Apr 17, 2024

🎥 Historic impeachment trial of DHS Secretary Mayorkas

Posted Apr 17, 2024 4:55 PM
Kansas Senior Senator Jerry Moran signing the Oath Book ahead of the trial-image courtesy CSPAN
Kansas Senior Senator Jerry Moran signing the Oath Book ahead of the trial-image courtesy CSPAN

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Senate has dismissed all impeachment charges against Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, ending the House Republican push to remove the Cabinet secretary from office over his handling of the the U.S.-Mexico border and ending his trial before arguments even began.

Click here to watch the Senate impeachment trial 12 noon CDT

Click here to read full articles of impeachment against Sec. Mayorkas

Senators voted to dismiss both articles of impeachment and end the trial, with Democrats arguing that the articles were unconstitutional. The first article charged Mayorkas with “willful and systemic refusal to comply" with immigration law. The second article charged Mayorkas with a “breach of trust” for saying the border was secure. The votes were 51-48 and 51-49, both along party lines.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said the House Republicans’ case failed to meet “the high standard of high crimes and misdemeanors” and could set a dangerous precedent.

“For the sake of the Senate’s integrity and to protect impeachment for those rare cases we truly need it, senators should dismiss today’s charges,” said Schumer, D-N.Y., as he opened Wednesday’s session.

Senate Republicans had argued for a full impeachment trial after the House narrowly voted in February to impeach Mayorkas for his handling of the border, arguing in the two articles that he “willfully and systematically” refused to enforce immigration laws. The House vote was the first time in nearly 150 years that a Cabinet secretary was impeached.

An outright dismissal of House Republicans’ prosecution of Mayorkas, with no chance to argue the case, is an embarrassing defeat for House Republicans and embattled House Speaker Mike Johnson, R-La., who made the impeachment a priority. And it is likely to resonate politically for both Republicans and Democrats in a presidential election year when border security has been a top issue.

Republicans argue that President Joe Biden has been weak on the border as arrests for illegal crossings skyrocketed to more than 2 million people during the last two years of his term, though they have fallen from a record-high of 250,000 in December amid heightened enforcement in Mexico. Democrats say that instead of impeaching Mayorkas, Republicans should have accepted a bipartisan Senate compromise aimed at reducing the number of migrants who come into the U.S. illegally.

House impeachment managers delivered the charges to the Senate on Tuesday, standing in the well of the Senate and reading them aloud to a captive audience of senators. But they did not get a chance to present the case before the Senate dismissed it.

Once the senators were sworn in on Wednesday, the chamber turned into the court of impeachment, with Democratic Sen. Patty Murray of Washington presiding. Murray is the president pro tempore of the Senate, or the senior-most member of the majority party who sits in for the vice president. Senators approached the front of the Senate in groups of four to sign an oath book that is stored in the National Archives.

Kansas Junior Senator Roger Marshall signing the Oath Book ahead of the trial-image courtesy CSPAN
Kansas Junior Senator Roger Marshall signing the Oath Book ahead of the trial-image courtesy CSPAN

Schumer then called for the votes to dismiss the trial after Republicans rejected a proposed agreement for Senate debate time and several votes on GOP objections. Missouri Sen. Eric Schmitt said Democrats were “bulldozing 200 years of precedent" on impeachments by trying to dismiss the trial.

Missouri Senior Senator Josh Hawley signing the Oath Book-image courtesy CSPAN
Missouri Senior Senator Josh Hawley signing the Oath Book-image courtesy CSPAN

Angry Republicans called for several votes to delay the inevitable final outcome, but none of them passed as all Democrats and three Independents held together.

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said “history will not judge this moment well.”

“This process must not be abused," McConnell said. "It must not be short-circuited."

Still, Republicans similarly moved to dismiss former President Donald Trump's second impeachment trial in 2021, weeks after the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol. All but five GOP senators — including McConnell — voted to end the trial, arguing it was unconstitutional because Trump had already left office.

