Senate Dismisses Mayorkas Impeachment Charges

Schumer pushed for quick dismissal of charges against Homeland Security chief
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 17, 2024 2:01 PM CDT
Updated Apr 17, 2024 3:29 PM CDT
Mayorkas Impeachment Trial in Senate Begins
In this image from video from Senate Television, Sen. Patty Murray presides over the court of impeachment during the impeachment trial of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas.   (Senate Television via AP)

For the first time in 148 years, a Cabinet member's impeachment trial was held in the Senate Wednesday. Senators were sworn in as jurors for what turned out to be a very short impeachment trial against Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas. Both articles of impeachment were rejected in party-line votes on points of order raised by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, who said they were unconstitutional because they did not "allege conduct that rises to the level of a high crime or misdemeanor," NBC News reports. The AP reports that the first vote was 51-48, with Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski voting "present." The second vote was 51-49. Prior to the votes:

  • House impeachment managers delivered the two articles of impeachment to the Senate on Tuesday—and Schumer promised to deal with the matter "as expeditiously as possible." He pressed for a quick dismissal of what he called "nakedly partisan" charges, CNN reports.
  • The first article charged Mayorkas with "willful and systemic refusal to comply with the law"; the second article accused Mayorkas of a breach of trust for saying that the border was secure.
  • "We will be in our seats as jurors for the third time in four years," Schumer said. "But this time, senators will provide as jurors in the least legitimate, least substantive, and most politicized impeachment trial ever in the history of the United States." Democratic Sen. Patty Murray, president pro tempore of the Senate, presided over the trial, the AP reports.

  • "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 said when he opened the Senate Wednesday, per NBC. In February, the House voted 214-213 in favor of impeachment.
  • Republican Sen. Eric Schmitt rejected a plan to structure the trial Wednesday, Politico reports. Schumer proposed a plan that would involve votes on motions to create a trial committee and hold a full trial, followed by a vote on dismissing the charges. This would have given Republican senators time to debate, but Schmitt said he wouldn't accept a deal that didn't promise a full trial. "I'm not going to participate in lighting the Constitution on fire and 200 years of precedent," he said. "Why would we negotiate away our constitutional duty?"
(More Alejandro Mayorkas stories.)

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