House rejects GOP measure censuring Schiff

Democrats in the House turned aside a GOP-led privileged resolution to censure House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffOfficers offer harrowing accounts at first Jan. 6 committee hearing Live coverage: House panel holds first hearing on Jan. 6 probe Five things to watch as Jan. 6 panel begins its work MORE (D-Calif.) on Monday in a straight party-line 218-185 vote.

Republicans and President TrumpDonald TrumpFormer New York state Senate candidate charged in riot Trump called acting attorney general almost daily to push election voter fraud claim: report GOP senator clashes with radio caller who wants identity of cop who shot Babbitt MORE have increasingly targeted Schiff, a public face of the impeachment effort.

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They have taken issue with Schiff’s exaggerated account of the details of President Trump's July 25 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky during a hearing in September. Schiff has defended his remarks as being an intentional parody of Trump’s comments.

Republicans also said Schiff should be rebuked for saying his committee did not have any contact with a whistleblower making allegations against Trump prior to the whistleblower’s submission of a complaint. It later emerged that the whistleblower had contacted the Intelligence panel and had spoken to a staffer for Schiff.

The California Democrat hit back against the effort on Twitter, saying GOP lawmakers are failing "to confront the most dangerous and unethical president in American history."

The censure resolution, introduced by Freedom Caucus Chairman Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.), called for Schiff’s resignation and stated that his comments were an “egregiously false and fabricated retelling” that “had no relationship to the call itself.” 

It said Schiff had “misled the American people,” brought disrepute on the House and made “a mockery of the impeachment process, one of this chamber’s most solemn constitutional duties.”

The measure was co-sponsored by Minority Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin McCarthyTim Ryan slams McCarthy for mocking Capitol physician, mask mandate McCarthy knocks Pelosi, mask mandate: 'This House has broken the country's trust' GOP, Democrats battle over masks in House, Senate MORE (R-Calif.), Minority Whip Steve ScaliseStephen (Steve) Joseph ScaliseRepublican governors revolt against CDC mask guidance House to resume mask mandate after new CDC guidance What you need to know about the new COVID-19 surge MORE (R-La.) and conference Chairwoman Liz CheneyElizabeth (Liz) Lynn CheneyStefanik calls Cheney 'Pelosi pawn' over Jan. 6 criticism Kinzinger primary challenger picks up Cawthorn endorsement The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook - Officers give grueling, horrific accounts of Jan. 6 MORE.

“On numerous occasions, as outlined in this resolution, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee has used his position to mislead the American people,” McCarthy said. “When false evidence is entered into the official record, or communicated directly to the American people, the people's House loses the credibility it needs to function properly.”

The measure also included language alleging that members of the Intelligence Committee had “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.

Top Democrats, including Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiTim Ryan slams McCarthy for mocking Capitol physician, mask mandate McCarthy knocks Pelosi, mask mandate: 'This House has broken the country's trust' Senate votes to take up infrastructure deal MORE (D-Calif.), have strongly defended Schiff’s leadership in the probe, arguing Republicans aren’t doing enough to stand up to the president. 

“Chairman Schiff is a great American patriot. Our country is extremely well-served by his serious, smart and strategic leadership to protect our elections, national security and democracy — which sadly stands in stark contrast to Republicans in the Congress who cover up the truth, look the other way when the President invites foreign governments to interfere in our elections and vote against legislation to secure the ballot from foreign attacks,” Pelosi said in a statement. 

The vote was initially expected to come to the floor on Thursday but was delayed at the request of Biggs following the death of Rep. Elijah CummingsElijah Eugene CummingsFormer Cummings staffer unveils congressional bid McCarthy, GOP face a delicate dance on Jan. 6 committee Five big questions about the Jan. 6 select committee MORE (D-Md.), the chairman of the House Oversight and Reform Committee.

A censure vote is designed to allow Congress to publicly rebuke and disapprove of a member's behavior or alleged misconduct.