As Johnson signed the articles Monday in preparation for sending them across the Capitol, he said Schumer should convene a trial to “hold those who engineered this crisis to full account.”

Schumer “is the only impediment to delivering accountability for the American people,” Johnson said. “Pursuant to the Constitution, the House demands a trial.”

Even if the Senate held a trial, Republicans would not be able to win the support of the two-thirds of the Senate that is needed to convict and remove Mayorkas from office — Democrats control the Senate, 51-49, and they appear to be united against the impeachment effort. Not one House Democrat supported it, either.

Mayorkas, who was in New York on Wednesday to launch a campaign for children’s online safety, reiterated that he’s focused on the work of his department. “The Senate is going to do what the Senate considers to be appropriate as that proceeds,” he said. “I am here in New York City on Wednesday morning fighting online sexual exploitation and abuse. I’m focused on our mission.”

Johnson delayed sending the articles to the Senate for weeks while both chambers finished work on government funding legislation and took a two-week recess. Johnson had said he would send them to the Senate last week, but he punted again after Senate Republicans said they wanted more time to prepare.

At a hearing with Mayorkas on Tuesday about President Joe Biden's budget request for the department, some of the House impeachment managers previewed the arguments they would have made.

Tennessee Rep. Mark Green, the chairman of the House Homeland Security panel, told the secretary that he has a duty under the law to control and guard U.S. borders, and “during your three years as secretary, you have failed to fulfill this oath. You have refused to comply with the laws passed by Congress, and you have breached the public trust.”

Mayorkas defended the department's efforts but said the nation's immigration system is “fundamentally broken, and only Congress can fix it."

The impeachment trial is the third in five years. Democrats impeached President Donald Trump twice, once over his dealings with Ukraine and the second time in the days after the Capitol attack. Trump was acquitted by the Senate both times.

If the Senate had moved to a trial on Mayorkas, senators would have been forced to sit in their seats for the duration, maybe weeks, while the House impeachment managers and lawyers representing Mayorkas made their cases.

___

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Senate has voted to dismiss the first of two articles of impeachment against Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, the first step in ending its trial on his handling of the the U.S.-Mexico border,

Click here to watch the Senate impeachment trial 12 noon CDT

Click here to read full articles of impeachment against Sec. Mayorkas

Democrats said the article, which charged Mayorkas with “willful and systemic refusal to comply with the law,” is unconstitutional. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has called for a second vote that would dismiss the second article, which charges Mayorkas with a breach of trust over saying that the border was secure.

The vote to dismiss the first article was 51-48 along party lines, with Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska voting “present.”

If the Senate votes to dismiss both articles, the trial will be over before arguments start. Schumer said the House Republicans' case fails to meet "the high standard of high crimes and misdemeanors" and could set a dangerous precedent.

“For the sake of the Senate's integrity and to protect impeachment for those rare cases we truly need it, senators should dismiss today's charges,” said Schumer, D-N.Y., as he opened Wednesday's session.

The House narrowly voted in February to impeach Mayorkas for his handling of the border, arguing in the two articles that he “willfully and systematically” refused to enforce immigration laws. House impeachment managers delivered the charges to the Senate on Tuesday, standing in the well of the Senate and reading them aloud to a captive audience of senators.

An outright dismissal of House Republicans’ prosecution of Mayorkas, with no chance to argue the case, would be an embarrassing defeat for House Republicans and embattled House Speaker Mike Johnson, R-La., who made the impeachment a priority. And it is likely to resonate politically for both Republicans and Democrats in a presidential election year when border security has been a top issue.

Republicans argue that President Joe Biden has been weak on the border as arrests for illegal crossings skyrocketed to more than 2 million people during the last two years of his term, though they have fallen from a record-high of 250,000 in December amid heightened enforcement in Mexico. Democrats say that instead of impeaching Mayorkas, Republicans should have accepted a bipartisan Senate compromise aimed at reducing the number of migrants who come into the U.S. illegally.

