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 SchiffStone rails against US justice system in first TV interview since Trump commuted his sentence Overnight Defense: US formally rejects Beijing's South China Sea claims | House set to consider defense policy bill next week | 57 injured as firefighters battle warship blaze Sunday shows - Spotlight shifts to reopening schools MORE (D-Calif.) on Monday in a straight party-line 218-185 vote.

Republicans and President TrumpDonald John TrumpIvanka Trump pitches Goya Foods products on Twitter Sessions defends recusal: 'I leave elected office with my integrity intact' Former White House physician Ronny Jackson wins Texas runoff 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 Owen McCarthyDunford withdraws from consideration to chair coronavirus oversight panel 4 Texas GOP congressional primary runoffs to watch Congress under pressure to provide billions for school openings MORE (R-Calif.), Minority Whip Steve ScaliseStephen (Steve) Joseph ScaliseRepublicans say Biden energy plan will help GOP in rust belt states GOP lawmaker: Don't believe polls showing Trump behind Biden 4 Texas GOP congressional primary runoffs to watch MORE (R-La.) and conference Chairwoman Liz CheneyElizabeth (Liz) Lynn CheneyUS praises British ban on China's Huawei after pressure campaign Some in Congress want to keep sending our troops to Afghanistan Biggs, Massie call on Trump to remove troops from Afghanistan 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 PelosiUS praises British ban on China's Huawei after pressure campaign Voter fraud charges filed against GOP Rep. Steve Watkins Dunford withdraws from consideration to chair coronavirus oversight panel 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 CummingsFacial recognition tools under fresh scrutiny amid police protests The sad spectacle of Trump's enablers Democrat Kweisi Mfume wins House primary in Maryland 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.