Reps. Jerrold Nadler and Adam B. Schiff late Thursday condemned the Justice Department for transforming its Russian probe review into a criminal investigation.
In a joint statement, Mr. Nadler of New York and Mr. Schiff of California, both Democrats and chairmen of the Judicial Committee and Intelligence Committee respectively, said the Justice Department has become a “vehicle for President Trump’s political retribution.”
“These reports, if true, raise profound new concerns that the Department of Justice under AG [William P.] Barr has lost its independence and become a vehicle for President Trump’s political revenge,” the statement said.
“If the Department of Justice may be used as a tool of political retribution, or to help the President with a political narrative for the next election, the rule of law will suffer new and irreparable damage,” it continued.
The New York Times on Thursday reported the Justice Department shifted its probe of the Russia investigation’s origins into a criminal investigation.
John Durham, the U.S. attorney for Connecticut, is conducting the review, which is being closely watched by Mr. Barr.
It is not clear what prompted the change or what evidence of a potential crime Mr. Durham has uncovered.
The change gives Mr. Durham power. He can now subpoena documents and witness testimony.