Once the senators were sworn in on Wednesday, the chamber turned into the court of impeachment, with Democratic Sen. Patty Murray of Washington presiding. Murray is the president pro tempore of the Senate, or the senior-most member of the majority party who sits in for the vice president. Senators approached the front of the Senate in groups of four to sign an oath book that is stored in the National Archives.

Schumer then called for the votes to dismiss the trial after Republicans rejected a proposed agreement for Senate debate time and several votes on GOP objections. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell called for a delay in the proceedings while Republican senators huddled on the floor to discuss how to proceed and called for several votes to delay the final outcome. All the votes were party-line.

As Johnson signed the articles Monday in preparation for sending them across the Capitol, he said Schumer should convene a trial to “hold those who engineered this crisis to full account.”

Schumer “is the only impediment to delivering accountability for the American people,” Johnson said. “Pursuant to the Constitution, the House demands a trial.”

In any case, Republicans would not be able to win the support of the two-thirds of the Senate that is needed to convict and remove Mayorkas from office — Democrats control the Senate, 51-49, and they appear to be united against the impeachment effort. Not one House Democrat supported it, either.

While most Republicans oppose quick dismissal, some have hinted they could vote with Democrats.

Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, said last week he wasn’t sure what he would do if there were a move to dismiss the trial. “I think it’s virtually certain that there will not be the conviction of someone when the constitutional test has not been met,” he said.

At the same time, Romney said he wants to at least express his view that “Mayorkas has done a terrible job, but he’s following the direction of the president and has not met the constitutional test of a high crime or misdemeanor.”

Mayorkas, who was in New York on Wednesday to launch a campaign for children’s online safety, reiterated that he’s focused on the work of his department. “The Senate is going to do what the Senate considers to be appropriate as that proceeds,” he said. “I am here in New York City on Wednesday morning fighting online sexual exploitation and abuse. I’m focused on our mission.”

The two articles argue that Mayorkas not only refused to enforce existing law but also breached the public trust by lying to Congress and saying the border was secure. The House vote was the first time in nearly 150 years that a Cabinet secretary was impeached.

Since then, Johnson delayed sending the articles to the Senate for weeks while both chambers finished work on government funding legislation and took a two-week recess. Johnson had said he would send them to the Senate last week, but he punted again after Senate Republicans said they wanted more time to prepare.

House impeachment managers previewed some of their arguments at a hearing with Mayorkas on Tuesday morning about President Joe Biden's budget request for the department.

Tennessee Rep. Mark Green, the chairman of the House Homeland Security panel, told the secretary that he has a duty under the law to control and guard U.S. borders, and “during your three years as secretary, you have failed to fulfill this oath. You have refused to comply with the laws passed by Congress, and you have breached the public trust.”

Mayorkas defended the department's efforts but said the nation's immigration system is “fundamentally broken, and only Congress can fix it."

Other impeachment managers are Michael McCaul of Texas, Andy Biggs of Arizona, Ben Cline of Virginia, Andrew Garbarino of New York, Michael Guest of Mississippi, Harriet Hageman of Wyoming, Clay Higgins of Louisiana, Laurel Lee of Florida, August Plfuger of Texas and Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia.

If Democrats were unable to dismiss or table both articles, they could follow the precedent of several impeachment trials for federal judges over the last century and hold a vote to create a trial committee that would investigate the charges. While there is sufficient precedent for this approach, Democrats may prefer to end the process completely, especially in a presidential election year when immigration and border security are top issues.

The impeachment trial is the third in five years. Democrats impeached President Donald Trump twice, once over his dealings with Ukraine and a second time in the days after the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol. Trump was acquitted by the Senate both times.

At a trial, senators would be forced to sit in their seats for the duration, maybe weeks, while the House impeachment managers and lawyers representing Mayorkas make their cases. The Senate is allowed to call witnesses, as well, if it so decides, and it can ask questions of both sides after the opening arguments are finished.

