House Republicans are moving forward with efforts to censure House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., they announced at a news conference Wednesday morning.
“Today, we’re going to be pressing forward with my motion to censure Mr. Schiff, joined by the vast majority of Republicans in this conference,” House Freedom Caucus Chair Andy Biggs, R-Ariz., told reporters at the conference, at which he was joined by House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., House Minority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., and House Republican Conference Chair Liz Cheney, Wyo. Biggs also said that the resolution had thus far been joined by almost 150 members of Congress, “with more coming up today to sign on.”
In a tweet ahead of the news conference, Biggs said that he would call for a vote on the censure later the same day.
During his remarks, Biggs accused Schiff of having the “temerity to absolutely fabricate” a version of the conversation between President Trump and the president of Ukraine over the phone in late July. “He could have read the transcripts,” Biggs added. “Instead he made, whole cloth, a fabrication of something that just absolutely was untrue.”
Biggs introduced the measure to censure Schiff last month, following the top Democrat’s fictionalized retelling of the Trump-Ukraine phone call at a hearing of the House Intelligence Committee. At the same hearing, Schiff defended his version of events as “parody.”
The measure says that Schiff’s actions “misled the American people, bring disrepute upon the House of Representatives, and make a mockery of the impeachment process” and resolves that the House “censures and condemns” the Democratic chairman.
Since he introduced the measure to censure Schiff, Biggs added, the intelligence committee chairman “has taken this to a Soviet-style inquiry. That is to say, everything is behind closed doors; there’s absolutely no transparency.”
The Freedom Caucus chairman also took issue with the overall construction of the House’s impeachment proceedings, echoing the White House’s criticisms that Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., announced the probe without holding a floor vote or affording minority party members and the executive branch procedures that were present for previous impeachment efforts.
“The speaker has taken it upon herself to run an impeachment investigation outside the norm, in violation of the House rules,” Biggs said. “There’s nothing specifically in the rules, except for this: Where there’s nothing specific, our rules say precedent takes place. So she’s outside the rules because she’s outside the precedent.”