Intel Committee Ranking Member Schiff Statement on President Trump and the Department of Justice
Washington, DC -- Today, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), the Ranking Member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, released the following statement:
After the abuses of the Watergate era and over successive administrations, the Department of Justice has sought to adhere to strict guidelines to insulate the Department and Federal Bureau of Investigation from inappropriate intervention or pressure by the President and the White House.
“In the ten months since President Trump took office, we have seen vital safeguards against the abuse of power erode, or even fail. The President’s behavior raises profound concerns that he is exerting political pressure on our law enforcement agencies and Congress, in an effort to settle scores against his political opponents, or to distract from ongoing investigations by the Special Counsel and Congress into Russia’s effort to influence our elections and whether the Trump campaign colluded with Russia.
“Following closely on revelations that President Trump has personally interviewed U.S. Attorney candidates who would have jurisdiction over potential legal issues involving his family and businesses, reports yesterday allege that President Trump instructed his staff to weigh in with the Justice Department to urge them to waive an FBI non-disclosure agreement – for the purpose of advancing a partisan congressional investigation into the President’s former political opponent.
“If true, these allegations are alarming and raise important questions and concerns that Congress cannot ignore. A cornerstone of our democracy is that the Justice Department and FBI must be able to make decisions without undue White House influence. The Majority Members of our Committee recently launched a unilateral investigation into the Uranium One deal. The prospect that the President sought to intervene will now need to be a key part of that investigation, to determine if improper political leverage was applied to target his political foe. In emerging democracies, we emphasize that you do not seek to pervert the justice system to punish your opponent after an election; it appears that lesson may need to be relearned here at home.”