The majority in the American House of Representatives voted to punish Democrat Adam Schiff, who blamed former president Donald Trump for establishing secret collaborations with Russia to win the 2016 presidential elections. The Republican-controlled chamber approved the measure along with party lines, 213 Republicans voted in favor, and 209 were against from the Democrat side.
A formal public reprimand, known as a “censure,” was issued to Mr. Schiff for misconduct that did not warrant expulsion. Mr. Schiff stated that he would proudly wear the vote of disapproval as a “badge of honor” and ironically thanked Republicans for their “enmity.” Despite the censure, he declared not to yield. As he walked to the House floor to face his formal rebuke, he was exhilarated by several Democrats while some shouted”Shame!” and “Adam.”
Amid the Democratic taunting, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, a Republican, could not read out the censure resolution, and one lawmaker even exclaimed, “Censure all of us.” This resolution makes Mr. Schiff the 25th House member to be censured in history and only the third in the last 20 years.
In January, the Republican House majority removed Mr. Schiff from the intelligence committee. Recently, Florida Republican Anna Paulina Luna led a campaign to censure Mr. Schiff, claiming that he utilized his position to launch a political campaign against the sitting president. Despite a failed attempt to impose a fine of $16 million or force Mr. Schiff’s resignation through censure, a new resolution was passed this week. The resolution directs the House ethics committee to investigate Mr. Schiff’s past words and actions regarding Trump investigations.
Schiff had Chaired the Intelligence Committee
During the Trump presidency, Mr. Schiff owned the position of the top-ranking Democrat on the House intelligence committee. He led the panel’s investigation into Mr. Trump’s finances and alleged links to Russia. As a result of the House probe, it was concluded that Russia had attempted to influence the 2016 election. However, some of Mr. Schiff’s claims as chairman needed to be verified by two special counsel investigations of the then-president. In 2019, during the Republican’s first impeachment trial, Mr. Schiff served as the lead prosecutor and reprised his role as a Trump opponent. Despite his efforts, Mr. Trump was acquitted by the US Senate.
President Trump praised the decision and threatened to challenge Republicans who voted against the measure. While the censure has little practical effect, it highlights the escalating tensions in Congress. Additionally, Mr. Schiff is already considering a run for the US Senate. In 2021, Paul Gosar, a Republican from Arizona, was censured for posting an animated video online where he appears to strike Democrat Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez with a sword. The Republicans cautioned that the Democrats had established a new precedent.