After rejecting an effort to censure Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) last week over his role in the debunked Trump-Russia collusion investigation, Rep. Anna Paulina Luna (R-Fla.) said Tuesday that a new iteration of the censure resolution has the votes to pass Wednesday evening.
The bill sets up the first official punishment Rep. Schiff will face for dozens of baseless claims the Intelligence Committee member made about Russian activities surrounding the 2016 presidential election and former Republican President Donald Trump.
Rep. Paulina Luna said that this second attempt to censure Schiff removes the possibility of a $16 million fine, an amount that she chose because it is half the cost of the investigation into the alleged Trump-Russia collusion.
Last week, 20 Republican Representatives sided with the Democrats to table the first resolution in a 225-196 vote, with some expressing concerns that the fine was unconstitutional.
On Tuesday, after removing the fine provision, Luna said that a “majority of [the] 20” will switch their vote, which will result in the measure passing and Schiff to be investigated by the House Ethics Committee and censured.
After Luna’s first resolution was killed in the House, Schiff took to Twitter to call the attempt to censure him a “badge of honor” that he wears proudly.
“MAGA Republicans are going after me because I dared to hold Donald Trump accountable,” Schiff said on June 14. “These efforts to intimidate me will not succeed. I will always defend our democracy.”
Schiff is taking a similar tact to Luna’s latest censure resolution, tweeting Wednesday that “MAGA Republicans will do anything to distract from Trump’s indictment.”
The California Democrat is currently running for Senate in his state to replace retiring Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), and has been using the attempts to censure him to help his fundraising efforts.
On Wednesday, former Justice Department Special Counsel John Durham testified before the House Judiciary Committee on the FBI’s “Crossfire Hurricane” investigation into Trump-Russia collusion.
In advance of a Wednesday evening vote on his censure, Schiff made an ineffectual attempt to grill Durham on the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia.
“Are you aware, Mr. Durham, that Mueller and Congressional investigations also revealed that Don Jr. was informed that a Russian official was offering the Trump campaign ‘very high level and sensitive information’ that would be incriminating of Hilary Clinton, was part of ‘Russia and its government support of Mr. Trump’?” Schiff asked.
“Sure, people get phone calls all the time from individuals who claim to have information like that,” Durham responded.
“Really? The son of a presidential candidate gets calls all the time from a foreign government offering dirt on their opponent? Is that what you’re saying?” Schiff followed up.
“I don’t think this is unique in your experience,” Durham said, adding that “people can make phone calls making claims all the time, that you [Schiff] may have experienced.”
“I’m not trying to diminish it at all, but I think the more complete story is that they met and it was a rouse, and they didn’t talk about Mrs. Clinton,” Durham said.
In 2019, Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) dug up audio of a prank call two Russian radio hosts made to Schiff, in which Schiff said he would be willing to accept dirt on Trump.
“So, you have recordings of both [Russian journalist Ksenia] Sobchak and [Russian model and singer Olga] Buzova where they’re discussing the compromising material on Mr. Trump?” Schiff asked the radio hosts, who were posing as Ukrainian politicians.
“Absolutely,” one of the hosts responded.
“Well obviously we would welcome a chance to get copies of those recordings,” Schiff said later in the call.
Hunter Biden, the son of the current President Joe Biden, is currently being investigated by the Republican-led House Oversight Committee as part of a probe into an alleged bribery scheme between then-Vice President Biden and foreign nationals.
Last Monday, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) said audio recordings from a foreign national support the allegation that the President’s son Hunter Biden was involved in a multi-million dollar bribery scheme with the Ukrainian natural gas company Burisma.
“According to the [FD-1023], the foreign national possesses 15 audio recordings of phone calls between him and Hunter Biden,” said Grassley.
While Schiff expressed grave concern over Russian nationals calling Donald Trump Jr. ahead of the 2016 presidential election, he has not extended the same level of concern to the allegations against President Biden and his son.