HomePoliticsHouse delivers articles of impeachment against Mayorkas and calls for trial

House delivers articles of impeachment against Mayorkas and calls for trial

WASHINGTON — After a two-month delay, House Republicans on Tuesday delivered articles of impeachment against Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas to the Senate as they demanded a full trial of the first sitting Cabinet secretary to be appointed by Congress. dropped off.

Constitutional scholars have called the case against Mayorkas baseless, and Democrats who control the Senate have made clear they want to shorten a lengthy trial in favor of a quick vote to dismiss the charges against him. But Republicans have pressed ahead with the articles, accusing the secretary of state of deliberately refusing to enforce border laws and violating the public’s trust.

“Over the past nearly four years, we have seen Secretary Mayorkas willfully cede operational control of our border to drug cartels,” Speaker Mike Johnson said Tuesday, describing the chaos at the nation’s southern border as he urged the Senate to to take on the matter. .

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“We have seen an explosive number of terrorists at the border,” he added. “We have seen gang members and people with criminal backgrounds released into our country. We have seen fentanyl flow across the border.”

He accused Mayorkas and President Joe Biden of deliberately failing in their responsibilities to secure the border.

“He and Joe Biden caused this catastrophe,” Johnson said. “They allowed it. Apparently that’s what they wanted.”

On Tuesday afternoon, the 11 House Republicans assigned to prosecute the case against Mayorkas made the ceremonial walk through the Capitol to present the charges, which they read aloud on the floor as all senators sat silently at their desks.

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The Republican case against Mayorkas does not accuse him of any specific criminal conduct, but rather amounts to an attempt to fire a government official who enforces policies they oppose, and who they allege is failing at his job. That’s a far cry from the “high crimes and misdemeanors” enshrined in the Constitution as a basis for impeachment.

The House of Representatives narrowly approved the articles in February despite unanimous Democratic opposition, after they were initially defeated because there were not enough Republicans in the closely divided House to push them through. Since then, Republican leaders have delayed sending it to the Senate as they toil to find the right time to begin a process that will almost certainly result in their effort to remove Mayorkas failing.

A two-thirds majority would be needed to convict him in the Senate, an unattainable threshold given that Democrats are strongly opposed to it.

Senior Senate Republicans and Democrats negotiated Tuesday over how to structure the trial, which will formally begin Wednesday afternoon when senators are sworn in as jurors. They discussed Wednesday the possibility of having Republicans debate and raise a series of procedural objections Schumer prompted to dismiss the two charges. But such an agreement would require all members to agree, even the dead facing trial, and it was not clear whether Republicans would seek to extend the proceedings.

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“Impeachment should never be used to resolve a disagreement over policy,” Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., the majority leader, said Tuesday before the charges were filed. ‘Talk about terrible precedents. This would set a terrible precedent for Congress. Every time there’s a disagreement about policy in the House of Representatives, they send it over here and tie the Senate in knots to start an impeachment trial? That’s absurd. That is an abuse of the process. That’s even more chaos.”

At a press conference after the articles were presented, Republicans from both chambers challenged Democrats to allow a trial that would highlight the issues surrounding the border.

“We’re ready to go, Mr. Schumer,” said Rep. Andy Biggs of Arizona, one of the impeachment managers. “We’re ready to go.”

Mayorkas, for his part, has essentially ignored the case for months and continued to work. He negotiated a border security deal with both Republicans and Democrats in the Senate, which fell apart after former President Donald Trump opposed it.

“When I say I’m not focused on impeachment, I mean it,” Mayorkas said in an interview. “I will say this: I hope my time is not taken away from my work.”

On Tuesday, Mayorkas began his day on Capitol Hill, where he spoke about his office’s budget request and called on Congress to give the department more resources to enforce border laws, hire more staff and pass legislation he negotiated.

He said that in the past 11 months his office has returned or removed more than 630,000 people from the country who had no legal basis to stay.

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“However, our immigration system is fundamentally broken,” he said. “Only Congress can fix this. Congress has not updated our immigration enforcement laws since 1996 – 28 years ago.”

Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the top Republican in the Senate, denounced Schumer’s plans to dismiss the case.

“Never before has the Senate agreed to a motion to introduce articles of impeachment,” McConnell said. “Not for an officer of either party. Not once.”

He added that “it would be beneath the dignity of the Senate to abdicate our clear responsibility and not give the allegations we will hear today the thorough consideration they deserve.”

McConnell did not say he voted in favor of a failed 2021 effort to dismiss a second impeachment trial against Trump over the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol before the Senate held a trial.

Among the Republicans Johnson has appointed as impeachment managers are Reps. Mark E. Green of Tennessee, the chairman of the Homeland Security Committee, and Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia, who pushed for Mayorkas to be impeached.

Mia Ehrenberg, spokesperson for the Department of Homeland Security, denounced the impeachment efforts.

“Despite warnings from fellow Republicans that this baseless impeachment attempt ‘disrupts the Constitution,’ House Republicans continue to ignore the facts and undermine the Constitution by wasting even more time on this sham impeachment in the Senate,” she said in a statement.

c.2024 The New York Times Company

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