Senate kills articles of impeachment against Alejandro Mayorgas

The Senate made short work of the articles of impeachment against Interior Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas On Wednesday, a historic hearing was held in which the Democratic majority brushed aside GOP efforts to prolong the dead-end process.

House Republicans voted to impeach Mayorkas on February 13 In their second attempt after first failing to secure the necessary votes. The Biden appointee became the first cabinet secretary to be fired in nearly 150 years.

There was less drama in the upper chamber, where hours after they began voting, mostly along party lines, to declare two charges against Mayorkas unconstitutional — one for “willful and legitimate refusal to comply with the law.” ” and another for “breach of public trust”. Senate of Alaska. Lisa Murkowski was the first article voter to stand out in the Republican Party.

The blink-and-you-miss Senate hearing marked the culmination of a largely unsuccessful political gamble by House Republicans seeking to shed light on the Biden administration's handling of the southern border ahead of the general election. But the merits of the case they hoped to bring to the Senate were widely seen as inconsequential and, to some, a distraction from other election-year news. The House GOP says Mayorkas, who is first Latino and an immigrant, has committed more felonies and misdemeanors, never submitted to constitutional experts, and said the evidence against him failed to clear that high bar.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer opened proceedings by offering Republicans a timing deal that would allow a limited amount of debate and votes on investigative resolutions and points of order before a vote to dismiss the case.

But Missouri's Republican Senate. Eric Schmidt objected, saying he would not agree to a proposal that would have ended the matter with the “unprecedented” move of ending an impeachment case without a trial. Many Republicans wanted a deal because it would target Democrats and allow them to hold talks on the situation at the border. Without it, only those who received unanimous approval from their colleagues would have been allowed to speak – an impossibility given the political stakes of the moment.

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Schumer then made a motion to strike or kill the first article of impeachment because it “does not allege conduct rising to a high crime or misdemeanor” as required by the Constitution. After several rounds of procedural votes, the Senate passed the resolution by a vote of 51-48, killing the first article of impeachment.

Senate TV

The U.S. Senate chamber shortly before senators were sworn in as jurors in the impeachment trial against Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas on Wednesday.

After several more procedural votes, Schumer's motion to file a second article was also approved, eliminating the second article on a party-line vote of 51-49.

The House sent the articles of impeachment to the Senate On Tuesday And senators were sworn in as jurors Wednesday. It's highly doubtful the chamber would vote to convict, which would require a two-thirds majority vote — a very high bar to clear.

Democrats slammed the impeachment as a political stunt, while Republicans said there was no valid basis for the move and that policy differences were not a justification for a rarely-used constitutional impeachment of a cabinet official.

“We want to resolve this issue as quickly as possible,” Schumer said in floor remarks Tuesday. “Allegations should never be used to resolve a policy conflict.”

And, “Talk about bad precedents. This will set a bad precedent for Congress. Every time there is a policy deal in the House, do they send it here and impeach the Senate in knots? That's ridiculous. It is an abuse of process. It's still confusing.”

Many congressional Republicans, however, criticized the prospect of a quick repeal or tabled move.

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Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said Tuesday that senators have a “rare” and “substantial” responsibility, saying he opposes any effort to consider and file articles of impeachment.

“As befits the solemn and rare responsibility of convening an impeachment court, I wish to give these charges my full and undivided attention,” he said.

The Kentucky Republican added, “It is beneath the dignity of the Senate to shirk our clear responsibility and to fail to give the allegations we hear today the full consideration they deserve. I will strongly oppose any attempt to introduce articles of impeachment and avoid confronting the Biden administration's border crisis head-on.

In addition, some far-right Republican senators tried to find a way to force a full hearing, but their efforts did not gain enough traction to hold a formal vote after the party basically failed.

Republicans have targeted Mayorkas since taking control of the House, accusing the Homeland Security secretary of a high number of border crossings as the party faces pressure from its base to go after the Biden administration on a key campaign issue.

While Mayorkas has pushed back against criticism of his leadership, DHS has was invited The allegation against him is baseless political attack.

The White House, for its part, has worked to flip the script, citing Republicans' blocking of a bipartisan border deal in the Senate as evidence that the party is not serious about border security.

White House and Homeland Security officials have been in frequent contact during the impeachment trial against Mayorgas, revealing strategy and response as they publicly portrayed the investigation as a political stunt. Since Republicans launched their bid to oust the Homeland Security secretary, Biden administration officials have said they plan to keep Mayorgas in office, dismissing the GOP impeachment inquiry into the DHS chief as “unmerited.”

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Instead, the White House and Homeland Security officials have employed a split-screen strategy, like wasting time on House majority action while Mayorgas works with senators to hammer out a border deal.

After months of negotiations, Senate Republicans earlier this year Blocked that major bipartisan border deal It would have made drastic changes to immigration law and given the president long-term powers to crack down on illegal immigrants at the southern border.

The deal came under fire from former President Donald Trump and top House Republicans.

The Department of Homeland Security and the White House praised Senate Democrats for killing the impeachment measure.

“Once and for all, the Senate has rightly voted down these baseless charges, which even conservative legal scholars have said are unconstitutional,” said Ian Sams, White House spokesman for oversight and investigations. “President Biden and Secretary Mayorgas will continue their work to keep America safe and pursue real solutions at the border, and congressional Republicans should join them, instead of wasting time on baseless political stunts while killing real bipartisan border security reform.”

“As he has done in more than 20 years of dedicated public service, Secretary Meyergas will continue to work every day to enforce our laws and protect our nation,” said DHS spokeswoman Mia Ehrenberg. “It's time for Congressional Republicans to support the Department's core mission instead of wasting time on political games and standing in the way of bipartisan border reforms.”

This story has been updated with additional information.

CNN's Manu Raju and Priscilla Alvarez contributed to this report.

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