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

Rep. Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffBiden holds off punishing Saudi crown prince, despite US intel Overnight Defense: Biden sends message with Syria airstrike | US intel points to Saudi crown prince in Khashoggi killing | Pentagon launches civilian-led sexual assault commission Democrats demand Saudi accountability over Khashoggi killing MORE (D-Calif.) said Sunday that Attorney General William BarrBill BarrMajority of Republicans say 2020 election was invalid: poll Biden administration withdraws from Connecticut transgender athlete case Justice Department renews investigation into George Floyd's death: report 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 DurhamSpecial counsel investigating Russia probe to retire as US attorney Biden administration withdraws from Connecticut transgender athlete case Garland seeks to draw sharp contrast with Trump-era DOJ 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 ComeyJohn Durham's endgame: Don't expect criminal charges Trump DOJ officials sought to block search of Giuliani records: report Tina Fey, Amy Poehler to host Golden Globes from separate coasts amid pandemic MORE and former Director of National Intelligence James ClapperJames Robert ClapperThe biggest example of media malfeasance in 2020 is... Meet Biden's pick to lead the US intelligence community The new marshmallow media in the Biden era 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.