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

Rep. Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffGOP divided over impeachment trial strategy READ: Top NSC aide Tim Morrison's closed-door impeachment inquiry testimony Top NSC aide puts Sondland at front lines of Ukraine campaign, speaking for Trump MORE (D-Calif.) said Sunday that Attorney General William BarrWilliam Pelham BarrBarr defends Trump's use of executive authority, slams impeachment hearings GOP eager for report on alleged FBI surveillance abuse DOJ watchdog won't let witnesses submit written feedback on investigation into Russia probe: 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 DurhamNo credibility in this braying for Trump's removal Impeachment tests Barr-Trump relationship Democrats doth protest too much against the Durham investigation 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 ComeyChris Wallace on Yovanovitch testimony: 'If you're not moved, you don't have a pulse' Day one impeachment hearings draw 13.1M viewers, down 32 percent from Comey hearings There are poor ideas, bad ones and Facebook's Libra MORE and former Director of National Intelligence James ClapperJames Robert ClapperThe curious timeline for taking down Trump Fairness, tradition, and the Constitution demand the 'whistleblower' step forward Schiff: Barr 'weaponizing' DOJ 'to go after the president's enemies' 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.