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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 SchiffOVERNIGHT DEFENSE: Trump pardons Flynn | Lawmakers lash out at decision | Pentagon nixes Thanksgiving dining hall meals due to COVID-19 Democratic impeachment leaders blast Trump's pardon of Flynn Trump pardons Michael Flynn MORE (D-Calif.) on Monday in a straight party-line 218-185 vote.

Republicans and President TrumpDonald John TrumpBiden adds to vote margin over Trump after Milwaukee County recount Krebs says allegations of foreign interference in 2020 election 'farcical'  Republicans ready to become deficit hawks again under a President Biden 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 McCarthyTop Republicans praise Trump's Flynn pardon Richmond says GOP 'reluctant to stand up and tell the emperor he wears no clothes' Sunday shows preview: Biden transition, COVID-19 spike in spotlight MORE (R-Calif.), Minority Whip Steve ScaliseStephen (Steve) Joseph ScaliseTop Republicans praise Trump's Flynn pardon Richmond says GOP 'reluctant to stand up and tell the emperor he wears no clothes' New RSC chairman sees 'Trumpism' as future MORE (R-La.) and conference Chairwoman Liz CheneyElizabeth (Liz) Lynn CheneyPressure grows from GOP for Trump to recognize Biden election win Trump: Liz Cheney's election remarks sparked by push to bring US troops home Biden's lead over Trump surpasses 6M votes as more ballots are tallied 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 PelosiGovernors take heat for violating their own coronavirus restrictions Spending deal clears obstacle in shutdown fight Ocasio-Cortez, Cruz trade jabs over COVID-19 relief: People 'going hungry as you tweet from' vacation 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 Cummings'Kamala' and 'Kobe' surge in popularity among baby names Women of color flex political might Black GOP candidate accuses Behar of wearing black face in heated interview 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.