Schiff: Acting AG 'will be called to answer' if he interferes with Mueller investigation

Rep. Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffThe Hill's Morning Report - Is impeachment back on the table? Trump takes aim at Dem talk of impeachment Dems digging into Trump finances post-Mueller MORE (D-Calif.) said Sunday that there are "very strong" facts that indicate acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker should recuse himself from overseeing special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerSasse: US should applaud choice of Mueller to lead Russia probe MORE's investigation, and pledged to hold Whitaker accountable if it's found he made any commitment to President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump calls Sri Lankan prime minister following church bombings Ex-Trump lawyer: Mueller knew Trump had to call investigation a 'witch hunt' for 'political reasons' The biggest challenge from the Mueller Report depends on the vigilance of everyone MORE regarding the probe.

"It seems to me the facts for recusal are very strong here," Schiff said on NBC's "Meet the Press."

"This is someone who's made repeated and prejudicial comments against the investigation," he continued. "Someone who has made false statements about it, claiming that the Russians really had no impact on our election. It's someone who has a relationship with one of the important witnesses in the investigation."

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Schiff said if Whitaker does not recuse himself, Democrats will use their newfound majority to press him on any role he plays in influencing the investigation.

"If he has any involvement whatsoever in this Russia probe, we are going to find out whether he made commitments to the president about the probe, whether he is serving as a back channel to the president or his lawyers about the probe, whether he's doing anything to interfere with the probe," Schiff said. "Mr. Whitaker needs to understand that he will be called to answer."

He added that he's unsure whether Whitaker is constitutionally eligible to hold the position, echoing concerns from other Democrats and legal experts.

Trump appointed Whitaker on Wednesday to take over for former Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsAnd the winner of the Robert Mueller Sweepstakes is — Vladimir Putin The Memo: Mueller's depictions will fuel Trump angst Collins: Mueller report includes 'an unflattering portrayal' of Trump MORE. Trump had been openly critical of the former Alabama senator, particularly over his decision to recuse himself from overseeing Mueller's investigation.

Whitaker has written opinion columns for The Hill and CNN advocating for curbing the scope of the Mueller investigation, and suggesting stifling its funding. His appointment as acting attorney general has revived calls from Democrats to protect Mueller's investigation.