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 SchiffTrump cancels delegation's trip to Davos amid shutdown Trump fires back at Pelosi, cancels her foreign travel FISA shocker: DOJ official warned Steele dossier was connected to Clinton, might be biased 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 ClintonDershowitz to The Atlantic: Do not violate Constitution to safeguard it Why Joe Biden (or any moderate) cannot be nominated GOP Rep. Tom Marino resigns from Congress 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 TrumpTrump directed Cohen to lie to Congress about plans to build Trump Tower in Moscow during 2016 campaign: report DC train system losing 0k per day during government shutdown Senate Republicans eye rules change to speed Trump nominees 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.