On June 21st, the House of Representatives censured Rep. Adam Schiff of California. The House has censured members just 24 times in our nation’s history, making Schiff the 25th. In this episode, we’ll detail the actions outlined in the censure and let you decide for yourself: Is it a serious abuse of power? Is it a waste of time? Is it a deserved punishment?
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Recommended Congressional Dish Episodes
The History of Censure
“List of Individuals Expelled, Censured, or Reprimanded in the U.S. House of Representatives.” U.S. House of Representatives Office of History, Art and Archives.
“Thomas L. Blanton.” July 22, 2023. Wikipedia.
The Durham Report
“Report on matters related to intelligence activities and investigations arising out of the 2016 presidential campaigns.” John Durham. May 12, 2023. U.S. Department of Justice.
“FBI improperly used Section 702 surveillance powers on US senator.” Rebecca Beitsch. July 21, 2023. The Hill.
“Read: Democrats’ response to the Nunes memo was just released” Andrew Prokop. February 24, 2018. Vox.
Schiff FISA Warrant Memo. February 5, 2018. U.S. House of Representatives
“Schiff Got Early Account of Accusations as Whistle-Blower’s Concerns Grew.” Julian E. Barnes et al. October 2, 2019. The New York Times.
“Acting Intelligence Chief Refuses to Testify, Prompting Standoff With Congress.” Julian E. Barnes and Nicholas Fandos. September 17, 2019. The New York Times.
“Schiff accuses top intel official of illegally withholding ‘urgent’ whistleblower complaint.” Kyle Cheney. September 13, 2019. Politico.
Republicans Who Blocked the First Censure
“Trump slams Republicans who voted to block censure resolution against Schiff.” Jared Gans. June 16, 2023. The Hill.
Senate Campaign Fundraising
“After defense win, GOP eyes spending cuts.” Jamie Dupree. July 17, 2023. Regular Order.
“House GOP impeachment mania sparks internal rivalries and dissent” Don Wolfensberger. July 10, 2023. The Hill.
“GOP hit list: Biden officials targeted by Republicans for impeachment.” Alex Gangitano and Brett Samuels. July 1, 2023. The Hill.
“GOP divided on first impeachment target.” Rebecca Beitsch and Emily Brooks. June 29, 2023. The Hill.
H.Res.437: Censuring and condemning Adam Schiff, Representative of California’s 30th Congressional District.
June 21, 2023
June 21, 2023
1:15 Rep. Anna Paulina Luna (R-FL): With access to sensitive information unavailable to most Members of Congress, and certainly not accessible to the American people, Representative SCHIFF abused his privileges, claiming to know the truth, while leaving Americans in the dark about this web of lies. These were lies so severe that they altered the course of the country forever: the lie that President Donald Trump colluded with Russia to steal the 2016 Presidential election revealed to be completely false by numerous investigations, including the Durham report; the lie that the Steele dossier—a folder of falsified and since completely debunked collusion accusations funded by the Democratic Party—had any shred of credibility, yet Representative SCHIFF read it into the CONGRESSIONAL RECORD as fact; the lies concocted and compiled in a false memo that was used to lie to the FISA court, to precipitate domestic spying on U.S. citizen, Carter Page, violating American civil liberties.
12:20 Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA): Mr. Speaker, to my Republican colleagues who introduced this resolution, I thank you. You honor me with your enmity. You flatter me with this falsehood. You, who are the authors of a big lie about the last election, must condemn the truthtellers, and I stand proudly before you. Your words tell me that I have been effective in the defense of our democracy, and I am grateful.
13:15 Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA): Donald Trump is under indictment for actions that jeopardize our national security, and MCCARTHY would spend the Nation’s time on petty political payback, thinking he can censure or fine Trump’s opposition into submission. But I will not yield, not one inch. The cost of the Speaker’s delinquency is high, but the cost to Congress of this frivolous and yet dangerous resolution may be even higher, as it represents another serious abuse of power.
14:50 Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA): This resolution attacks me for initiating an investigation into the Trump campaign’s solicitation and acceptance of Russian help in the 2016 election, even though the investigation was first led not by me but by a Republican chairman.
15:10 Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA): It would hold that when you give internal campaign polling data to a Russian intelligence operative while Russian intelligence is helping your campaign, as Trump’s campaign chairman did, that you must not call that collusion, though that is its proper name, as the country well knows.
15:30 Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA): It would fine me for the costs of the critically important Mueller investigation into Trump’s misconduct, even though the special counsel was appointed by Trump’s own Attorney General.
