The top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee said Wednesday there is legal “precedent” to impeach sitting officials for criminal offenses committed while private citizens.

Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., was referring to the case of former Louisiana federal district court Judge Thomas Porteous Jr., who was removed from office by Congress, in answer to a question about impeaching President Donald Trump.

The comments from Schiff, reported by The Hill, come one day after a bombshell New York Times report claimed President Trump and his family engaged in potentially fraudulent tax maneuvers that substantially increased the fortune he received from his parents. The White House reacted by calling the report a "misleading attack," although the ranking member of the Senate Finance Committee, Ron Wyden, D-Ore., requested the IRS to investigate the allegations.

"On an overwhelming basis, the Senate convicted [Porteous] on all those articles including those two," Schiff said during an event at the Brookings Institution when asked whether a sitting president could be prosecuted due to past illegal actions before being inaugurated.

"We now by constitutional terms — in a country that rarely has impeachment trials — have a precedent that you can be impeached and removed from office both for prior crimes and for lying under oath," he said.

The Senate convicted Porteous in 2010 on four articles of impeachment, one of which was related to charges concerning his past behavior and another for lying under oath, and was therefore forced out of office.

While there is an enduring push by some Democrats to impeach Trump, others, including House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., have said doing so is “not a priority” for the party. Democratic strategists fear that swing voters could be alienated by threats to impeach Trump.

“Impeachment has to spring from something else,” Pelosi said in an interview with the Associated Press in August. Instead, Pelosi is eager to offer protection to special counsel Robert Mueller and allow his team to complete the federal Russia investigation should the Democrats win a majority in the House after the 2018 midterm elections next month.

“If and when the information emerges about that, we’ll see,” Pelosi said in the same interview. “It’s not a priority on the agenda going forward unless something else comes forward.”