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June 21, 2023

WATCH: Rep. Adam Schiff Speech on House Floor in Response to MAGA-Backed Censure


Washington, DC — Today, Congressman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) spoke on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives, responding to the resolution introduced by Congresswoman Anna Paulina Luna (R-Fla.) and backed by MAGA Republicans to censure him in an effort to silence and intimidate him for holding Donald Trump and his allies accountable. 

Watch the video HERE. Full transcript of remarks below:

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 truth tellers, 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. 

And yet this false and defamatory resolution comes at a considerable cost to the country and to the Congress. 

At a moment when millions of people in our home state of California are unable to find a place to live or afford a place to live, Speaker McCarthy chooses to occupy the resources of the Congress for two straight weeks on this hollow sop to the MAGA crowd.

He offers nothing to those who are homeless, or addicted to opioids, or to millions of college students mired in debt, but this paltry distraction. 

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 to [the country 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. 

Donald Trump has threatened that any of you that defy him, and vote against this partisan resolution, will be met by a primary challenge. 

And he calls for my imprisonment. If a transient majority can punish and attempt to silence members who hold a corrupt president to account, there is no telling what further corruption of office will follow.

And I say this to Speaker McCarthy and others who wish to gratify Donald Trump with this act of subservience or bend to his demands — try as you might to expel me from Congress, or silence me with a $16 million dollar fine, you will not succeed. You might as well make it $160 million. You will never deter me from doing my duty. 

No matter how many false justifications or slanders you level against me, you but indict yourselves. As Liz Cheney said, “there will come a day when Donald Trump is gone, but your dishonor will remain.”

This resolution attacks me for initiating an investigation into Trump campaign 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.

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.

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.

It would reprimand me over a flawed FISA application, as if I were its author, or I was 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. And of course, it is nonsense. 

But here is the real gravamen of my offense:

I led the first impeachment of Donald Trump for one of the most egregious presidential abuses of power in our history, and I led a trial which resulted in the first bipartisan vote to remove a president in history. 

And I would do so again. 

I warned that if Trump was not held accountable, he would go on to try to cheat in even worse ways in the next election, and HE DID, inciting a violent attack on this very Capitol. 

And after that, I participated in some of the most important hearings in congressional history — hearings that exposed Donald Trump’s incitement of a dangerous insurrection to prevent the peaceful transfer of power.

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.

The question, my Republican colleagues, is not why am I the subject of this false resolution for doing my constitutional duty, but why are you not? Why are you not standing beside me, the subject of a similar rebuke for speaking the truth?

Why did you not stand up to Donald Trump, why did you not reject his immorality, why did you not condemn his dishonesty, why did you not speak out when his horde attacked this Capitol, or now, when he treats the nation’s secrets with such carelessness, lawlessness and disdain, why did you hide from efforts to hold him accountable, why were you silent, afraid, unwilling to do your ethical, constitutional duty, why did you cower, why did you cower — and why do you still?

Will it be said of you that you lacked the courage to stand up to the most immoral, unlawful and unethical president in history, but consoled yourselves by attacking those who did? 

Today, I wear this partisan vote as a badge of honor. Knowing that I have lived my oath. 

Knowing that I have done my duty, to hold a dangerous and out of control president accountable. And knowing that I would do so again — in a heartbeat — if the circumstances should ever require it. I thank you.

And I yield back.