House Votes To Censure Adam Schiff
Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) looks on during a hearing with former Justice Department Special Counsel John Durham before the House Judiciary Committee at the Rayburn House Office Building on Wednesday, June 21, 2023 in Washington, DC.
(Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

The Republican-led House on Wednesday voted to formally rebuke Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) for playing up allegations of bad behavior by Donald Trump across multiple investigations into the former president.

Passed by a 213-209 vote along party lines, the resolution reprimands Schiff for “misleading the American public and for conduct unbecoming of an elected Member of the House of Representatives.”

Democrats gathered on the House floor and chanted “shame, shame” as the vote got underway. They gave Schiff a round of applause when House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) called him to the well for the pronouncement of the censure.

Schiff is now the 25th member of the House ever to be censured, and the third this century.

“Censure registers the House’s deep disapproval of Member misconduct that, nevertheless, does not meet the threshold for expulsion,” a government history webpage.

The four-page resolution, introduced by Rep. Anna Paulina Luna (R-FL), accuses Schiff of abusing his position and telling falsehoods about the Russia investigation. Is also mentions issues related to the Ukraine-focused impeachment inquiry against Trump.

Once passed, the resolution told Schiff to report to the well of the House chamber to hear the censure and called on the House Ethics Committee to investigate his conduct.

Six Republicans voted “present.” Five of them are members of the ethics panel, a C-SPAN producer observed. Luna noted that historically this is typical so members do not weight in on investigations sent their way. Six other members, three Democrats and three Republicans, did not vote.


“I am representing the interests of those who trusted me to come here and do the right thing as well as those who have felt that their voices have been ignored and wishes disregarded,” Luna said in announcing a vote Wednesday on her resolution.

A prior version of Luna’s resolution to censure Schiff was defeated last week when 20 Republicans joined with a majority of Democrats to table it.  A sticking point among GOP defectors was a clause that said Schiff should be fined $16 million, which is about half the cost of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian election interference, if the House Ethics Committee found that he lied and abused sensitive information.

Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY), one of the Republicans who voted against the censure last week, raised constitutionality concerns about the fine. The language was removed in the new version of the resolution and it managed to overcome another motion to table earlier in the day on Wednesday.

“The resolution to censure Rep. Adam Schiff just passed the House of Representatives _with_ the changes I insisted were needed to make it constitutional,” Massie tweeted on Wednesday after the final vote. “Thank you to everyone who stood with me and the Constitution to fix this resolution.”

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 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) and has used the censure effort as a fundraising tool. He said he would wear the censure as a “badge of honor” and defended his comments about Trump.

“To my Republican colleagues who introduced this sham resolution: You honor me with your enmity,” Schiff said in a tweet. “You flatter me with this falsehood. Your words tell me that I have been effective in the defense of our democracy, and I am grateful.”

Top Democrats spoke out in support of Schiff during debate on Wednesday. House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) delivered remarks in which he condemned the censure resolution as “fake, phony, and fraudulent.”

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