Republicans take rare step of censoring Rep. Adam Schiff on Trump-era investigations

WASHINGTON — The House took the rare step Wednesday of censuring one of its own members, Democratic Representative Adam Schiff, for his criticism of then-President Donald Trump and his role in leading the first impeachment inquiry into the former president.

The 213-209 party line vote came exactly a week after a similar effort to censure Schiff, D-California, was defeated after 20 Republicans joined Democrats in blocking the resolution due to objections. to a provision that included a $16 million fine.

But the resolution’s author, freshman Rep. Anna Paulina Luna, R-Fla., said this week that she won the support of all 20 GOP dissidents after removing language about a fine.

After the vote, Schiff was ordered to stand on the floor of the House to receive a verbal reprimand, read by Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif. Democrats chanted “Shame!” and “Shame!” and heckled McCarthy.

The resolution also demands that the House Ethics Committee investigate Schiff. Six Republicans voted present on the no-confidence resolution.

“The perpetrator of this network of deception became the mainstay of cable news, waking up every morning with one goal: to lie, lie, lie to the American people that there was direct evidence of collusion with Russia.” , said Luna in a speech before the vote.

Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation found no coordination between the Trump campaign and Russia, though it did document contact between Russians and campaign officials and found the campaign was willing to agree help.

Schiff, who is running for an open Senate seat in California, was the chairman and ranking member of the intelligence committee during the Trump administration, and he has become the face of Democratic accusations that members of the campaign team of Trump in 2016 colluded with Russia to defeat the Democratic nominee. Hillary Clinton.

In January, McCarthy, a top Trump ally, single-handedly removed Schiff and Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-Calif., from the intelligence panel.

“I think once Donald Trump threatened that any Republicans who didn’t go along with his efforts to censor me were going to be primaries, they lined up. … They just can’t stand up to this most unethical president, now indicted,” a defiant Schiff told reporters on the Capitol steps ahead of Wednesday’s vote.

“As [Franklin D.] Roosevelt said, sometimes you can judge a person by the enemies they make,” he added. “Judging by the kind of lunatics who were on the floor today in support of this resolution, I I’m doing really well by that standard. ”

Censure represents the House’s formal disapproval of a legislator’s misconduct. Even amid the current political polarization, censorship doesn’t happen very often.

Schiff is the 25th lawmaker in U.S. history to be censured by the House. Rep. Paul Gosar, R-Arizona, a Trump ally and member of the conservative Freedom Caucus party, was censored Nov. 17, 2021, for posting a Twitter animation showing him killing Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, DN. Y. , and attacking President Joe Biden.

Before that, the last censorship had taken place more than a decade earlier. On December 2, 2010, the House censured Ways and Means Committee Chairman Charlie Rangel, D.N.Y., for various ethics violations, including the misuse of Congressional letterhead for the collection of funds and the filing of inaccurate financial reports and federal income tax returns.

Democrats, especially those who worked closely with Schiff on the intelligence panel, have defended him, both in speeches and in interviews.

“Adam Schiff did his job. He told the truth and he held Donald Trump accountable,” Rep. Jason Crow, D-Colo., said in an interview. “And demagogues like Donald Trump don’t like that. They don’t like people calling them.”

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