to those specific allegations, was the FBI given full discretion or was the scope of the investigation limited to the direction you received from the White House?
Wray clarified the procedural issue for Harris, stating:
“It’s important to understand that the, unlike most investigations like the sort that you and I and Sen. [Doug] Jones have all been familiar with, traditional criminal investigations, national security investigations, a background investigation is very different. Our only authority is as requested by the adjudicating agency, which in this case is the White House.”
Despite Wray’s explanation that he has no control over the scope of background investigations, Harris continued to press the issue.
“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.”
During the same testimony, Wray explained that the FBI is “currently investigating about 5,000 terrorism cases across America and around the world and about a thousand of those cases are homegrown violent extremists and they are in all 50 states.”
Apparently, Harris found the details about the investigation into the claims against Kavanaugh to be a more valuable use of her questioning.