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House delivers Mayorkas impeachment articles to Senate, trial uncertain

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On Tuesday, House managers delivered two articles of impeachment to the U.S. Senate for DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas after a week’s delay and amidst speculation over whether or not the Democratic-led Senate will hold a trial.

On Monday, House Speaker Mike Johnson, R-La., signed the articles of impeachment saying, “the border catastrophe is the number one issue for the American people. We must hold those who engineered it to full account.” He also again called on Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., to hold a public trial.

Last week, Senate Republicans raised the alarm about a purported plan of Schumer’s to dismiss the charges and not hold a public trial. Sen. Roger Marshall, R-Kan., said that if Schumer were to use a procedural maneuver “it would only take two Democrats to deny tabling this process in order to proceed with an impeachment trial.”

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and others, argued the Senate is constitutionally required to hold a trial and not doing so would erode over 200 years of precedent and destroy the institution and public trust.

In a floor statement on Monday, Schumer again repeated what he had previously said: “Impeachment should never be used to settle a policy disagreement.”

Holding an impeachment trial would “set a horrible precedent for” Congress, he said, but appeared to indicate that the Senate would follow procedure, although to what extent remains unclear.

“The Senate’s plan has not changed since last week,” he said. “We are ready to go whenever the House sends us the articles. We want to address this issue as expeditiously as possible.”

The charges being brought to the Senate were delayed after Johnson learned that Schumer called the Senate into recess on Thursday through Tuesday.

After the Senate receives the articles on Tuesday, all 100 senators are expected to be sworn in as jurors for the trial on Wednesday afternoon.

Assuming a trial is held, Johnson chose 11 House impeachment managers to prosecute Mayorkas. At the helm is the chairman of the U.S. House Committee on Homeland Security, Rep. Mark Green, R-Tenn., who led a year-long investigation into Mayorkas’ “dereliction of duty.” His committee held multiple hearings in Washington, D.C., and at the border, wrote the articles of impeachment and was the first to pass them, ultimately bringing them to the full House for a vote.

Joining Green are his vice chair on the committee, Rep. Michael Guest of Mississippi and the committee’s former chair and now Foreign Affairs Chairman, Mike McCaul of Texas. House managers also include four conservative Freedom Caucus members: Reps. Andy Biggs of Arizona, Clay Higgins of Louisiana, Ben Cline of Virginia and Harriet Hageman of Wyoming. They also include Reps. Andrew Garbarino of New York, August Pfluger of Texas, Laurel Lee of Florida and Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia.

Several Republican senators are expected to join Democrats to acquit Mayorkas. They include those who are still in office who voted to confirm his nomination on Feb. 2, 2021: Sens. Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan of Alaska, Susan Collins of Maine, Mitt Romney of Utah, and Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia. Independent Phil King of Maine is also expected to vote with Democrats.

Romney has already indicated that he would not vote to impeach Mayorkas because he has argued that Mayorkas is carrying out the policies of the president.

Sen. James Lankford, R-Okla., may also vote with Democrats after having worked closely with Mayorkas to craft a so-called bipartisan border security bill that would have codified many of Mayorkas’ policies into law for which he was impeached, The Center Square reported. The bill was dead on arrival in the House.

The Republican-led House impeached Mayorkas on Feb. 13 on two counts, for “Willful and Systemic Refusal to Comply with the Law” and “Breach of the Public Trust.” In a House Committee on Homeland Security hearing on Tuesday, Green repeated the claims in the articles of impeachment, saying Mayorkas “knowingly made false statements, and knowingly obstructed lawful oversight of the Department of Homeland Security,” which is why he was impeached.

Mayorkas, the first sitting cabinet member to be impeached in U.S. history, denies the charges saying they are “baseless” and “politically motivated.” He again refuted Green’s claims on Tuesday, the first time he appeared before the committee that led the charge to impeach him.

Mayorkas’ impeachment comes after more than 11 million foreign nationals have illegally entered the U.S. since January 2021, including violent criminals, known terrorists, and the greatest number of single military-age men in U.S. history.