House GOP says when it will send Mayorkas impeachment articles to Senate


House Republicans will send their articles of impeachment against Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas to the Senate early next month — paving the way for a long-coming showdown in the upper chamber.

Speaker Mike Johnson and the 11 Republican impeachment managers said in a Thursday letter to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer that they will present the articles to the Senate on April 10, shortly after Congress returns from its current two-week break. In the letter, they also urged him to “expeditiously” schedule a trial.

That means the long-simmering Senate debate over what to do with those impeachment articles will soon come to a head. Those narrowly passed the House in February after three Republicans sided with Democrats, opposing the impeachment of the first Cabinet official since 1876.

“We call upon you to fulfill your constitutional obligation to hold this trial. … To table articles of impeachment without ever hearing a single argument or reviewing a piece of evidence would be a violation of our constitutional order and an affront to the American people whom we all serve,” Republicans wrote in the letter.

Schumer has not said whether he’d support a motion to dismiss the trial, but he has repeatedly dubbed the Mayorkas impeachment a sham. His office said in a statement Thursday that senators would be sworn in as jurors after the Senate receives the articles, but that still does not guarantee a full trial.

“As we have said previously, after the House impeachment managers present the articles of impeachment to the Senate, Senators will be sworn in as jurors in the trial the next day. Senate President Pro Tempore Patty Murray will preside,” the statement said.

Even if the Senate were to go through an impeachment trial for Mayorkas, the chances of conviction are near zero given it requires a two-thirds threshold. It’s virtually certain all Senate Democrats would vote to acquit Mayorkas — and given skepticism from some centrist Republicans, there’s a chance that vote could be bipartisan.

Republicans impeached Mayorkas on charges of betraying the public trust and refusing to comply with the law, citing his handling of the border. The administration, Democrats and even some GOP-aligned legal experts said that didn’t meet the bar of high crimes and misdemeanors spelled out in the Constitution.

GOP lawmakers who opposed impeaching Mayorkas warned at the time that their colleagues were setting a new standard that could be used against a future Republican administration. Johnson and the GOP impeachment managers rebutted that criticism in their Thursday letter, a possible preview of trial arguments. They said the framers gave Congress the authority to impeach when a Cabinet official isn’t enforcing the law — though impeachment skeptics have argued that conflates a policy disagreement with an impeachable offense.

Still, the chances of a Mayorkas impeachment trial is iffy at best.

A number of Senate Democrats — including swing votes like Sens. Jon Tester (D-Mont.) and Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) — have said they’d support a motion to dismiss the trial. Schumer would only need a simple majority to pass a dismissal, meaning Democrats could take such a step on their own if they’re united.

Meanwhile, Senate conservatives have increasingly demanded that a trial proceed in full, even though some of their more centrist GOP colleagues have expressed doubts on the merits of impeaching Mayorkas altogether.

Mia Ehrenberg, a spokesperson for the Department of Homeland Security, referred back to a previous statement when asked for comment, saying House Republicans “have wasted months with this baseless, unconstitutional impeachment.”

It’s less clear if Senate Republicans would help dismiss or table a trial. Some GOP senators have predicted that even if some of their colleagues oppose convicting Mayorkas, any effort to leapfrog or cut short a trial would likely fall along party lines. And top Senate Republicans, including Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, have called for a trial.

Again, Schumer hasn’t indicated his plans. But he has a lofty legislative agenda for the remainder of 2024 that an impeachment trial could easily impact, including an April 19 deadline on reauthorizing a controversial surveillance program and an expected heated debate over Ukraine aid next month. Not to mention an unexpected need for federal funding after the collapse of the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore earlier this week.



Source link