On Wednesday, the Republican-controlled House of Representatives voted to censure Rep. Adam Schiff (D-California) for his role in former President Donald Trump’s first impeachment trial and in the January 6 committee investigating the Capitol attack.
The censure measure passed in a 213-209 vote that went strictly along party lines (with six Republicans voting “present”). It passed after a similar measure was pushed by freshman Rep. Anna Paulina Luna (R-Florida), who had originally included a $16 million fine in the censure motion. After 20 Republicans objected to that idea, Luna removed the fine, securing their support for Schiff’s censure this week.
In addition to receiving the formal rebuke, Schiff, who is running a 2024 campaign to become the next U.S. Senator representing the state of California, will be subjected to a House Ethics Committee investigation over his alleged misconduct.
After the vote was affirmed, Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy (R-California) officially rebuked Schiff on the floor. The House leader’s comments were interrupted by Democrats, who shouted “disgrace” and “shame” as he tried to speak.
Censures are rare in congressional politics, and typically only come about when a person has been proven to have acted in a manner that is callous and unbecoming to a lawmaker. There have only been 24 censures in the history of the House.
Luna’s censure claims that the California Democrat deserves the stern rebuke due to his involvement in a number of inquiries into Trump’s misdeeds as president, including his role as head impeachment manager in Trump’s first impeachment, which related to the former president’s attempts to coerce a foreign leader to find political dirt on now-President Joe Biden prior to the 2020 election.
Supporters of the censure also purport that Schiff pushed a “false Russian collusion narrative” against Trump, earning their support for the vote on Wednesday.
Schiff has indeed suggested, in past comments, that collusion between Trump’s campaign and Russian actors took place, citing evidence he had seen as then-chair of the House Intelligence Committee. A Senate Intelligence Committee report corroborated that claim in 2020, noting that key members of Trump’s 2016 campaign had shared data with Russian intelligence officers.
In responding to the censure motion, Schiff took a defiant tone on the House floor, even thanking his Republican colleagues who voted in favor of the measure. “You honor me with your enmity,” Schiff said.
“You, who are the authors of a big lie about the last election, must condemn the truth-tellers, and I stand proudly before you,” he added.
At the same time, the “false and defamatory resolution comes at a considerable cost to the country and to Congress,” Schiff continued, noting that the action, which appears to be a defense of the former president, comes as Trump is being indicted for crimes related to his attempts to overturn the 2020 presidential election and faces the strong possibility of more indictments to come.
Trump isn’t just targeting Democrats, but also Republicans who defy his wishes, Schiff said, implying that this was a motivator for many of the votes in favor of his censure. Schiff also indicated that he would continue to call for Trump to be held accountable, despite being censured.
“I will not yield. Not one inch,” Schiff said.
No matter how many false justifications or slanders you level against me, you but indict yourselves. As Liz Cheney said, ‘there will come a day when Donald Trump is gone, but your dishonor will remain.’
“Today, I wear this partisan vote as a badge of honor,” Schiff concluded. “Knowing that I have lived my oath. Knowing that I have done my duty, to hold a dangerous and out-of-control president accountable. And knowing that I would do so again — in a heartbeat — if the circumstances should ever require it.”
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