Top Intel Dem to Trump: Justice Dept belongs 'to the American people,' not you

Top Intel Dem to Trump: Justice Dept belongs 'to the American people,' not you
© Getty Images

Rep. Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffPelosi: 'Follow the money' to understand Trump-Saudi relations Lawmakers point fingers at Saudi crown prince in Khashoggi's death Schiff predicts Trump will accept Saudi denials of involvement in Khashoggi's death MORE (Calif.) fired back at President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump to fundraise for 3 Republicans running for open seats: report Trump to nominate former Monsanto exec to top Interior position White House aides hadn’t heard of Trump's new tax cut: report MORE after the commander in chief asserted he has the “absolute right” to do what he wants with the Department of Justice, telling Trump “no, you don’t.”

“You can do what you want with your golf courses,” Schiff, the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, tweeted Friday. “But the country and its Justice Department belong to the American people."

In an interview with The New York Times Thursday, Trump was asked if he would reopen an investigation into former Democratic presidential candidate Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonHillicon Valley: Bolton tells Russians 2016 meddling had little effect | Facebook eyes major cyber firm | Saudi site gets hacked | Softbank in spotlight over Saudi money | YouTube fights EU 'meme ban' proposal Dems lower expectations for 'blue wave' Election Countdown: Takeaways from heated Florida governor's debate | DNC chief pushes back on 'blue wave' talk | Manchin faces progressive backlash | Trump heads to Houston rally | Obama in Las Vegas | Signs of huge midterm turnout MORE’s email use during her time as secretary of State.


"I have absolute right to do what I want to do with the Justice Department. But for purposes of hopefully thinking I’m going to be treated fairly, I’ve stayed uninvolved with this particular matter," Trump said.

Schiff has emerged as one of the White House's chief critics over special counsel Robert MuellerRobert Swan MuellerSasse: US should applaud choice of Mueller to lead Russia probe MORE's investigation into Russia's election meddling, saying evidence of coordination between Moscow and the Trump campaign looks "pretty damning." 

"The Russians offered help. The campaign accepted help. The Russians gave help. And the president made full use of that help," Schiff said earlier this month.

Trump said during this week's interview it was “too bad” that Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsConservatives fume over format of upcoming Rosenstein interview Support for legal marijuana hits all-time high: Gallup Beto O'Rourke on impeachment: 'There is enough there to proceed' MORE recused himself from the investigation. Trump compared Sessions to former President Obama’s attorney general, Eric HolderEric Himpton HolderBen Shapiro condemns Republicans confronting Nancy Pelosi: ‘Stupid, nasty, and counterproductive’ Trump rebukes Holder, Clinton with 'jobs not mobs' refrain Eric Trump calls out Holder on kicking comments: 'Who says this?' MORE.

“I don’t want to get into loyalty, but I will tell you that, I will say this: Holder protected President Obama. Totally protected him,” Trump told the newspaper. “When you look at the things that they did, and Holder protected the president. And I have great respect for that, I’ll be honest.”

Trump has previously railed against the Justice Department, calling for an investigation into Clinton and other Democrats and saying “a lot of people are disappointed” by the department.

Those comments drew ire from Sen. Bob CorkerRobert (Bob) Phillips CorkerCongress raises pressure on Saudi Arabia GOP-affiliated voters outperforming Democrats in key states’ early voting: report The Hill's 12:30 Report — Trump says he is cutting foreign aid over caravan | Lawmakers point fingers at Saudi crown prince | DNC chair downplays 'blue wave' talk MORE (R-Tenn.), who blasted Trump in November, calling the remarks “totally inappropriate” and saying Trump’s comments "not only undermine our justice system but erode the American people’s confidence in our institutions.”