The House of Representatives voted 213-209 Wednesday on a rare resolution to censure Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), one of the leading figures behind the congressional investigation into Russia’s alleged support for former President Donald Trump’s campaign.
Censures are a formal statement of disapproval and do not result in removal from office—theoretically, censure can negatively affect a representative’s standing and relationships in Congress, though Schiff was largely backed by his Democratic colleagues and censured exclusively by Republicans.
The censure resolution accuses Schiff of “misleading the American public and for conduct unbecoming of an elected Member of the House of Representatives.”
Most Republicans voted for the resolution, with six other Republicans abstaining from the vote.
Another accusation levied by the resolution, introduced by Rep. Anna Paulina Luna (R-Fla.), alleged Schiff propagated “false accusations that the Trump campaign colluded with Russia.”
The initial resolution introduced by Luna included a since-removed $16 million fine for Schiff if it was found he lied—but that effort failed last week, with 20 Republicans voting to table the resolution.
Schiff openly resisted the move to censure him, calling it a “false and defamatory resolution” that signified an effort to “censure or fine Trump’s opposition into submission.” House Democratic leader Hakeem Jeffries came to Schiff’s defense, labeling the censure resolution as “fake, phony and fraudulent.”
What To Watch For
Schiff is running for a Senate seat in California against fellow Democratic Reps. Barbara Lee and Katie Porter—but it is unclear how his censure will impact Schiff’s pursuit of the seat in the largely Democratic state.
During Trump’s presidency, Schiff was the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, helping to lead investigations into possible ties between Trump’s campaign and Russia. After the House impeached Trump in 2019 for allegedly trying to strong-arm Ukraine into investigating Joe Biden, Schiff served as an impeachment manager for Trump’s Senate trial, arguing in favor of convicting Trump and removing him from office—an effort that failed. The last time a representative was censured came in 2021, when the House voted 223–207 to censure Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ) after he posted an anime-themed video on Twitter that depicted him murdering Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, (D-N.Y.).
House Republicans censure top Democrat Adam Schiff in rare move (ABC)
House votes to censure Democratic congressman who led Trump investigations (CNN)