___

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Senate on Wednesday opened the impeachment trial of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas over his handling of the U.S.-Mexico border, swearing in senators as jurors while Democrats said they wanted to end the trial before arguments even begin.

Click here to watch the Senate impeachment trial 12 noon CDT

Click here to read full articles of impeachment against Sec. Mayorkas

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said that he will move to dismiss the trial, arguing that House Republicans' two impeachment articles “fail to meet the high standard of high crimes and misdemeanors" and could set a dangerous precedent.

Kansas Junior Senator Roger Marshall signing the Oath Book ahead of the trial-image courtesy CSPAN
Kansas Junior Senator Roger Marshall signing the Oath Book ahead of the trial-image courtesy CSPAN

“For the sake of the Senate's integrity and to protect impeachment for those rare cases we truly need it, senators should dismiss today's charges,” Schumer, D-N.Y., said as he opened the Senate.

The House narrowly voted in February to impeach Mayorkas for his handling of the border, arguing in the two articles that he “willfully and systematically” refused to enforce immigration laws. House impeachment managers delivered the charges to the Senate on Tuesday, standing in the well of the Senate and reading them aloud to a captive audience of senators.

Missouri Senior Senator Josh Hawley signing the Oath Book-image courtesy CSPAN
Missouri Senior Senator Josh Hawley signing the Oath Book-image courtesy CSPAN

Now that the the senators are sworn in, the chamber has turned into the court of impeachment, with Democratic Sen. Patty Murray of Washington presiding. Murray is the president pro tempore of the Senate, or the senior-most member of the majority party who sits in for the vice president. Senators approached the front of the Senate in groups of four to sign an oath book that is stored in the National Archives.

An outright dismissal of House Republicans’ prosecution of Mayorkas, with no chance to argue the case, would be an embarrassing defeat for House Republicans and embattled House Speaker Mike Johnson, R-La., who made the impeachment a priority. And it is likely to resonate politically for both Republicans and Democrats in a presidential election year when border security has been a top issue.

Republicans argue that President Joe Biden has been weak on the border as arrests for illegal crossings skyrocketed to more than 2 million people during the last two years of his term, though they have fallen from a record-high of 250,000 in December amid heightened enforcement in Mexico. Democrats say that instead of impeaching Mayorkas, Republicans should have accepted a bipartisan Senate compromise aimed at reducing the number of migrants who come into the U.S. illegally.

As Johnson signed the articles Monday in preparation for sending them across the Capitol, he said Schumer should convene a trial to “hold those who engineered this crisis to full account.”

Schumer “is the only impediment to delivering accountability for the American people,” Johnson said. “Pursuant to the Constitution, the House demands a trial.”

The entire process could be done within hours. Schumer said he will seek an agreement from Republicans for a period of debate — an offer they are unlikely to accept — and then allow some Republican objections. He will them move to dismiss the trial and hold a vote.

To win that vote, Schumer will need the support of all of the Senate's Democrats and three independents.

In any case, Republicans would not be able to win the support of the two-thirds of the Senate that is needed to convict and remove Mayorkas from office — Democrats control the Senate, 51-49, and they appear to be united against the impeachment effort. Not one House Democrat supported it, either.

While most Republicans oppose quick dismissal, some have hinted they could vote with Democrats.

Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, said last week he wasn’t sure what he would do if there were a move to dismiss the trial. “I think it’s virtually certain that there will not be the conviction of someone when the constitutional test has not been met,” he said.

At the same time, Romney said he wants to at least express his view that “Mayorkas has done a terrible job, but he’s following the direction of the president and has not met the constitutional test of a high crime or misdemeanor.”

Mayorkas, who was in New York on Wednesday to launch a campaign for children’s online safety, reiterated that he’s focused on the work of his department. “The Senate is going to do what the Senate considers to be appropriate as that proceeds,” he said. “I am here in New York City on Wednesday morning fighting online sexual exploitation and abuse. I’m focused on our mission.”

