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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 SchiffHouse Democrats want to silence opposing views, not 'fake news' White House defends not sanctioning Saudi crown prince over Khashoggi What good are the intelligence committees? 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 ClintonHere's who Biden is now considering for budget chief Clinton praises Dolly Parton's cold shoulder top from vaccination: 'Shall we make this a trend?' Trump was unhinged and unchanged at CPAC 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 TrumpHouse passes voting rights and elections reform bill DEA places agent seen outside Capitol during riot on leave Georgia Gov. Kemp says he'd 'absolutely' back Trump as 2024 nominee 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."

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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 (Bob) MuellerWhy a special counsel is guaranteed if Biden chooses Yates, Cuomo or Jones as AG Barr taps attorney investigating Russia probe origins as special counsel CNN's Toobin warns McCabe is in 'perilous condition' with emboldened Trump 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.