16:00 Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA): It would reprimand me over a flawed FISA application, as if I were its author or I were the Director of the FBI, and over flaws only discovered years later and by the inspector general, not Mr. Durham. In short, it would accuse me of omnipotence, the leader of some vast deep state conspiracy. Of course, it is nonsense.
16:50 Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA): 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.
19:05 Rep. Mary Miller (R-IL): Representative SCHIFF used his position as the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee to mislead the American people by falsely claiming that there was classified evidence of Russia colluding with President Trump, which was not true.
22:15 Rep. Nick Langworthy (R-NY): SCHIFF repeatedly used the authority he was afforded in his position as chairman to lie to the American people to support his political agenda. Even after the Durham report discredited the Russia hoax, he continued to knowingly lie and peddle this false narrative.
24:45 Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY): ADAM SCHIFF has done nothing wrong. ADAM SCHIFF is a good man. ADAM SCHIFF has served this country with distinction. ADAM SCHIFF served this country well as a Federal prosecutor, fighting to keep communities safe. ADAM SCHIFF served this country well as the chair of the House Intelligence Committee, investigating people without fear or favor, including those at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue because he believes in the Constitution and his oath of office. ADAM SCHIFF served his country well as the lead impeachment manager during the first impeachment trial of the former President of the United States, prosecuting his corrupt abuse of power. Yes, ADAM SCHIFF served this country well in the aftermath of the violent insurrection. He pushed back against the big lie told by the puppet master in chief and participated as a prominent member of the January 6th Committee to defend our democracy. ADAM SCHIFF has done nothing wrong. He has worked hard to do right by the American people. The extreme MAGA Republicans have no vision, no agenda, and no plan to make life better for the American people, so we have this phony, fake, and fraudulent censure resolution. ADAM SCHIFF will not be silenced. We will not be silenced. House Democrats will not be silenced today. We will not be silenced tomorrow. We will not be silenced next week. We will not be silenced next month. We will not be silenced next year. We will not be silenced this decade. We will not be silenced this century. You will never ever silence us. We will always do what is right. We will always fight for the Constitution, fight to defend democracy, fight for freedom, expose extremism, and continue America’s long, necessary, and majestic march toward a more perfect Union.
29:10 Rep. Ralph Norman (R-SC): Not only did he spread falsehoods that abused his power, he went after a man, Carter Page, who was completely innocent. Inspector General Horowitz found 17 major mistakes.
31:20 Rep. Mike Quigley (D-IL): What really gnaws on the majority and what really bothers them is that Mr. SCHIFF was way better than anybody on their team at debate, at leadership, at messaging, and at legal knowledge. He kicked their ass. He was better, he was more effective, and that still bothers them.
35:40 Rep. Tom McClintock (R-CA): Mr. Speaker, I opposed the original version of this resolution, not to defend Mr. SCHIFF’s lies, but to defend the process that exposed those lies. We must never punish speech in this House, only acts. The only way to separate truth from falsehoods or wisdom from folly is free and open debate. We must never impose excessive fines that would effectively replace the constitutional two-thirds vote for expulsion with a simple majority. This new version removes the fine and focuses instead on specific acts, most particularly the abuse of his position as Intelligence Committee chairman by implying he had access to classified information that did not exist and his placement into the CONGRESSIONAL RECORD of the Steele dossier that he knew or should have known was false.
42:35 Rep. Jim Himes (D-CT): The most important thing I can say is that I sat next to ADAM SCHIFF for years. He is a man of integrity and dignity.
49:45 Rep. Sylvia Garcia (D-TX): ADAM SCHIFF is tough. ADAM SCHIFF is smart. ADAM SCHIFF gets the job done. ADAM SCHIFF holds the powerful accountable.
56:35 Rep. André Carson (D-IN): Mr. Speaker, what I do know is that ADAM SCHIFF defended the U.S. Constitution. He led an impartial investigation which followed the facts and led to the first of two impeachments of a former President.
1:00:20 Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL): Today, we are voting on a joke of a measure to censure ADAM SCHIFF, a true public servant and patriot. I urge a strong ”no” against this resolution targeting a true American hero.
1:08:30 Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA): The only advantage to all of this is that instead of reversing what we did on the IRA to save the planet or reversing what we did to reduce the cost of prescription drugs, we are wasting time.
