Schiff ‘not backing down’ in face of Republican bid to expel him from Congress

Adam Schiff said he was “not backing down”, after a Republican from Florida filed a motion to expel the California representative from Congress.

Related: House Republicans sidestep effort to expel George Santos from Congress

Referring to the failure the same day of a motion to expel George Santos, the New York fabulist indicted on multiple criminal counts, Schiff said: “When Democrats do something for the right reason, [Republicans] use the precedent to do something for the wrong reason.”

Ana Paulina Luna moved against Schiff after the release of the Durham report, which Republicans claim shows the investigation of Russian election interference and links between Donald Trump and Moscow was a conspiracy between Democrats and the FBI.

Schiff was House intelligence chair and led Trump’s first impeachment, for seeking political dirt in Ukraine. He published a book about the Russia investigation and is now running for Senate.

Luna said Schiff “lied to the American people. He used his position on House intelligence to push a lie that cost American taxpayers millions of dollars and abused the trust placed in him as chairman. He is a dishonour to the House of Representatives.

“The Durham report makes clear that the Russian collusion was a lie from day one and Schiff knowingly used his position in an attempt to divide our country.”

John Durham was appointed to investigate the FBI inquiry, which led to the appointment of the special counsel Robert Mueller. Mueller did not establish collusion between Trump and Moscow but did secure criminal convictions and lay out evidence of potential obstruction of justice.

Schiff said: “When Republicans lacked the courage to stand up to the most unethical president in history, they consoled themselves by attacking those who did. I’m not backing down.”

Speaking to MSNBC, he added: “The Durham investigation was an investigation Donald Trump demanded, investigating the investigators.”

Durham, he said, spent “four years trying to prove this deep state conspiracy theory that Trump kept telling his base was going to be proven … The whole thing of course, was a big bust.

“… And so their response … is, ‘Let’s go after Adam Schiff.’ Let’s go back to the person they most view as standing up for the rule of law, standing up against Trump, leading the first impeachment, participating in the January 6 committee. That’s what this is about.”

Republicans have removed Schiff and another California Democrat, Eric Swalwell, from the intelligence committee.

Only five members of the House have ever been expelled, three for fighting for the Confederacy in the US civil war. The other two were convicted criminals. Expulsions require two-thirds majorities. Luna’s resolution is likely to fail.

Schiff said: “When Democrats do something for the right reason, [Republicans] use the precedent to do something for the wrong reason.”

Related: ‘A xenophobic autocrat’: Adam Schiff on Trump’s threat to democracy

“This serial fabricator George Santos, this person who’s just been indicted, who’s admitted guilt to a foreign crime, to distract attention from that in the wake of the added disappointment of the Durham report, let’s go after Adam Schiff, let’s please the Maga crowd and send a message to anyone else that stands up to Donald Trump.”

Luna has experienced controversy of her own. In February, the Washington Post reported that she swapped liberal positions and claims to be “Middle Eastern, Jewish or eastern European” for a Hispanic identity and Trumpist beliefs.

“Luna’s sharp turn to the right,” the paper said, “her account of an isolated and impoverished childhood, and her embrace of her Hispanic heritage have come as a surprise to some friends and family who knew her before her ascent to the US House.”

Luna called the report “racist”.