DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas’ impeachment trial: Senate dismisses both charges

The Senate took up articles of impeachment Wednesday against Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, who was accused of flouting federal immigration laws and breaching the public trust.

>> Read more trending news

The Senate got the articles on Tuesday after the House of Representatives passed them in a 214-213 vote earlier this year. They accused Mayorkas of “willfully and systemically” failing to enforce immigration laws, allowing millions of people to enter the country illegally, and lying to Congress about the security of the border.

The impeachment trial marked the first of a sitting Cabinet member and the first of a Cabinet secretary in almost 150 years, according to The Washington Post and CNN.

Senate adjourns after killing impeachment articles against Mayorkas

Update 4:27 p.m. EDT April 17: The Senate voted to adjourn the impeachment trial of Mayorkas on Wednesday after dismissing two articles of impeachment against him.

Senate dismisses second article of impeachment

Update 4:17 p.m. EDT April 17: The Senate voted Wednesday to dismiss the second of two articles of impeachment against Mayorkas.

The vote came after senators voted to dismiss the first article of impeachment against Mayorkas, which accused him of “willful and systemic refusal to comply” with federal immigration laws.

The second article accused Mayorkas of “breach of public trust.”

“Mayorkas has knowingly made false statements, and knowingly obstructed lawful oversight of the Department of Homeland Security ... principally to obfuscate the results of his willful and systemic refusal to comply with the law,” according to the article. It said Mayorkas lied in telling Congress that the border is “no less secure than it was previously” and “closed.”

In a 51-49 vote, senators found the article of impeachment to be unconstitutional because it did not rise to the level of high crimes and misdemeanors.

Senate votes to dismiss first article of impeachment

Update 3:25 p.m. EDT April 17: The Senate voted to dismiss the first of two articles of impeachment against Mayorkas on Wednesday.

Lawmakers did not debate the bill after earlier efforts to start conversations on the floor or in private failed.

The first article of impeachment passed earlier this year by the House of Representatives accused Mayorkas of engaging in a “willful and systemic refusal to comply with the law.”

“Throughout his tenure as Secretary of Homeland Security, Alejandro N. Mayorkas has repeated violated laws enacted by Congress regarding immigration and border security,” according to the article. “In large part because of his unlawful conduct, millions of aliens have illegally entered the United States on an annual basis with many unlawfully remaining in the United States.”

Democrats said the article is unconstitutional, The Associated Press reported.

Original report: President Joe Biden has called the impeachment effort “a blatant act of unconstitutional partisanship” aimed at allowing Republicans “to play petty political games.”

House Speaker Mike Johnson and impeachment managers in the chamber urged the Senate to quickly take up the articles in a letter sent last month to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, saying, “The American people demand a secure border, an end to this crisis, and accountability for those responsible.”

On the Senate floor on Wednesday, Schumer said the impeachment amounted to a policy disagreement and failed to meet the standard of high crimes and misdemeanors needed to justify an impeachment.

“Today, the trial will commence, and we will be in our seats as jurors for the third time in four years. 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,” he said.

The New York Democrat said his colleagues should dismiss the charges.

“To validate this gross abuse by the House would be a grave mistake and could set a dangerous precedent for the future,” Schumer said.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell later urged his colleagues to give the matter “thorough consideration.”

“Tabling articles of impeachment would be unprecedented in the history of the Senate. It’s as simple as that,” the Kentucky Republican said.

“Tabling would mean declining to discharge our duties as jurors, it would mean running both from our fundamental responsibility and from the glaring truth of the record-breaking crisis at our southern border.”

In February, an overwhelming majority of House Republicans voted to impeach Mayorkas over frustration with the management of the U.S.-Mexico border. The vote came after an earlier attempt to impeach Mayorkas failed.

Democrats and some Republicans in the Senate have shown little interest in impeaching Mayorkas, The Associated Press reported.

Comments on this article