The decade's most triggering comedy
Twenty GOP lawmakers joined with a majority of Democrats in voting 225-196 in favor of tabling the resolution to censure and condemn Schiff, while seven members voted “present” and five did not cast a vote.
Rep. Anna Paulina Luna (R-FL) brought forward the privileged resolution, meant to be fast-tracked for consideration, and referred it to the House Ethics Committee. The four-page resolution mostly accused Schiff of abusing his position and telling falsehoods about the Russia matter, but also mentioned issues related to the Ukraine-focused impeachment inquiry against Trump.
But a sticking point among GOP holdouts appeared to be a clause that said Schiff should be fined millions of dollars if the ethics panel found that he lied and abused sensitive information. The $16 million fine it listed represents about half the cost of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian election interference.
Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY) said Schiff acted “unethically,” but the measure was not constitutional because it would violate the 8th and 27th Amendments. Luna sought to clarify that the financial penalty in the motion was a “suggested fine that can be paid with campaign funds, like any other fine levied by Ethics,” but that did not alleviate the concerns.
“Allowing a majority of Congress to take $16 million (92 years of pay) from any member of Congress is shortsighted,” Massie tweeted after the vote. “Can we not imagine a time when this precedent would be used against conservatives? Fortunately it failed.”
Republicans have long accused Schiff, who served as chairman of the committee for four years, of being a repeat liar, particularly because he insisted there was evidence of collusion. GOP frustration with Schiff led House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) to kick him off the intelligence panel earlier in January after Republicans took over control of the House. Schiff is now running for the seat held by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA).
“Today’s partisan and failed attempt to censure me is a badge of honor that I will wear proudly,” Schiff said in a tweet after the vote on Wednesday. “MAGA Republicans are going after me because I dared to hold Donald Trump accountable. These efforts to intimidate me will not succeed. I will always defend our democracy.”
In a tweet that talked about dispelling any “confusion,” Luna said she would file a new measure to censure Schiff and send it to the House Ethics Committee. “See you next week Adam,” she said.
— Rep. Anna Paulina Luna (@RepLuna) June 14, 2023
Massie indicated he would support the new resolution, as long as it addressed his concerns.
“Thank you for removing the part that several of us thought was unwise and/or unconstitutional,” he said in a tweet directed at Luna. “Many of us are looking forward to voting for your better version.”