For only the third time in 40 years the U.S. House of Representatives voted on Wednesday to censure Congressman Adam Schiff (D-CA) for misleading the American people over Congressional investigations into possible ties between former President Donald Trump’s presidential campaign and Russia during the 2016 Presidential race.
Specifically, the resolution said that Schiff, as the then-Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, misled the public over the incident due to no evidence being found that Trump had ties with Russia and that Schiff overstepped his authority in actions leading up to Trump’s first impeachment in 2020.
“Mr. Schiff exploited his position as chair of Intel Committee, and every opportunity possible, threatening national security, undermining our duly elected president and bringing dishonor upon the institution,” explained Rep. Anna Paulina Luna (R-FL), who helped lead the censure against Schiff, before the vote on Wednesday.
Prior to the vote, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) called Schiff to come to the well of the Chamber and proceeded to read the censure resolution to him. McCarthy was interrupted several times by booing Democrats. McCarthy and the others took it in stride, with the Speaker noting during one interruption, “I have all night.”
Before the vote, Schiff spoke, defending himself and his actions in the Trump investigations, even mentioning the attacks of January 6, 2021 in his reasoning.
“To my Republican colleagues who introduced this sham resolution: You honor me with your enmity,” said Schiff on the House floor. “You flatter me with this falsehood. Your words tell me that I have been effective in the defense of our democracy, and I am grateful. You, who are the authors of a big lie about the last election, must condemn the truth tellers and I stand proudly before you.”
To my Republican colleagues who introduced this sham resolution: You honor me with your enmity.
You flatter me with this falsehood.
Your words tell me that I have been effective in the defense of our democracy, and I am grateful. pic.twitter.com/ATVFDLaUYT
— Adam Schiff (@RepAdamSchiff) June 21, 2023
“I led the first impeachment of Donald Trump, for one of the most egregious presidential abuses of power in our history, and I led a trial which resulted in the first bipartisan vote to remove a president in history. I would do so again. I warned that if Trump was not held accountable, he would go on to try to cheat in even worse ways in the next election, and he did, inciting a violent attack on this very Capitol.”
Following that, a vote was taken, with the members of Congress voting along party lines to censure Schiff. The successful resolution made Schiff the first Congressman to be censured since 2021, when Congressman Paul Gosar (R-AZ) was censured for posting a video showing the death of a fellow member of Congress in a cartoon fashion.
Numerous Democrats rallied against the censure on Wednesday, accusing the GOP of not making the situation any better.
“Right-wing extremists are competing with each other to impeach President Biden and file bogus censure resolutions,” tweeted House Minority leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) on Wednesday. “Meanwhile. They have done nothing to make life better for everyday Americans.”
Right-wing extremists are competing with each other to impeach President Biden and file bogus censure resolutions.
They have done nothing to make life better for everyday Americans.
— Hakeem Jeffries (@RepJeffries) June 21, 2023
However, Republicans stood firm with the censure decision, pointing out that Schiff’s actions led to an even greater divided country while also finding no evidence on the claims against Trump and that the censure was not about politics, but about accountability.
“Adam Schiff abused his position to pursue a partisan political vendetta, dividing our nation and creating distrust in our justice system and elections. With constitutional issues addressed from the previous resolution, I voted to hold Rep. Schiff accountable,” said Congresswoman Young Kim (D-CA) in a statement. “Now that he has been held accountable, I look forward to Congress getting back to work. I remain focused on addressing pressing crises facing the American people and breaking through the partisan gridlock to deliver results for the people of the 40th District.”
Senate candidates running against Schiff were more mixed, with Democratic candidates largely distancing themselves from the censure while GOP candidates stood with the party, accusing Schiff of only wanting to further his career.
“Adam Schiff is a national disgrace, a pathological liar and doesn’t belong in government. As the hyper-partisan Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Schiff spent years on the cable news circuit lying to the American public about a fake Russia Collusion hoax in order to further his political career,” said GOP Senate candidate Eric Early on Wednesday. “The Muller and Durham Reports confirmed what so many of us have long known: Schiff is a depraved disinformation factory. Even those in his own party have also come to realize that Schiff treated them all like fools, too.”
“We have a golden opportunity to finally kick Schiff out of Congress next year by beating him in the March primary. I encourage all common-sense voters in this state to get behind our campaign. Let’s finally get this shameful career politician out of office for good.”
Meanwhile, observers of the 2024 Senate race in California said that the censure could hurt Schiff in the polls and could also cost him votes next year in the election.
“Yeah, [Congresswoman Katie] Porter (D-CA) and [Congresswoman Barbara] Lee (D-CA) are not exactly blaring out support for Schiff right now,” explained LA-based pollster Angie Friedman to the Globe. “They voted against the censure, but that was more of a party thing. Schiff is is neck to neck with Porter right now in polling, and Porter sees this as a way to be firmly number one, with Lee seeing it as a chance to gain ground. As for the other candidates, it’s about gaining ground to them too.”
“Schiff came out there on a high horse thinking that voters will see the censure as a badge of honor of sorts, but when it comes down to it, it is still a bad thing to happen to you, and everyone against him can use it. He is really handling this wrong.”
More on the Schiff censure is expected later this week.
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