The Republican-led House on Wednesday voted to censure Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) for leading a number of investigations into then-President Donald Trump as part of his role as the former chair of the House Intelligence Committee.
The resolution, which also requires an ethics investigation to be launched into Schiff’s conduct, passed by a vote of 213 to 209 along party lines. Six Republicans voted “present.”
As House Speaker Kevin McCarthy began to read the formal censure aloud, Democrats gathered in the well to chant “Shame!” and “Disgrace!” at him. McCarthy tried and failed to regain order for several minutes.
During debate on the measure earlier, Schiff told the Republicans on the floor, “You honor me with your enmity.” He labeled the “false and defamatory” resolution nothing more than “petty political payback” meant to intimidate those deemed as Trump’s enemies.
After promising that he wouldn’t yield, “not one inch,” Schiff pointedly suggested, “My colleagues, if there is cause for censure in this House—and there is—it should be directed at those in this body who sought to overturn a free and fair election.”
Last week, the measure was roundly rejected by the House as 20 Republicans crossed the aisle to vote against it. They changed their minds after the resolution’s sponsor, Rep. Anna Paulina Luna (R-FL), killed a provision that would have fined Schiff $16 million if found guilty of ethics violations, according to the Associated Press.
The resolution accused the California Democrat of “misleading the American public and [of] conduct unbecoming of an elected Member of the House of Representatives” while heading up the 2017 congressional investigations into Trump’s ties to Russia.
Schiff also served as lead prosecutor during Trump’s first impeachment trial in 2019. Both jobs earned him little love among MAGA diehards in the chamber, and he was removed from the Intelligence Committee by McCarthy after Republicans seized control of the House in the 2022 midterm elections.
Alleging that Schiff had “exploited” his position of power as the committee chair, Luna blustered on Wednesday that he had seized “every opportunity” to threaten national security, undermine Trump, and dishonor Congress. She added that Schiff had woken up “every morning with one goal: to lie, lie, lie to the American people that there was direct evidence of Russia collusion.”
“This is not a partisan act,” the Florida congresswoman said. “This is not a conservative-versus-liberal vote. This is a clear vote between right and wrong, and I urge you to do the right thing.”
More Republicans flocked to dogpile on Schiff, with Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO) branding him a “crook” and a “liar.”
Boebert is also seeking to force a vote to impeach President Joe Biden this week. (The Daily Beast reported earlier on Wednesday that Georgia Rep. Majorie Taylor Greene, feeling robbed of an opportunity to introduce her own impeachment resolution, called Boebert a “bitch” to her face on the House floor.)
Censure, a formal gesture of the House’s disapproval of a member’s conduct, has no hands-on consequences, but it is still rare. Including Schiff, only 26 members of the House have ever been censured, and only three in the last four decades—the other two being Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY) in 2010 and Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ) in 2021.