The US Republicans' motion to censure House Intelligence Committee chairman, Adam Schiff, was defeated in the lower chamber of Congress after his fellow Democrats voted it down 218 to 185. The motion was the first serious move by the Republican Party against an impeachment probe into President Donald Trump's actions.
Republicans accused Schiff, one of the key people behind the impeachment efforts, of "certain misleading conduct", apparently referring to his loose retelling of the transcript from the telephone conversation between US President Donald Trump and his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelensky.
Trump himself accused the Intelligence Committee chairman of trying to make him look like he was abusing his powers for his own profit with this inaccurate retelling, calling the congressman "corrupt" and "shifty".
"We don’t call him shifty Schiff for nothing. He’s a shifty, dishonest guy", POTUS said.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi slammed the Republican's motion, arguing that Schiff is protecting US "elections, national security, and democracy". Schiff himself accused Republicans of failing to "confront the most dangerous and unethical president" and instead of choosing to attack someone who could.
House Minority Leader, Republican Kevin McCarthy, in turn, accused House Democrats of choosing "politics over the truth".
Democrats started their long-sought impeachment probe into Donald Trump in late September following reports of a whistleblower complaint accusing Trump of abuse of power in talks with a foreign leader, Zelensky. The whistleblower alleged, based on non-direct knowledge of the conversation that POTUS had tried to pressure the Ukrainian president into starting an investigation into Democratic primary frontrunner Joe Biden.
House Democrats claim that it was a quid pro quo deal, involving military aid for Ukraine, which was briefly frozen ahead of their telephone call. Trump vehemently denies these claims, saying he had a "pitch perfect" talk with his Ukrainian counterpart.
....statement. Strange that with so many other people hearing or knowing of the perfectly fine and respectful conversation, that they would not have also come forward. Do you know the reason why they did not? Because there was nothing said wrong, it was pitch perfect!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 20, 2019
The White House later released the full transcript of that conversation. While POTUS indeed expressed hope that Zelensky would investigate the criminal allegations against Biden, the script contained no hint that trump "pressured" him in any way. Despite this fact, the Democrats continued their impeachment efforts, branded another "witch hunt" by Trump.
Biden is suspected of pressuring former Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko into ending a criminal probe into his son, Hunter, during his time as vice president. He allegedly refused to release a package of financial aid to the country until the prosecutor on that criminal case, Viktor Shokin was sacked by the Ukrainian government. Biden denies undertaking such efforts to aid his son or even discussing his business dealings in Ukraine.