WASHINGTON — The U.S. House on Monday rejected a GOP-led effort to censure California Rep. Adam Schiff, the top Democrat on the Intelligence Committee.
Arizona Republican Rep. Andy Biggs, the new chairman of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, was the author of the resolution. The measure, which assailed the Democratic chairman leading the charge in the House’s impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump, failed along party lines as expected.
The House voted 218-185 on a procedural effort to block lawmakers from considering the resolution. The 185 Republicans who voted to allow consideration of the resolution included all four Arizona Republicans. Arizona’s Democratic lawmakers voted uniformly to block Biggs’ effort, with the exception of Rep. Raúl Grijalva, who did not vote. Democrats were joined by Michigan Rep. Justin Amash, an independent who left the Republican Party earlier this year and backs the impeachment inquiry against Trump.
The resolution accuses Schiff of misleading the public during a September hearing, when he parodied a phone call that Trump had with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
“We’ve been very good to your country, very good,” Schiff said, impersonating Trump. “No other country has done as much as we have, but you know what? I don’t see much reciprocity here. I hear what you want, I have a favor I want from you, though, and I’m gonna say this only seven times, so you better listen good. I want you to make up dirt on my political opponent, understand, lots of it.”
Allegations that Trump improperly pressured Zelensky to investigate Trump’s political rival, former Vice President Joe Biden, are now at the center of the impeachment inquiry.
Biggs’s resolution says that Schiff’s retelling of the call was “egregiously false and fabricated.”
The resolution says that Schiff misled the American people, brought “disrepute upon the House of Representatives,” and made “a mockery of the impeachment process.” It also accuses him of spreading “false accusations” that the Trump campaign colluded with Russia to sway the 2016 U.S. presidential election.
Democrats dismissed the effort as a partisan attack.
“Chairman Schiff is a great American patriot,” said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.). “What the Republicans fear most is the truth. The president betrayed the oath of office, our national security and the integrity of our elections, and the GOP has not even tried to deny the facts. Instead, Republicans stage confusion, undermine the Constitution and attack the person of whom the President is most afraid.”
Biggs said after the vote that he was disappointed by his Democratic colleagues.
“Instead of operating with integrity, Adam Schiff misled the American people about the content of the transcript being used to drive the most recent impeachment narrative against President Donald Trump,” Biggs said in a statement. “Mr. Schiff may not have been held accountable tonight, but the American people are very much aware of his reckless disregard for the truth.”