The two articles argue that Mayorkas not only refused to enforce existing law but also breached the public trust by lying to Congress and saying the border was secure. The House vote was the first time in nearly 150 years that a Cabinet secretary was impeached.

Since then, Johnson delayed sending the articles to the Senate for weeks while both chambers finished work on government funding legislation and took a two-week recess. Johnson had said he would send them to the Senate last week, but he punted again after Senate Republicans said they wanted more time to prepare.

House impeachment managers previewed some of their arguments at a hearing with Mayorkas on Tuesday morning about President Joe Biden's budget request for the department.

Tennessee Rep. Mark Green, the chairman of the House Homeland Security panel, told the secretary that he has a duty under the law to control and guard U.S. borders, and “during your three years as secretary, you have failed to fulfill this oath. You have refused to comply with the laws passed by Congress, and you have breached the public trust.”

Mayorkas defended the department's efforts but said the nation's immigration system is “fundamentally broken, and only Congress can fix it."

Other impeachment managers are Michael McCaul of Texas, Andy Biggs of Arizona, Ben Cline of Virginia, Andrew Garbarino of New York, Michael Guest of Mississippi, Harriet Hageman of Wyoming, Clay Higgins of Louisiana, Laurel Lee of Florida, August Plfuger of Texas and Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia.

If Democrats are unable to dismiss or table the articles, they could follow the precedent of several impeachment trials for federal judges over the last century and hold a vote to create a trial committee that would investigate the charges. While there is sufficient precedent for this approach, Democrats may prefer to end the process completely, especially in a presidential election year when immigration and border security are top issues.

The impeachment trial is the third in five years. Democrats impeached President Donald Trump twice, once over his dealings with Ukraine and a second time in the days after the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol. Trump was acquitted by the Senate both times.

At a trial, senators would be forced to sit in their seats for the duration, maybe weeks, while the House impeachment managers and lawyers representing Mayorkas make their cases. The Senate is allowed to call witnesses, as well, if it so decides, and it can ask questions of both sides after the opening arguments are finished.

___

WASHINGTON (AP) — Senate Democrats could end the impeachment trial of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas on Wednesday before arguments even begin.

Senate Chaplin Rear Admiral Barry Black opens the Senate session on Wednesday with prayer
Senate Chaplin Rear Admiral Barry Black opens the Senate session on Wednesday with prayer

Click here to watch the Senate impeachment trial 12 noon CDT

Click here to read full articles of impeachment against Sec. Mayorkas

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer is expected to call votes to dismiss two articles of impeachment against Mayorkas after senators are sworn in as jurors midday, a move that could scuttle the trial and frustrate Republicans who have demanded that House prosecutors be able to make their case. Democrats appear to be united in opposition to moving forward.

The House narrowly voted in February to impeach Mayorkas for his handling of the U.S.-Mexico border, arguing in the two articles that he “willfully and systematically” refused to enforce immigration laws. House impeachment managers appointed by Speaker Mike Johnson, R-La., delivered the charges to the Senate on Tuesday, standing in the well of the Senate and reading them aloud to a captive audience of senators.

The entire process could be done within hours on Wednesday. Majority Democrats have said the GOP case against Mayorkas doesn’t rise to the “high crimes and misdemeanors” laid out as a bar for impeachment in the Constitution, and Schumer probably has enough votes to end the trial immediately if he decides to do so.

Schumer has said he wants to “address this issue as expeditiously as possible.”

“Impeachment should never be used to settle a policy disagreement,” Schumer said. “That would set a horrible precedent for the Congress.”

As Johnson signed the articles Monday in preparation for sending them across the Capitol, he said Schumer should convene a trial to “hold those who engineered this crisis to full account.”

Schumer “is the only impediment to delivering accountability for the American people,” Johnson said. “Pursuant to the Constitution, the House demands a trial.”