September 26, 2019
9:05 Wolf Blitzer: As you know, Mr. Chairman, you’re being severely criticized by a lot of Republicans for mocking the president during your opening remarks today at the committee. Was it a mistake to make light of the situation? Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA): Well, I don’t think it’s making light of a situation. And I certainly wouldn’t want to suggest that there’s anything comical about this. But I do think it’s all too accurate, that this President, in his conversations with the President of Ukraine, was speaking like an organized crime boss. And the fact that these words are so suggestive that the President used of what we have seen of organized crime harkens back to me of what, for example, James Comey said when he was asked by the President if he could let this matter involving Flynn go, when Michael Cohen testified about how the President speaks in a certain code where you understand exactly what’s required here. The point is that the President was using exactly that kind of language. And the President of Ukraine fully understood what he was talking about. Wolf Blitzer: Do you regret the, what you call the parody, the use of those phrases during the course of your opening statement? Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA): No, I think everyone understood — and my GOP colleagues may feign otherwise — that when I said, suggested that it was as if the President said, “listen carefully, because I’m only going to tell you seven more times” that I was mocking the President’s conduct. But make no mistake about this, what the President did is of the utmost gravity and the utmost seriousness, because it involves such a fundamental betrayal of his oath.
September 26, 2019
House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence
- Joseph Maguire, Acting Director of National Intelligence, Office of the Director of National Intelligence
6:54 Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA): President Zelensky, eager to establish himself at home as the friend of the president of the most powerful nation on earth, had at least two objectives: get a meeting with the president and get more military help. And so what happened on that call? Zelensky begins by ingratiating himself, and he tries to enlist the support of the president. He expresses his interest in meeting with the president, and says his country wants to acquire more weapons from us to defend itself.
7:30 Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA): And what is the President’s response? Well, it reads like a classic organized crime shakedown. Shorn of its rambling character and in not so many words, this is the essence of what the President communicates. We’ve been very good to your country. Very good. No other country has done as much as we have. But you know what? I don’t see much reciprocity here. I hear what you want. I have a favor I want from you, though. And I’m going to say this only seven times, so you better listen good. I want you to make up dirt on my political opponent. Understand? Lots of it, on this and on that. I’m gonna put you in touch with people, not just any people, I’m going to put you in touch with Attorney General of the United States, my attorney general, Bill Barr. He’s got the whole weight of the American law enforcement behind him. And I’m gonna put you in touch with Rudy, you’re going to love Him, trust me. You know what I’m asking. And so I’m only going to say this a few more times, in a few more ways. And by the way, don’t call me again, I’ll call you when you’ve done what I asked. This is, in some in character, what the President was trying to communicate with the President of Ukraine. It would be funny if it wasn’t such a graphic betrayal of the President’s oath of office. But as it does represent a real betrayal, there’s nothing the President says here that is in America’s interest, after all.
1:14:40 Rep. Mike Turner (R-OH): While the chairman was speaking I actually had someone text me, “Is he just making this up?” And yes, yes he was. Because sometimes fiction is better than the actual words or the texts. But luckily the American public are smart and they have the transcript, they’ve read the conversation, they know when someone’s just making it up.
1:19:45 Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA): In my summary, the President’s call was meant to be at least part in parody. The fact that that’s not clear is a separate problem in and of itself. Of course, the president never said, “If you don’t understand me, I’m gonna say seven more times.” My point is, that’s the message that the Ukraine president was receiving, in not so many words.
September 17, 2019
Morning Joe on MSNBC
Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA): We have not spoken directly with the whistleblower. We would like to. But I’m sure the whistleblower has concerns that he has not been advised as the law requires by the Inspector General or the Director of National Intelligence, just as to how he is to communicate with Congress. And so the risk of the whistleblower is retaliation. Will the whistleblower be protected under the statute if the offices that are supposed to come to his assistance and provide the mechanism are unwilling to do so? But yes, we would love to talk directly with the whistleblower.
March 28, 2019 CNN with Chris Cuomo
Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA): One, there’s ample evidence of collusion in plain sight and that is true. And second, that is not the same thing as whether Bob Muller would be able to prove beyond a reasonable doubt the crime of conspiracy. There’s a difference between there being evidence of collusion and proof beyond reasonable doubt of a crime.
