On Wednesday night, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) warned MSNBC's Rachel Maddow that the conduct of certain Republican members of Congress is putting democracy itself at risk. He says the GOP congressmen have a covert inter-committee working group which is seeking to undermine special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation.
"These are things we have raised alarm bells about, and I think we need to raise them even further at this point," he said.
Schiff, the ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, warned that the behavior of Committee chairman Devin Nunes could lead to a "constitutional crisis" if the president sees it and is "encouraged" by it to fire Mueller.
Nunes has criticized Schiff's "bizarre behavior" surrounding the investigation and warned he thinks the FBI and DOJ have gotten "so dirty" without proper oversight.
"The constitutional crisis this could bring about," Schiff warned. "[If] the administration is encouraged by this. If they are watching that spectacle in the Judiciary Committee, and listening to Republican members talk about a coup, and talk about criminal activity in the FBI. That will encourage the president to think he can fire Rob Mueller with impunity."
Via POLITICO: House Republicans quietly investigate perceived corruption at DOJ, FBI
"I haven't talked to Chairman Nunes since the article came out, but I should say this," Schiff said. I have been aware of a particular working group that crosses different committees that is dedicated to doing these things."
"Initially, rather than focus on the Russian intervention in our election, and the issue of connections between the Trump campaign and Russians, the chairman and others on the committee were focused instead on trying to build a case that the Obama administration was either illegally wiretapping the Trump administration or illegally unmasking people," he explained.
"So the focus was on unmasking," he recalled. "When they found nothing there, they moved on instead to trying to discredit Christopher Steele and to discredit the FBI."
"And I think you are seeing an intensification of that effort. I think it is driven by the idea that if they can discredit the dossier and Christopher Steele, that somehow they can make the entire Russia investigation either go away, or they can impeach the results of what Bob Mueller comes up with, regardless of whether it has anything to do with the dossier."
"This is a really precarious moment for our democracy, when you have two categories of Republican members of Congress: One category that is basically saying and acting the part that if this investigation gets too close to threatening the president, our majority, or our chairmanships, we are prepared to burn down the House. And a second kind of Republicans who are standing mute while they do it. That makes it a very precarious situation."
"I think these attacks on the institutions, these attacks on Bob Muller that are completely unfounded really threaten to do incalculable and long-term damage to the whole administration of justice in this country," the California Democrat warned.
"The problem is not that GOP members came across information that was of concern, but rather there has been a concerted effort from the very beginning to try to build a case, any case, against Mueller and the FBI and the DOJ. Much of our leadership has never stopped being a surrogate for the White House," Schiff said.