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House GOP votes to censure Schiff over role in Trump investigations

The House GOP voted Wednesday to publicly reprimand Rep. Adam Schiff for his leading role in Democratic investigations of former President Donald Trump.

The measure, which passed 213-209, formally censures Schiff and directs the House Ethics Committee to investigate his actions. All five Republican members of the House ethics panel and Rep. Ken Buck (R-Colo.) voted “present” on Wednesday’s measure.

Rep. Anna Paulina Luna (R-Fla.), the sponsor of the resolution, and other conservatives tried to advance a similar censure measure last week, but 20 Republicans — objecting to language that could have resulted in a $16 million fine for Schiff, unless he resigned from Congress — joined most Democrats to sink it before it came up for a full House vote. Luna removed that provision to allay their concerns. Schiff has long been a Republican foil for his participation in the Trump probes, including the House investigation into the former president’s campaign ties to Russia and his first impeachment. Luna said Schiff had “launched an all-out political campaign against a sitting president” and “abused his privileges” as the top Democrat on the Intelligence Committee, which Speaker Kevin McCarthy removed him from earlier this year.

It’s the latest example of conservative-pushed “privileged” resolutions, which require a speedy floor vote and bypass the committee process. The right flank of the House GOP also plans to force votes on other controversial measures, despite the wishes of leadership, like the impeachment of President Joe Biden and his Cabinet secretaries.

Luna’s censure measure requires Schiff to stand in the well of the House chamber for a verbal rebuke in addition to triggering an ethics investigation. Democrats rallied behind Schiff after the vote as he walked up to receive the reprimand, chanting “Adam” and “shame” as McCarthy presided over the House chamber.

Schiff, for his part, has embraced his role as a Republican boogeyman amid the weeks-long push by conservatives to punish him. Speaking on the House floor not long after the measure advanced, he sarcastically thanked Republicans for their “enmity” and said they flattered him with their “falsehood.”

“Your words tell me that I have been effective in the defense of our democracy, and I am grateful,” he said. In a reference to Luna’s earlier version of the measure that could have imposed the heavy fine, Schiff quipped that Republicans “might as well make it $160 million. You will never deter me from doing my duty.”

The House seldom censures its members, last voting to do so in 2021, when the Democratic majority reprimanded Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.) for posting an anime video on social media that depicted him killing Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) and attacking President Joe Biden.

Published to Politico.

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