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GOP Resolution to Censure Schiff for Impeachment Inquiry and Mueller Probe Fails in House

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GOP Resolution to Censure Schiff for Impeachment Inquiry  and Mueller Probe Fails in House

2019-10-23 11:13:581 Oct 2018 01:53 AM EST

By Laura Tucker, Staff writer; Image: Adam Schiff (Image source: Public domain)

Republicans are getting a chance to see what it's like on the other side. After controlling both chambers of Congress, leaving Democrats with no power, now that the Democrats are in power in the House, Republicans are seeing what it's like to be powerless, not being able to stop the impeachment inquiry. 

Not that the GOP isn't trying, as they tried to force a floor vote this week on a resolution to censure House Intelligence Chair Adam Schiff (D-CA) for the way he has handled the impeachment inquiry, but the Democrats weren't going to put that through and sufficiently knocked it down with a 218-185 vote that was mostly along party lines.

The resolution officially disapproved of Schiff's "conduct that misleads the American people in a way that is not befitting an elected Member of the House of Representatives." 

At the heart of the resolution is Schiff's "false retelling" of the July 25 phone conversation between Donald Trump and Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky. Instead of quoting the call word for word, Schiff paraphrased it in his opening remarks at a House Intelligence Committee hearing.

Schiff has already spoken out about his reading, insisting it was an obvious "parody" and that everyone should have known that. 

Another of Schiff's actions that the Republicans are taking issue with is a statement that the committee didn't have any contact with the whistleblower who filed an official complaint of the Trump-Zelensky call, only to have it come out later that the whistleblower had contacted a House Intelligence aide for advice.

The House Intelligence Committee, along with House Foreign Affairs and House Oversight committees, have been holding private hearings the past few weeks with current and former officials and diplomats, with many of them appearing under subpoena.  

They have been testifying about their knowledge of Trump's offer of a White House visit and military aid if Ukraine publicly investigated former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter as well as whether it was Ukraine who hacked the Democratic National Committee emails, not Russia.

Republicans believe these meetings should have been public and that transcripts should have been released, while Schiff has said they eventually will be public. 

Shortly after the vote on the GOP resolution, Schiff tweeted, "It will be said of House Republicans, when they found they lacked the courage to confront the most dangerous and unethical president in American history, they consoled themselves by attacking those who did."

While it seems Schiff has lost faith in his Republican counterparts, it was the resolution that stated "members of the Intelligence Committee have lost faith in [Schiff's] objectivity and capabilities as chairman." 

House Freedom Caucus Chair Andy Biggs (R-AZ) introduced the measure last week, but the vote was delayed after the death of House Oversight Chair Elijah Cummings (D-MD), out of respect.

Biggs complained in a statement that Schiff's "calculated words and actions over the past two years have brought this body into disrepute, and he must be held accountable." 

Trump tweeted before the vote, "Censure (at least) Corrupt Adam Schiff!" whom he also refers to frequently as Shifty Schiff. "After what he got caught doing, any pol who does not so vote cannot be honest. ... Are you listening Dems?"

After the vote, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) issued a statement that said, "What the Republicans fear most is the truth. The president betrayed the oath of office, our national security, and the integrity of our elections, and the GOP has not even tried to deny the facts. Instead, Republicans stage confusion, undermine the Constitution, and attack the person of whom the president is most afraid." 

"The American people want the truth," she continued. "The House will proceed with our impeachment inquiry to find the facts and expose the truth, guided by our Constitution and the facts. This is about patriotism, not politics or partisanship."

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