Schiff: Barr 'weaponizing' DOJ 'to go after the president's enemies'

Rep. Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffDemocrats seek leverage for trial Pence's office denies Schiff request to declassify call with Ukrainian leader Comey, Schiff to be interviewed by Fox's Chris Wallace MORE (D-Calif.) said Sunday that Attorney General William BarrWilliam Pelham BarrInspector general testifies on FBI failures: Five takeaways Budowsky: Would John McCain back impeachment? Former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen asks judge to reduce sentence MORE “is weaponizing the Justice Department to go after the president’s enemies.”

The House Intelligence Committee chairman said the criminal investigation the Department of Justice (DOJ) has launched to investigate the origins of the Russia probe shows Barr is “a tool of the president” and not “the representative of the American people.”

“If these reports are correct and now Bill Barr’s Justice Department is doing a criminal investigation of people who properly looked into Russian interference in our election in the FBI or the intelligence agencies, it means that Bill Barr on the president’s behalf is weaponizing the Justice Department to go after the president’s enemies,” Schiff told Martha Raddatz on ABC’s “This Week.”

The California representative added that the DOJ has not publicly explained why the investigation would be necessary, as an independent inspector general is already looking into the beginnings of the Russia probe.

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“You can assign good people to do an illegitimate investigation,” Schiff said, referring to U.S. Attorney John DurhamJohn DurhamInspector general testifies on FBI failures: Five takeaways DOJ watchdog: Durham said 'preliminary' FBI Trump probe was justified Live coverage: DOJ inspector general testifies on Capitol Hill MORE, who is running the criminal investigation for DOJ. “You can assign good people to investigate the president’s rivals. It doesn’t mean it’s any less tainted.”

Schiff maintained that the investigation had a "political" motivation because the president asked DOJ to "investigate anyone who stood in his way," mentioning former FBI Director James ComeyJames Brien ComeyInspector general testifies on FBI failures: Five takeaways Horowitz offers troubling picture of FBI's Trump campaign probe GOP senator to FBI: 'Someone's got to be fired' MORE and former Director of National Intelligence James ClapperJames Robert ClapperTrump predicts 'historic' conclusions from DOJ's watchdog report on 'spying' The curious timeline for taking down Trump Fairness, tradition, and the Constitution demand the 'whistleblower' step forward MORE by name.

“So I think you can connect one dot to the other,” he said.

The New York Times reported Thursday about the DOJ’s shift from an administrative review on how the Russia investigation was conducted to a criminal investigation. The criminal investigation label enables Durham to subpoena witnesses and documents, assemble a grand jury, and file charges.