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House votes to censure Rep. Adam Schiff over Trump investigations

Washington — The House voted to censure Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff for his role in congressional investigations of former President Donald Trump, making him the 25th House lawmaker to face the punishment in U.S. history. 

The measure passed along party lines by a vote of 213 to 209. Six Republicans voted present. 

As the vote closed, Democrats in the chamber shouted "Shame! Shame! Shame!" 

When House Speaker Kevin McCarthy asked Schiff to appear in the well after the vote to formally reprimand him, Democrats gathered around Schiff, chanting "Adam! Adam! Adam!" 

"To my Republican colleagues who introduced this resolution, I thank you," Schiff said earlier Wednesday after Democrats failed to kill the measure. "You honor me with your enmity. You flatter me with this falsehood. You, who are the authors of a big lie about the last election, must condemn the truth-tellers and I stand proudly before you. Your words tell me that I have been effective in the defense of our democracy and I am grateful." 

Schiff said he will wear the "partisan vote as a badge of honor." 

The resolution to censure Schiff was introduced last week by Republican Rep. Anna Paulina Luna, an ardent Trump supporter. But it faced opposition from some members of her own party because it originally included a potential $16 million fine, which they deemed to be unconstitutional. 

After that resolution was blocked last week, she tweaked the measure to remove the fine, which then brought the Republican holdouts onboard. Democrats tried to block the new measure earlier Wednesday but failed as they lacked Republican support. 

The revised resolution calls for the House Ethics Committee to investigate Schiff, the former chair of the House Intelligence Committee and current candidate for Senate in California, for his alleged "falsehoods, misrepresentations and abuses of sensitive information." 

It claims Schiff "abused" the public's trust "by alleging he had evidence of collusion" between Trump's 2016 presidential campaign and Russia. It also accuses him of acting "dishonestly and dishonorably."

"As chair of the House Intelligence Committee, Adam Schiff launched an all out political campaign built on baseless distortions against a sitting U.S. president at the expense of every single citizen in this country and the honor of the House of Representatives," Luna said Wednesday, calling the resolution "a clear vote between right and wrong." 

Censure is essentially a formal public reprimand by the House to punish misconduct that falls short of warranting expulsion. The censured member typically must stand on the House floor as the resolution detailing his or her offenses is read aloud.

GOP Rep. Paul Gosar was the most recent lawmaker to be censured in 2021 for tweeting a video depicting violence against President Biden and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

Schiff and Democrats framed the effort to censure him as retaliation for his prominent role in Trump's first impeachment, and said it was meant to distract from the federal indictment alleging Trump hid classified documents and obstructed the government's efforts to retrieve them. Schiff has been highly critical of Trump and served as the House's lead prosecutor in his first impeachment trial.

Democratic Rep. Jamie Raskin said the vote shows the Republican Party has become "an authoritarian cult of personality." Trump said the Republicans who voted to table the resolution last week should face primary challengers. 

"The GOP simply has no ideas for our economy, no ideas for our country, and no ideas for our people," Raskin said. "But is on an embarrassing revenge tour on behalf of Donald Trump, who treats them like a ventriloquist dummy." 

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