FBI confirms it allowed Trump White House to lead ‘investigation’ into Brett Kavanaugh
During a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing last week, FBI Director Chris Wray confirmed that the agency passed all tips in the investigation into then-Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh to the Trump White House without any independent investigation. (clip)
- Note “BI” stands for “background investigation”
Whitehouse: Director Wray, as you know we are now entering the fourth year of a frustrating saga that began with an August 2019 letter from me and Senator Coons regarding the Kavanaugh supplemental background investigation and I’d like to try to get that matter wrapped up. First, is it true that after Kavanaugh-related tips were separated from regular tip line traffic, they were forwarded to White House counsel without investigation?
Wray: I apologize in advance that it’s been frustrating for you. We’ve tried to be clear about our process. So when it comes to the tip line, we wanted to make sure that the White House had all the information we had. So when the hundreds of calls started coming in, we gathered those up, reviewed them, and provided them to the White House—
Whitehouse: Without investigation?
Wray: We reviewed them and then provided them to—
Whitehouse: You reviewed them for purposes of separating from tip-line traffic but did not further investigate the ones that related to Kavanaugh, correct?
Whitehouse: Is it also true that in that supplemental BI the FBI took direction from the White House as to whom the FBI would question and even what questions the FBI could ask?
Wray: It is true that consistent with the long-standing process that we have had going all the way back to at least the Bush administration, Obama administration, Trump administration, and continue to follow currently under the Biden administration, that in a limited supplemental BI we take direction from the requesting entity—which in this case was the White House—as to what follow-up they want. So that’s the direction we followed, that’s the direction we’ve consistently followed throughout the decades frankly. You ask specifically about who—
Whitehouse: No, I said is it true—
Wray: It is true. Ss to the who, yes. I’m not sure whether it’s also true as to the what questions but it is true as to the who we interviewed.
Sen. Roger Marshall (R-KS) called for unanimous consent to pass his resolution declaring “the crisis at the southern border as an invasion” and “recogniz[ing] the rights of each state’s governor to act to secure the border.” Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) objected, calling it “a declaration of war.” (clip)
Durbin: I have read and reread the senator from Kansas’ resolution, and as best I can determine, it is a declaration of war and for that reason should be taken very seriously. He says in the earliest stages of the preamble to express the sense of the Senate regarding the constitutional right of state governors to repel the dangerous ongoing invasion at the US southern border… I’m trying to understand the thinking of the senator from Kansas, but here is the best I can come up with. He says that what is happening at the southern border with our immigration issues is, in his words, actual invasion of the United States, and then goes on to say, quote, governors of all 50 states possess the authority and power as commander in chief of their respective states to repel the invasion described in paragraph two. So as best I can determine, the senator from Kansas is suggesting that each governor has the power to initiate military action. It doesn’t say who the enemy will be or who the target will be, but according to this provision in the constitution, these governors can enter into compacts with other states for this military action or with a foreign power.
Marshall: I encourage my colleagues to support this resolution because the federal government has failed—intentionally or unintentionally—to protect the states from invasion under article 4, section 4 of the United States Constitution. During his campaign to become president, Joe Biden made it clear to the entire world that if he became president, America would be open. Not open for business, but that our southern border would be open. Wide open for anyone and everyone to violate our nation’s immigration laws and to take advantage of America’s generosity. Yes, it would be wide open for drug smugglers, convicted murders, domestic abusers and sex offenders, open for terrorist suspects. In 2019, Joe Biden called for, quote, all those people seeking asylum to immediately surge to the border, end quote. He pledged free health care for illegal immigrants and pledged support for sanctuary cities. One of his first actions as president was sending proposed legislation to congress that would provide a path for citizenship for 10 million to 12 million illegal aliens residing in the United States. On his first day of office, he halted construction of President Trump’s border wall and halted the remain in Mexico program. This open border, opened by Joe Biden, has resulted in an unprecedented, unrelenting massive wave of illegal aliens entering our country.
