Schiff: White House 'badgered' DOJ into investigation of Clinton Foundation

Schiff: White House 'badgered' DOJ into investigation of Clinton Foundation
© Greg Nash

Rep. Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffSchiff: Surveillance warrant docs show that Nunes memo 'misrepresented and distorted these applications' Sunday shows preview: Questions linger over Trump-Putin summit Obama, Bush veterans dismiss Trump-Putin interpreter subpoena MORE (D-Calif.) on Sunday accused the White House of pressuring the Department of Justice (DOJ) into an investigation of the Clinton Foundation.

"If they are investigating Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonWhite House protests extend into sixth day despite rain Clinton: US is 'losing friends and allies' under Trump Justice Dept releases surveillance applications for former Trump aide MORE, it doesn't take a genius, let alone a stable genius, to see why," Schiff told host Jake Tapper on CNN’s "State of the Union," referencing President TrumpDonald John TrumpSchiff: Surveillance warrant docs show that Nunes memo 'misrepresented and distorted these applications' Chicago detention facility under investigation following allegations of abuse of migrant children Ex-Trump aide: Surveillance warrants are 'complete ignorance' and 'insanity' MORE.

"It's not because there is some new evidence that has come to light. It's because they're being badgered by the White House to do it. You simply cannot explain it, I think, any other way," the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee added, calling it "deeply disturbing."

Schiff said the Trump administration has forced the DOJ to take several actions that are "not in isolation" of one another. 

He pointed to the department's decision to release the anti-Trump text messages exchanged in 2016 between FBI agent Peter Strzok and his colleague Lisa Page, amid an investigation into Strzok's work on special counsel Robert MuellerRobert Swan MuellerSasse: US should applaud choice of Mueller to lead Russia probe MORE's Russia probe.

"If you look at the decision by the Justice Department to release these private text messages during the pendency of an internal Department of Justice inspector general investigation, that's unprecedented. And that, similarly, is a nod to the White House," said Schiff, who regularly criticizes the Trump administration.

"And I think that these cracks that we're seeing in the independence of the Justice Department ought to concern every American," he continued.

"That ought to be far more important than any party concerns. But, right now, it certainly doesn't look that way,” Schiff added.

The Hill, citing law enforcement officials and a witness, reported last week that the DOJ has launched a new inquiry into whether the Clinton Foundation engaged in any pay-to-play politics or other illegal activities while Hillary Clinton served as secretary of State.

Clinton went on to become the Democratic presidential nominee and lost to Trump in the 2016 election.