Amid calls to release Mueller report, Rep. Adam Schiff says it’s ‘too early’ to rule out impeachment
March 24, 2019
This Week with George Stephanopoulos
George Stephenopolous: You have said though in the past there is significant evidence of collusion. How do you square that with Robert Muller’s decision not to indict anyone. Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA): There is significant evidence of collusion, and we’ve set that out time and time again, from the secret meetings in Trump Tower to the conversations between Flynn and the Russian ambassador, to the providing of polling data to someone linked to Russian intelligence, and Stone’s conversation with WikiLeaks and the GRU through — George Stephenopolous: None of it prosecuted. Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA): Well that’s true. And as I pointed out on your show many times, there’s a difference between compelling evidence of collusion and whether the Special Counsel concludes that he can prove beyond a reasonable doubt the criminal charge of conspiracy.
Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA): We need to be able to see any evidence that this President, or people around him, may be compromised by a foreign power. We’ve of course seen all kinds of disturbing indications that this President has a relationship with Putin that is very difficult to justify or explain.
Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA): It’s our responsibility to tell the American people, “These are the facts. This is what your president has done. This is what his key campaign and appointees have done. These are the issues that we need to take action on.” This is potential compromise. There is evidence, for example, quite in the public realm that the President sought to make money from the Russians, sought the Kremlin’s help to make money during the presidential campaign, while denying business ties with the Russians.
February 17, 2019
CNN with Dana Bash
Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA): Look, you can see evidence in plain sight on the issue of collusion, pretty compelling evidence. Now, there’s a difference between seeing evidence of collusion and being able to prove a criminal conspiracy beyond a reasonable doubt.
August 5, 2018
Face the Nation
Margaret Brennan: Can you agree that there has been no evidence of collusion, coordination, or conspiracy that has been presented thus far between the Trump campaign and Russia? Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA): No, I don’t agree with that at all. I think there’s plenty of evidence of collusion or conspiracy in plain sight.
December 10, 2017
Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA): But we do know this: the Russians offered help, the campaign accepted help. The Russians gave help and the President made full use of that help, and that is pretty damning whether it is proof beyond a reasonable doubt of conspiracy or not.
November 1, 2017
Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA): What is clear as this: the Kremlin repeatedly told the campaign it had dirt on Clinton and offered to help it and at least one top Trump official, the President’s own son, accepted. Rachel Maddow: The Kremlin offered dirt to the Trump campaign. The President’s campaign said yes to that offer. That’s no longer an open question. All that stuff has now been proven and admitted to. Adam Schiff, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee today, using his time today, using his opening statement today to walk through — ding ding ding, point by point — what we’ve already learned in black and white, in written correspondence and public statements and in freaking court filings, about all the times the Trump campaign was offered helped by Russia to influence our election and all the times the Trump campaign said “Yes, please.”
March 23, 2017
Jedediah Bila: Congressman, you made yesterday what some are deeming a provocative statement by saying that there is more than circumstantial evidence now that the Trump camp colluded with Russia. Senator John McCain was critical of that, others have been critical of that. Can you defend that statement? Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA): Yes. And I, you know, I don’t view it as the same bombshell that apparently they did. Look, I’ve said that I thought there was circumstantial evidence of collusion or coordination, and that there was direct evidence of deception. And no one had an issue with that. And I don’t think anyone really contested that, on the basis of the information we keep getting, I can say, in my opinion, it’s now not purely circumstantial. We had the FBI Director testify in open session about this, acknowledge an FBI investigation. Obviously, this is now public. And I think it’s fair to say that that FBI investigation is justified, that that wouldn’t be done on the basis of not credible allegations. And so I think it’s appropriate to talk in general terms about the evidence, but I don’t think it’s appropriate for us to go into specifics and say, “This is what we know from this piece of classified information,” or “this what we know from this witness.” But I do think, in this investigation where the public is hungry for information, it is important that we try to keep the public in the loop. That’s why we’re having public hearings.
March 22, 2017
Chuck Todd: You have seen direct evidence of collusion? Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA): I don’t want to go into specifics, but I will say that there is evidence that is not circumstantial.
March 19, 2017
Meet the Press
Chuck Todd: Collusion is sort of what hasn’t been proven here between whatever the Russians did and the Trump campaign. In fact, the former Acting Director of the CIA, who was Mike Morell, who was a supporter of Hillary Clinton, he essentially reminded people and took Director Clapper at his word on this show who said, there has been no evidence that has been found of collusion. Are we at the point of — at what point do you start to wonder if there is a fire to all this smoke? Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA): Well, first of all, I was surprised to see Director Clapper say that because I don’t think you can make that claim categorically as he did. I would characterize it this way at the outset of the investigation: there is circumstantial evidence of collusion. There is direct evidence, I think, of deception.