House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., added his name to a resolution Wednesday that would censure House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff for reading a "parody" version of President Trump’s phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky during a hearing last week.
McCarthy is now the most high-profile Republican to sign on to the resolution to censure Schiff that was introduced last Friday by Rep. Andy Biggs, the Arizona Republican who chairs the conservative House Freedom Caucus.
“Chairman Adam Schiff has been lying to the American people for years,” McCarthy said in a tweet. “Now he is so desperate to damage the president that he literally made up a false version of a phone call. Enough is enough.”
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McCarthy added: “I have signed a resolution to censure Schiff in the House of Representatives.”
Schiff, who is leading one of the committees investigating Trump in the impeachment inquiry announced by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., has been under fire from conservatives for the “parody” of the president’s call with Zelensky that he read at the testimony last week of Acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire.
Maguire was on Capitol Hill to defend his handling of the explosive whistleblower complaint detailing how Trump pressured his Ukrainian counterpart to investigate the Biden family.
The complaint contains allegations related to Trump’s call with Zelensky in July, when he urged him to investigate alleged corruption involving former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter.
The White House on Wednesday released an unclassified version of the transcript of the phone call. The memo, which does not reflect a “verbatim transcript” but is based on “notes and recollections” of those memorializing the call, shows Zelensky asking for more military aid before Trump asks him to pursue some kind of investigation into Biden and his son.
On the dais last week, Schiff gave his own exaggerated version of the phone call.
“I have a favor I want from you,” Schiff said while appearing to read from a paper. “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, on this and on that.”
Schiff later chalked up his fictional summary of the controversial phone call to parody.
“My summary of the president’s call was meant to be at least, part, in parody,” Schiff said. “The fact that that’s not clear is a separate problem in and of itself. Of course, the president never said, ‘If you don’t understand me I’m going to say it seven more times,’ my point is, that’s the message that the Ukraine president was receiving in not so many words.”
Schiff’s explanation, however, did little to quell the outrage of his Republican colleagues who were already on the defensive following Pelosi’s announcement last Tuesday of the impeachment inquiry into Trump.
“The chairman of the House Intelligence Committee read a statement that was blatantly false, had no corresponding evidence nor relationship to the actual transcript of President Trump’s telephone conversation with the Ukrainian president,” Biggs said in a video posted on Twitter. “That is inexcusable.”
Trump also weighed in on Schiff’s “parody” reading – calling the California Democrat “desperate” and accusing him of lying to Congress.
“Rep. Adam Schiff fraudulently read to Congress, with millions of people watching, a version of my conversation with the President of Ukraine that doesn’t exist,” Trump tweeted. “He was supposedly reading the exact transcribed version of the call, but he completely changed the words to make it sound horrible, and me sound guilty.”
Schiff shot back at Trump on social media, accusing the president of trying to “shakedown” a world leader for election dirt and then trying to cover it up.
“You engaged in a shakedown to get election dirt from a foreign country,” Schiff said. “And then you tried to cover it up.”