Senate Shoots Down Mayorkas Impeachment

( – It was months in the making — a Senate impeachment trial for the history books. For the first time since 1876, a member of the president’s cabinet was impeached by the House of Representatives and put on trial in the Senate. Then, in the blink of an eye, it was over.

Impeachment of DHS Secretary

The House filed two articles of impeachment against Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas. The first article alleged he “willfully and systematically refused” to enforce the nation’s immigration laws. The second article accused him of lying to investigators and breaching the public’s trust.

House impeachment managers walked the articles of impeachment over to the Senate on April 16. Under congressional rules, the upper chamber was obligated to hold a trial once they received the articles from the House. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) previously said he wanted to address the impeachment “as expeditiously as possible.”

The House demanded the Senate hold the trial. Speaker of the House Mike Johnson (R-LA) accused Schumer of being the “only impediment to delivering accountability for the American people.”

Senate Trial Begins…and Ends

On April 17, members of the Senate were sworn in for the impeachment trial of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas. Schumer opened the proceedings in the upper chamber by offering Republicans a time agreement. This would allow them a certain amount of time to debate the articles of impeachment.

The time agreement would have also allowed them to vote on points of order and trial resolutions. Senator Eric Schmitt (R-MO) objected to the motion. He accused the majority leader of setting the US Constitution on fire.

Schumer used Schmitt’s objection as the perfect time to hold a vote on whether the articles of impeachment were unconstitutional. The first article of impeachment was declared unconstitutional by a 51-to-48 vote along party lines. Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) voted “present.”

Senators then took up the second article, and it fell, too. That vote was completely along party lines, 51-to-49.

After the votes, Schumer moved to dismiss both charges. The majority leader argued the Senate could not convict Cabinet members of high crimes and misdemeanors for merely carrying out the policies of the US president they serve. The New York Times reported Schumer said it would have been a “grave mistake” to move forward and validate House Republicans’ “gross abuse” of power.

The impeachment proceedings lasted approximately three hours.

After the proceedings ended, Conservatives warned that Schumer set a bad precedent. Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said it was an “unprecedented” move in the chamber’s history.

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