The House Intelligence Committee is officially investigating the Department of Justice and FBI, the committee's ranking Democrat confirmed during a news conference Tuesday.
What did he say?
Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) told reporters at a lengthy press conference that Monday was the first time the committee’s Republican majority informed the Democratic minority of the investigation.
Schiff’s comments came shortly after the House Intelligence Committee voted to release the controversial “FISA memo,” which allegedly details government surveillance abuses. Schiff explained:
It was disclosed to the minority today for the first time that the majority has evidently opened an investigation of the FBI and an investigation of the Department of Justice. Under our committee rules, of course, that has to be the product of consultation with the minority.
Now it has been publicly reported from time to time that there was a subset of the majority working on some kind of an investigation or inquiry into the Department of Justice and FBI. But apparently the chairman [Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) made it formal today.
According to [Republicans], the FBI is under investigation and so is the Department of Justice.
#BREAKING: The FBI and DOJ are now under investigation. pic.twitter.com/jlgiI9w47e
— Ryan Saavedra 🇺🇸 (@RealSaavedra) January 29, 2018
Schiff later called the investigations a "wholesale broadside" against the DOJ and FBI, according to the Washington Examiner, but he didn't specify why the committee is investigating.
Why might there be an investigation?
Increased scrutiny has been building around the DOJ and FBI in recent weeks as more information comes out detailing how the agencies handled both the Clinton email investigation and the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, which has effectively become the Trump-Russia investigation.
Lawmakers are also concerned that the Obama administration, via the DOJ and FBI, improperly secured a surveillance warrant from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court for a Trump campaign official by using information from the unverified "Trump dossier."
Evidence that the FISA warrant was issued based upon the salacious document is reportedly detailed in the "FISA memo" created by a handful of members on the House Intelligence Committee. The report is the product of thousands of DOJ documents, Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) told Fox News over the weekend.
But is the investigation new?
While Schiff announced the investigation is officially formal, a Nunes spokesperson told the Exmainer that Nunes discussed the inquiry on Fox News last month.
In addition, Politico reported last month that a small group of Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee were investigating the DOJ and FBI. According to the report, the group is probing for corruption and how the agencies used the dossier.