House Democrats quickly killed the effort to punish House Intelligence Committee Chair Adam Schiff for describing Trump's phone call with Ukraine.
House Republicans attempted to use a rare procedural move to humiliate a Democratic colleague who has criticized Donald Trump. The House Democratic majority ended their gambit in just 35 minutes.
The move — a resolution offered by far-right Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ) and endorsed by nearly the entire GOP minority — would have censured Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) for his handling of the Trump impeachment inquiry and his previous criticisms of Trump. Because he raised a "question of the privileges of the House," Biggs was able to bring the resolution to the floor without majority support and did so Monday evening at 6:23 p.m.
Biggs read his resolution aloud on the floor, complaining that after Trump released a "transcript" of his call with the Ukrainian president — actually a summary of his call that never purported to be a full transcript — Schiff "manufactured a false retelling of the call" when he described the conversation.
Contrary to Biggs' claims of an "egregiously false and fabricated retelling," Schiff had made clear that he was paraphrasing the call.
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."
Still, Biggs moved that Schiff be forced to come to the front of the House floor and be formally reprimanded. After Biggs read his resolution, the House reading clerk then read it again. At this point, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer moved to end the proceedings and table Biggs' motion.
The same House Republicans who have for weeks been complaining that the impeachment inquiry is a waste of time and that Congress should instead be focused on legislation then voted unanimously to further delay consideration of two bills aimed at helping small businesses.
All 185 Republicans present voted against ending the debate, but they were easily outvoted by the 217 Democrats present and one independent.
At 6:58 p.m., the House returned to its legislative deliberation. Despite not attracting a single vote for the effort from a Democrat, Trump pronounced the result was "really good."
Biggs vowed to "continue to hold Adam Schiff accountable for misleading the American people and running his Soviet-style hearings in his secret chamber to impeach." But despite his 35-minute detour, the strong majority sentiment of the House was Biggs was the one doing the misleading.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.