Last week’s bills
H.R. 8645 and S. 4699: Directs that the Federal Communications Commission may not prevent a State or Federal correctional facility from utilizing jamming equipment. The FCC has come out strongly against this idea, as it would not only block cell phones illegally used by inmates, it would also “interfere with mobile 9-1-1 calls and public safety communication.” Introduced in the Senate by Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) with Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), James Lankford (R-OK), John Boozman (R-AR), Mike Braun (R-IN), John Kennedy (R-LA), and Bill Haggerty (R-TN) as cosponsors. Introduced in the House by Rep. David Kustoff (R-TN) with Reps. William Timmons (R-SC), Tom Rice (R-SC), Ralph Norman (R-SC), and Jeff Duncan (R-SC) cosponsoring.
S. 4735: Prohibits discrimination against religious organizations in receipt and administration of Federal financial assistance. Introduced by Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) and cosponsored by Sens. Josh Hawley (R-MO), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS), Tim Scott (R-SC), James Lankford (R-OK), Jim Inhofe (R-OK), and Rick Scott (R-FL)
Sen. Hawley: “Religious organizations should be allowed to serve their communities without being punished on account of their convictions. This bill will shield organizations helping the most vulnerable from left-wing activists seeking to drive them out of the public square.”
S. 4770: “Prohibit[s] any employee or contractor of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement or the Department of Health and Human Services from transporting any alien across State lines for the purpose of procuring an abortion for such alien.” Introduced by Sen. Roger Marshall (R-KS) with Sens. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), Mike Braun (R-IN), Steve Daines (R-MT), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS), James Inhofe (R-OK), James Lankford (R-OK), Mike Lee (R-UT), Roger Wicker (R-MS), and Rick Scott (R-FL) as cosponsors.
H.R. 8637: Amends the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968 to provide for training on alternatives to use of force, de-escalation, and mental and behavioral health and suicidal crises. Introduced by Rep. Karen Bass (D-CA) with Reps. David Trone (D-MD), Darrell Issa (R-CA), and Steve Chabot (R-OH) as cosponsors.
S. 4700: Eliminates out-of-pocket costs for contraception for people on Veterans Affairs healthcare. Introduced by Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) with 18 Democratic cosponsors and one Republican cosponsor, Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME).
S. 4775: Creates a 2,500 Border Patrol agent reserve force, increases the number of total Border Patrol agents to 20,500, and raises Border Patrol pay by 14 percent. Introduced by Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) with Sens. James Lankford (R-OK), Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), and Mark Kelly (D-AZ) as cosponsors. Statement from sponsors.
- Funding for the hiring of new Border Patrol agents has not historically gone well. During the first two years of Trump’s presidency, Customs and Border Protection spent $13.6 million to recruit and hire just two agents.
S. 4706: Establishes 18-year terms for supreme court justices and creates a process for the president to appoint a new justice every two years. Introduced by Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) with Sens. Cory Booker (D-NJ), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Brian Schatz (D-HI), and Mazie Hirono (D-HI) cosponsoring. Summary of bill here.
- Companion bill in the House, H.R. 8500, was introduced by Rep. Hank Johnson (D-GA) with Reps. Jerrold Nadler (NY), David Cicilline (RI), Shelia Jackson Lee (TX), Steve Cohen (TN), Karen Bass (CA), and Ro Khanna (CA) as cosponsors.
S. 4723: Ensures that healthcare providers in states where abortion remains legal are shielded from any efforts to restrict their practice or create uncertainty about their legal liability. Also creates (1) a new grant program at the Department of Justice to fund legal assistance or legal education for reproductive health care service providers and (2) a new grant program at the Department of Health and Human Services to support reproductive health care service providers in obtaining physical, cyber, or data privacy security upgrades necessary to protect their practice and patients. Introduced by Sen. Parry Murray (D-WA) and 31 Democratic cosponsors.
S. 4768: Amends the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to tax excess profits of large oil and gas companies, to impose a tax on the repurchase of stock by large oil and gas companies. Introduced by Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) with 13 Democratic cosponsors.