Updated Jun 21, 2023 - Politics & Policy

House votes to censure Trump antagonist Adam Schiff

Rep. Adam Schiff. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images.

The House on Wednesday voted largely along party lines to pass a Republican measure censuring Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.).

Why it matters: It’s a significant rebuke of a vocal Trump critic by the House Republican majority.

Driving the news: The House voted 213-209 to pass the resolution, which cites the former House Intelligence Committee chair's allegations of ties between Trump and Russia.

  • Most Republicans voted for the resolution, while all Democrats voted against it.
  • The five Republican members of the House Ethics Committee, as well as Rep. Ken Buck, voted "present" on the measure.
  • A censure is a severe condemnation over violations of the House's rules or behavioral code that don't rise to the level of expulsion.

The intrigue: As House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) tried to read out the resolution, House Democrats, gathered on the floor in solidarity with Schiff, repeatedly shouted him down.

  • They chanted "shame!" and cheered Schiff, jeering at McCarthy as a "spiteful coward" and "weak." Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) calling for him to be ousted.
  • One Republican shouted back, "Jack***es!"

The backdrop: The measure, introduced by Rep. Anna Paulina Luna (R-Fla.), initially included a $16 million fine, which spurred 20 Republicans to vote with Democrats last week to kill it.

  • Luna removed the fine this week in order to make the measure more palatable to her colleagues, clearing the way for it to pass.
  • The measure also directs the Ethics Committee to open an investigation into Schiff.

What they're saying: Asked what she expects the Ethics Committee to uncover, Luna told Axios, "They have a good start with what Durham discovered," referring to the special counsel's criticism of the FBI's Trump-Russia probe.

  • "I think the fact is he exploited his position, he had access to classified information that not even I have or other members of Congress have," she said.

The other side: Schiff said in a floor speech, "To my Republican colleagues who introduced this resolution, I thank you. You honor me with your enmity. You flatter me with this falsehood."

  • Former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), a close ally of Schiff, called the vote a "puppet show" and Trump the "puppeteer." Turning to Luna, she added: "You look miserable. You look miserable."
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