Home » Senate Democrats vote to end Mayorkas impeachment without trial, enraging Republicans

Senate Democrats vote to end Mayorkas impeachment without trial, enraging Republicans

by John Jefferson
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Senate Democrats voted to end impeachment proceedings against director of homeland security, Alejandro Mayorkas, on Wednesday without trial in a move that enraged their Republican colleagues.

The Senate voted mostly on party lines to dismiss two articles of impeachment against Mayorkas and to adjourn the trial. Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski, who broke party lines to support the second impeachment of Donald Trump, voted “present” during the vote to table the first article while supporting the second article of impeachment.

Mitt Romney, another Republican who supported both impeachments of Donald Trump voted against shutting down the trial in both instances.

Many members of the GOP caucus voiced frustration over Democrats killing the impeachment process without a public debate period.

Democrats declined to bring a full trial against Joe Biden’s Cabinet official and cited Republicans’ inability to name specific “high crimes or misdemeanors”, the general standard for impeachment.

The two articles submitted by the House included a supposed breach of the “public trust” and an assertion that he has refused to adequately enforce immigration laws at the US border.

Republicans delivered the articles to the Senate on Tuesday in a procession led by House impeachment managers including Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene. The vote on shutting down the inquiry without a trial lasted several hours, as Republicans played a number of delay tactics and drew out the process with motions to adjourn and table the discussion.

The border res a politically turbulent issue and Democrats are looking at the possibility of taking executive action to address illegal crossings after a bipartisan framework, negotiated in the Senate, was voted down by Republicans earlier this year.

House GOP members had sought to use action on border security as a bargaining chip for their votes on Ukraine and Israel aid but that demand evaporated following the defeat of the bipartisan Senate framework. The lower chamber is set to hold votes on Ukraine and Israel assistance on Friday.

Their colleagues in the Senate blasted the proceedings as they occurred and in floor speeches after the trial was adjourned.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell told reporters: “We’ve set a very unfortunate precedent here.”

“This means that the Senate can ignore, in effect, the House’s impeachment,” he argued.

But Democrats and the administration were quick to celebrate victory, ignoring claims of setting bad precedent from their GOP rivals.

A spokeswoman for the Department of Homeland Security argued that the party-line vote “proves definitively that there was no evidence or constitutional grounds to justify impeachment”.

“It’s time for congressional Republicans to support the Department’s vital mission instead of wasting times playing political games,” DHS press secretary Mia Ehrenberg said.

White House spokesperson Ian Sams also released a statement rebuking the GOP over what the administration called a “baseless political stunt”.

“Once and for all, the Senate has rightly voted down this baseless impeachment that even conservative legal scholars said was unconstitutional,” said Mr Sams. “President Biden and Secretary Mayorkas will continue doing their jobs to keep America safe and pursue actual solutions at the border, and congressional Republicans should join them, instead of wasting time on baseless political stunts while killing real bipartisan border security reforms.”

That language was echoed by Senator Alex Padilla, a Democrat from California: “House Republicans failed to provide a shred of evidence of any impeachable offenses. The Senate voted accordingly to deem these impeachment articles unconstitutional. Rather than wasting time on these political stunts that vilify immigrants, I stand ready to work with my colleagues to actually address the root causes of migration and modernize our immigration system.”

Mr Mayorkas res a target of vitriol for Republicans and during a budget hearing on Tuesday he was lectured by Ms Greene over the death of Laken Riley, a 22-year-old nursing student killed in Georgia, whom she suggested he should have deported. Ms Riley’s suspected killer is alleged to have crossed the border illegally.

The border itself also res a hot-button topic given the thousands of illegal crossings reported every month. In March, the number of arrests for illegal border crossings totalled 137,480, down from 140,638 in February.

President Biden is reportedly weighing executive action to address border security after the compromise legislation worked out by Senate negotiators failed. His party has gone on a rare offensive against Republicans on the issue following the collapse of the Senate deal, arguing that Republicans are playing political games and have no interest in reaching a compromise to actually address the problem.

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