The US House of Representatives has voted to punish Democrat Adam Schiff for accusing Donald Trump of colluding with Russia to win the 2016 election.
The Republican-controlled chamber approved the measure along party lines, with 213 Republicans voting in favour and 209 Democrats against it.
Known as a “censure”, the rare step is a formal public reprimand of misconduct that does not warrant an expulsion.
Mr Schiff said he would wear the vote of disapproval as a “badge of honour”.
He sarcastically thanked Republicans ahead of the vote for their “enmity” and said he would “not yield. Not one inch”.
As he made his way to the well of the House floor to face his formal rebuke after the vote, several Democrats surrounded him with cheers, pats on the back, and chants of “shame!” and “Adam”.
House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, a Republican, was unable to read out the censure resolution amid Democratic heckling, with one lawmaker yelling “censure all of us”.
The California congressman is the 25th House member in history to be censured, and only the third in the last 20 years.
As the top-ranking Democrat on the House intelligence committee during the Trump presidency, Mr Schiff led the panel’s investigation into Mr Trump’s finances and alleged links to Russia.
The House probe concluded that Russia had tried to influence the 2016 election, but some of Mr Schiff’s claims as chairman were not substantiated by two separate special counsel investigations of the then-president.
Mr Schiff reprised his role as a Trump antagonist during the Republican’s first impeachment trial in 2019, in which he served as lead prosecutor. Mr Trump was acquitted by the US Senate.
This January, Mr Schiff was booted from the intelligence committee by the new Republican House majority.
Florida Republican Anna Paulina Luna, who led the effort to censure Mr Schiff this month, alleged he “abused” his position to launch “an all-out political campaign against a sitting president”.
Wednesday’s resolution was her second attempt to punish her Democratic counterpart. Last week, a similar censure that would have required Mr Schiff to pay a $16m (£12.5m) fine unless he resigned from Congress failed as some Republican lawmakers voted against it.
The measure passed this week directs the House ethics committee to investigate Mr Schiff over his past words and actions relating to the Trump probes. It drew praise from Mr Trump himself, who threatened that Republicans who voted against the measure should be “immediately” challenged for their seats.
The censure has little practical effect, especially given that Mr Schiff is already eyeing election to the US Senate, but it is evidence of an escalating tit-for-tat in the embattled congressional chamber.
Arizona Republican Paul Gosar was the last lawmaker to be censured, in 2021, after he posted an animated video online that showed him striking Democrat Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez with a sword. Republicans warned at the time that the Democrats had set “a new standard”.
Source : BBC