Mayorkas, who was in New York to launch a campaign for children’s online safety, reiterated that he’s focused on the work of his department. “The Senate is going to do what the Senate considers to be appropriate as that proceeds,” he said. “I am here in New York City on Wednesday morning fighting online sexual exploitation and abuse. I’m focused on our mission.”

Once the senators are sworn in on Wednesday, the chamber will turn into the court of impeachment, with Democratic Sen. Patty Murray of Washington presiding. Murray is the president pro tempore of the Senate, or the senior-most member of the majority party who sits in for the vice president.

Exactly how Democrats will proceed on Wednesday is still unclear. Impeachment rules generally allow the Senate majority to decide how to manage the trial, and Schumer has not said exactly what he will do.

Senate Republicans are likely to try to raise a series of objections if Schumer calls votes to dismiss or table. But ultimately they cannot block a dismissal if majority Democrats have the votes.

In any case, Republicans would not be able to win the support of the two-thirds of the Senate that is needed to convict and remove Mayorkas from office — Democrats control the Senate, 51-49, and they appear to be united against the impeachment effort. Not one House Democrat supported it, either.

While most Republicans oppose quick dismissal, some have hinted they could vote with Democrats.

Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, said last week he wasn’t sure what he would do if there were a move to dismiss the trial. “I think it’s virtually certain that there will not be the conviction of someone when the constitutional test has not been met,” he said.

At the same time, Romney said he wants to at least express his view that “Mayorkas has done a terrible job, but he’s following the direction of the president and has not met the constitutional test of a high crime or misdemeanor.”

The two articles argue that Mayorkas not only refused to enforce existing law but also breached the public trust by lying to Congress and saying the border was secure. The House vote was the first time in nearly 150 years that a Cabinet secretary was impeached.

Since then, Johnson has delayed sending the articles to the Senate for weeks while both chambers finished work on government funding legislation and took a two-week recess. Johnson had said he would send them to the Senate last week, but he punted again after Senate Republicans said they wanted more time to prepare.

House impeachment managers previewed some of their arguments at a hearing with Mayorkas on Tuesday morning about President Joe Biden's budget request for the department.

Tennessee Rep. Mark Green, the chairman of the House Homeland Security panel, told the secretary that he has a duty under the law to control and guard U.S. borders, and “during your three years as secretary, you have failed to fulfill this oath. You have refused to comply with the laws passed by Congress, and you have breached the public trust.”

Mayorkas defended the department's efforts but said the nation's immigration system is “fundamentally broken, and only Congress can fix it."

Other impeachment managers are Michael McCaul of Texas, Andy Biggs of Arizona, Ben Cline of Virginia, Andrew Garbarino of New York, Michael Guest of Mississippi, Harriet Hageman of Wyoming, Clay Higgins of Louisiana, Laurel Lee of Florida, August Plfuger of Texas and Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia.

At a news conference with a group of Republican senators after the articles were delivered, the impeachment managers demanded that Schumer move forward with their case.

“The voice of the people is very clear,” said McCaul, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. “Secure the border and impeach this man, this criminal.”

If Democrats are unable to dismiss or table the articles, they could follow the precedent of several impeachment trials for federal judges over the last century and hold a vote to create a trial committee that would investigate the charges. While there is sufficient precedent for this approach, Democrats may prefer to end the process completely, especially in a presidential election year when immigration and border security are top issues.

If the Senate were to proceed to an impeachment trial, it would be the third in five years. Democrats impeached President Donald Trump twice, once over his dealings with Ukraine and a second time in the days after the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol. Trump was acquitted by the Senate both times.

At a trial, senators would be forced to sit in their seats for the duration, maybe weeks, while the House impeachment managers and lawyers representing Mayorkas make their cases. The Senate is allowed to call witnesses, as well, if it so decides, and it can ask questions of both sides after the opening arguments are finished.

___