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House Democrats halt Republican resolution to censure Schiff

Posted at 4:26 PM, Oct 21, 2019

House Democrats stopped a Republican-led effort to force a floor vote Monday on a resolution to censure Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff, one of the Democrats leading the impeachment investigation, "for certain misleading conduct" in his characterization of a phone call between President Donald Trump and the Ukrainian President.

The House voted 218-185 along party lines to table the proposal, effectively killing the resolution in the Democratic-led chamber.

The resolution, introduced by House Freedom Caucus Chairman Andy Biggs in September, said that Schiff's actions "misled the American people, bring disrepute upon the House of Representatives, and make a mockery of the impeachment process, one of this chamber's most solemn constitutional duties."

The resolution was privileged, meaning that through a procedural maneuver it was fast-tracked to a full chamber vote as opposed to having to go through committees.

Republicans, including the President, have attacked Schiff for the way he portrayed a rough transcript of the President's call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky at a public hearing last month, in which Schiff said that Trump told Zelensky "I want you to make up dirt on my political opponent. Understand? Lots of it, on this and on that."

Schiff said his comments were meant to be "a parody."

The measure comes following Schiff's clarification earlier this month about comments he made in September that his committee had not spoken directly with a whistleblower -- after his office acknowledged that it had been in contact with the whistleblower before the complaint over Trump's conversation with Zelensky was filed.

CNN , The New York Times and others reported that the whistleblower had reached out to a House Intelligence Committee aide before filing the whistleblower complaint, and the committee directed the whistleblower to report it to the intelligence community inspector general. Schiff, however, told MSNBC on September 17, after the complaint had been filed, that the committee had not spoken with the whistleblower.

Biggs, who is an Arizona Republican, said in a statement on Monday that he reintroduced the resolution last week over Schiff's characterization of Trump's phone call with Zelensky, and accused Schiff of having "persistently used his perch on a vital committee to spread falsehoods about President Trump."

"Chairman Schiff's calculated words and actions over the past two years have brought this body into disrepute, and he must be held accountable," he added.

The President expressed his support for the resolution on Monday morning, tweeting that "Censure (at least) Corrupt Adam Schiff! After what he got caught doing, any pol who does not so vote cannot be honest....are you listening Dems?"

Trump on Saturday also threatened to sue Schiff and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi as they lead an impeachment inquiry into the President.