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House votes to censure Rep. Adam Schiff over Trump investigations

Washington—In a party-line vote of 213 to 209, the House of Representatives censured Democratic Representative Adam Schiff for his involvement in congressional investigations concerning former President Donald Trump, marking the 25th instance of such punishment in U.S. history. Six Republicans voted “present” while the vote was met with Democratic shouts of “Shame! Shame! Shame!” Upon House Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s request for Schiff to appear in the well for formal reprimand, Democrats gathered around Schiff, chanting his name.

Schiff expressed gratitude towards Republican colleagues who introduced the resolution, stating, “You honor me with your enmity. You flatter me with this falsehood. You, who are the authors of a big lie about the last election, must condemn the truth-tellers, and I stand proudly before you. Your words tell me that I have been effective in the defense of our democracy, and I am grateful.” Schiff declared that he would wear the “partisan vote as a badge of honor.”

The resolution to censure Schiff was initially put forth by Republican Representative Anna Paulina Luna, a staunch Trump supporter. However, some Republicans opposed the resolution due to its inclusion of a potential $16 million fine, which they deemed unconstitutional. After revising the resolution to remove the fine, it gained the support of previously resistant Republicans. Despite Democratic attempts to block the revised measure, they lacked Republican backing.

The revised resolution calls for the House Ethics Committee to investigate Schiff, the former chair of the House Intelligence Committee and current California Senate candidate, for alleged “falsehoods, misrepresentations, and abuses of sensitive information.” It accuses Schiff of “abusing” the public’s trust by making allegations of collusion between Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign and Russia, along with acting “dishonestly and dishonorably.”

Censure serves as a formal public reprimand by the House to address misconduct falling short of warranting expulsion. The censured member typically must stand on the House floor as the resolution detailing their offenses is read aloud. Republican Representative Paul Gosar was the most recent lawmaker to be censured in 2021 for posting a video depicting violence against President Biden and Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

Schiff and Democrats characterized the censure effort as retaliation for his prominent role in Trump’s first impeachment and as an attempt to divert attention from the federal indictment alleging Trump’s concealment of classified documents and obstruction of government retrieval efforts. Schiff has been highly critical of Trump and served as the lead prosecutor in the House’s first impeachment trial.

Democratic Representative Jamie Raskin suggested that the vote exemplifies the Republican Party’s transformation into an “authoritarian cult of personality.” Trump expressed that Republicans who voted to table the resolution last week should face primary challengers. Raskin further remarked, “The GOP simply has no ideas for our economy, no ideas for our country, and no ideas for our people. But it is on an embarrassing revenge tour on behalf of Donald Trump, who treats them like a ventriloquist dummy.”

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