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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 SchiffSchiff sees challenges for intel committee, community in Trump's shadow Biden administration open to restarting nuclear talks with Iran Kinzinger calls for people with info on Trump to come forward MORE (D-Calif.) on Monday in a straight party-line 218-185 vote.

Republicans and President TrumpDonald TrumpDonald Trump Jr. calls Bruce Springsteen's dropped charges 'liberal privilege' Schiff sees challenges for intel committee, community in Trump's shadow McConnell says he'd back Trump as 2024 GOP nominee 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 McCarthySchiff sees challenges for intel committee, community in Trump's shadow Cruz hires Trump campaign press aide as communications director Conservatives go after Cheney for Trump CPAC remarks MORE (R-Calif.), Minority Whip Steve ScaliseStephen (Steve) Joseph ScaliseThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by The AIDS Institute - Ahead: One-shot vax, easing restrictions, fiscal help The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook - J&J A-OK, Tanden in Trouble Feehery: How Republicans can win by focusing on schools MORE (R-La.) and conference Chairwoman Liz CheneyElizabeth (Liz) Lynn CheneyConservatives go after Cheney for Trump CPAC remarks The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by The AIDS Institute - Ahead: One-shot vax, easing restrictions, fiscal help Senate GOP works to avoid having '22 war with Trump 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 PelosiMinimum wage setback revives progressive calls to nix Senate filibuster House Democrats to keep minimum wage hike in COVID-19 relief bill for Friday vote Schiff sees challenges for intel committee, community in Trump's shadow 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 CummingsHouse Democrats reintroduce bill to reduce lobbyist influence Trump voters and progressives have a lot in common — and Biden can unite them We must act on lowering cost of prescription drugs 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.