House set to censure Rep. Adam Schiff over Trump-Russia probes

WASHINGTON (AP) — Democratic Representative Adam Schiff was defiant Wednesday as the Republican-led House prepared to censure him for comments he made years ago during investigations into President Donald Trump’s ties to Russia. He said he would wear official disapproval as a “badge of honor” and accused his GOP colleagues of bidding on the former president.

“I will not back down,” Schiff, a Senate candidate in his home state of California, said during the debate on the measure. “Not an inch.”

More than 20 Republicans voted with Democrats last week to block the no-confidence resolution, but they are changing their votes this week after the measure’s sponsor, Florida Rep. Anna Paulina Luna, removed a provision that could have inflicted fined Schiff $16 million if the House Ethics Committee determines he lied. Several of the Republicans who opposed the resolution last week said they opposed fining a congressman in this way.

The revised resolution says Schiff held positions of power during Trump’s presidency and “abused that trust by saying there was evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.” Schiff was one of the former president’s most vocal critics as the Justice Department and the Republican-led House launched investigations into Trump’s ties to Russia in 2017.

“By repeatedly telling these lies, Representative Schiff has deliberately misled his committee, Congress, and the American people,” the resolution reads.

Schiff, the Democratic former chairman of the House Intelligence Committee and lead prosecutor in Trump’s first impeachment trial, has long been a top Republican political target. Shortly after regaining a majority this year, Republicans barred him from serving on the intelligence panel.

Although Schiff did not launch the 2017 congressional investigation into Trump’s ties to Russia – then-Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes, a Republican who later became one of Trump’s staunchest defenders, launched it — Republicans arguing for his censorship on Wednesday blamed him for what they said was the fallout from that investigation and the separate investigation opened the same year by the own Trump’s Department of Justice.

Luna said Schiff’s comments that there was evidence against Trump “tore apart American families across the country” and that he was “permanently destroying family relationships.” Many blamed him for the more than $30 million spent by then-special counsel Robert Mueller, who led the Justice Department investigation.

Schiff said the censorship resolution “would accuse me of omnipotence, the leader of a vast Deep State conspiracy, and of course that is nonsense.”

Democrats aggressively defended their colleague during the debate. Maryland Rep. Jamie Raskin, who led Trump’s second impeachment, called the effort “an embarrassing revenge tour on behalf of Donald Trump.”

Mueller, who led the Justice Department’s two-year investigation, determined that Russia intervened on the campaign’s behalf and that Trump’s campaign welcomed the assistance. But Mueller’s team did not find the campaign conspired to influence the election, and the Justice Department did not recommend any criminal charges.

The House Intelligence Committee investigation, launched by Nunes when Republicans had a majority, also found that Russia interfered in the election but there was no evidence of a criminal conspiracy. Schiff was the top Democrat on the panel at the time.

A final vote is expected later Wednesday. If the House votes to censure him, Schiff will stand before the House while the text of the resolution is read.

Schiff said last week that the no-confidence resolution was “red meat” that Chairman Kevin McCarthy was throwing at his conference amid wrangling over government spending. Republicans are trying to show loyalty to Trump, Schiff said.

He said he warned the country during the impeachment proceedings three years ago that Trump “would continue to do worse.” And of course, he did worse in the form of a violent attack on the Capitol.

After Democrats won a majority in the House in 2018, the House impeached Trump for abuse of power after he threatened to withhold military aid to Ukraine and urged the country’s president to investigate the presidential nominee. era, Joe Biden. Schiff was the lead House prosecutor arguing for the conviction in the Senate, repeatedly saying that “the law matters.” The Republican-led chamber ultimately acquitted him.

Trump was impeached a second time a year later, after leaving office, for his role in the Jan. 6, 2021, uprising on Capitol Hill. The Senate again acquitted Trump.

In the no-confidence resolution against Schiff, Luna also cited a May report by Special Counsel John Durham that found the FBI rushed its investigation into Trump’s campaign and relied too heavily on facts. raw and unconfirmed information.

Durham said investigators repeatedly relied on “confirmation bias,” ignoring or rationalizing evidence that undermined their premise of a Trump-Russia conspiracy as they pushed the investigation. But he did not allege that political bias or partisanship guided the FBI’s actions.

Trump had claimed that Durham’s report would expose the “crime of the century” and expose a “deep state conspiracy” by senior government officials to derail his candidacy and later his presidency. But the investigation resulted in only one conviction – a guilty plea by a little-known FBI employee – and the only two other cases that were brought both ended in acquittals at trial.

Democrats have argued that the House no-confidence resolution is an effort to distract from Trump’s recent indictment on federal charges of hoarding classified documents — several of which dealt with sensitive national security matters — and attempting to hide them. House Republicans, most of whom are loyal to Trump, say the indictment is further evidence the government is conspiring against the former president.

“This is clearly a handful of Republican members of the House trying to do Donald Trump’s bidding and trying to distract from his very serious legal issues,” said Democratic Rep. Jason Crow of Colorado.

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