House conservative introduces resolution to censure Schiff

A House conservative has introduced a measure to censure House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffHouse Republicans 'demand the release of the rules' on impeachment Kasich says he'd back impeachment The Hill's 12:30 Report: White House does damage control after Mulvaney remarks MORE (D-Calif.) in an attempt to condemn the Democratic chairman for using "parody" when recounting details of President TrumpDonald John TrumpFlorida GOP lawmaker says he's 'thinking' about impeachment Democrats introduce 'THUG Act' to block funding for G-7 at Trump resort Kurdish group PKK pens open letter rebuking Trump's comparison to ISIS MORE's call with the leader of Ukraine.

House Freedom Caucus Chairman-elect Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.) introduced the resolution Friday shortly after Trump took to Twitter to demand Schiff’s resignation over his remarks, which focused on the president's July 25 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

Schiff had pointed to a reconstituted transcript of the conversation released by the White House, but paraphrased some points and offered an exaggerated version of the discussion, including saying that Trump directed Zelensky to “make up dirt on my political opponent” a full “seven times.”

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Schiff's remarks during the hearing Thursday were met with backlash from Republicans, who argued it was inappropriate given the nature of the hearing, where acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire testified on his handling of a whistleblower complaint filed over the Trump call.

The whistleblower complaint and mounting scrutiny over Trump's efforts to push Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenTrump knocks Romney as 'Democrat secret asset' in new video Giuliani asked State Dept. to grant visa for ex-Ukraine official at center of Biden allegations: report Perry won't comply with subpoena in impeachment inquiry MORE and his son Hunter Biden were integral in House Democrats' decision to move forward with a formal impeachment inquiry this week.

Biggs's measure asserts that Schiff’s comments were an “egregiously false and fabricated retelling" that "had no relationship to the call itself,” alleging “these actions of Chairman Schiff misled the American people, bring disrepute upon the House of Representatives, and make a mockery of the impeachment process, one of this chamber’s most solemn constitutional duties."

The resolution also includes language alleging that members of the House Intelligence Committee “have lost faith” in Schiff’s ability to be objective as chairman and that his remarks hindered the committee’s ability to carry out its oversight responsibilities.

“The House of Representatives censures and condemns Representative Adam Schiff for conduct that misleads the American people in a way that is not befitting an elected Member of the House of Representatives; Representative Adam Schiff will forthwith present himself in the well of the House for the pronouncement of censure; and Representative Adam Schiff will be censured with the public reading of this resolution by the Speaker,” the resolution says.

A censure vote is intended to allow Congress to publicly rebuke and show disapproval of a member's behavior or misconduct, though the resolution introduced Friday faces an uphill battle in the Democratic-controlled House.

Schiff defended his comments during the hearing Thursday, arguing they were made partially in jest.

“My summary of the president’s call was meant to be, at least part, in parody. The fact that that’s not clear is a separate problem in and of itself," he said Thursday.

"Of course, the president never said, ‘If you don’t understand me I’m going to say it seven more times,’ my point is, that’s the message that the Ukraine president was receiving in not so many words,” he added.

Biggs, a Trump ally in the lower chamber, argued the move was “inexcusable” given the gravity of impeachment.

“Democrats previously initiated an impeachment inquiry, which leads to one of the most serious, constitutional duties of Members of Congress: removal of the president of the United States,” he said in a statement. 

“Through this process, if the President has committed high crimes or misdemeanors, Congress may overturn the election of the President and the will of the American people. It is therefore inexcusable to toy with the process and mislead the American public with such a statement.”

Updated: 2:04 p.m.