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Senate Dismisses Both Impeachment Articles Against Mayorkas

The senate has never forgone a trial during the nation's 21 previous impeachments over the last 150 years

Senate Dismisses Both Impeachment Articles Against Mayorkas

The United States Senate dismissed the two articles of impeachment filed against the Secretary of Homeland Security.

This marks the first time in the nation’s history that the Senate has eschewed the impeachment trial process. There have been 21 impeachment trials involving federal judges, a cabinet secretary, a senator, and three presidents. 

The House of Representatives voted to impeach Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas on Feb. 13. The chamber found that Mayorkas was derelict in duty as he had willfully refused to comply with the law and breached the public’s trust. The Senate received the articles on April 16, triggering a trial of the cabinet member. Democrats currently control the chamber and were expected to dismiss the charges or to vote against convicting Mayorkas.

On April 17, the Senate voted 51-48 to dismiss the first article alleging that Mayorkas’s failure to secure the nation’s southern border amid rising illegal crossings, human trafficking, and drug smuggling was willful. The voters was split along party lines with Democrats calling the charge “unconstitutional.” Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska was the only Republican not to vote against dismissing the first article of impeachment – opting instead to only vote “present.”

The Senate then voted 51-49 to toss the second article of impeachment against Mayorkas regarding breaching public trust.

“The charges brought against Secretary Mayorkas failed to meet the high standard of high crimes and misdemeanors,” said Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York while speaking from the floor. “To validate this gross abuse by the House would be a grave mistake and could set a dangerous precedent for the future.”

Senate Republicans have pushed for a full trial and a thorough consideration of the articles brought against Mayorkas. At least 43 of the Senate’s 46 Republicans co-signed a letter to Schumer demanding he “properly adjudicate” the charges against the cabinet of the Homeland Security secretary.

“Since 1797, twenty-one individuals have been impeached by the House of Representatives. Trials were held in every single instance, except once when an impeached judge resigned from office before trial commenced. Absent Secretary Mayorkas’ immediate resignation, this impeachment should remain faithful to Senatorial precedent,” the Republicans wrote on April 12. “In the face of the disaster that mounts daily at our southern border, and in communities across America, the House of Representatives has formally accused Alejandro Mayorkas of demeaning his office. The American people deserve to hear the evidence through a Senate trial in the Court of Impeachment.”

The Democrats appeared poised to dismiss the articles with haste at the start of the proceedings.

After members of the chamber were sworn in as jurors, Schumer “first asked for unanimous consent on a plan that would have allowed for debate time and for Republicans to raise various points of order before Democrats moved toward a motion to dismiss the charges,” reports ABC News. His request angered Republicans who promptly objected.

Never before in the history of our republic has the Senate dismissed or tabled articles of impeachment when the impeached individual was alive and had not resigned,” said Senator Eric Schmitt of Missouri after rising. "I will not assist Senator Schumer in setting our Constitution ablaze and bulldozing 200 years of precedent.”

Senator John Kennedy of Louisana, who also objected, proposed adjourning the proceedings until April 30. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky also objected. 

“At this point, in any trial in the country, the prosecution presents the case, the defense does the same and the jury listens,” said McConnell, per The New York Post. “But the Senate has not had the opportunity to perform this duty.”

Senator John Cornyn of Texas warned, while speaking with a reporter for Fox News, that Senate Democrats are “gonna try to sweep this under the rug and act as if the Biden border crisis never existed.”

“But the evidence is very plain,” said Cornyn, noting that “millions of people who have come across [the border and been] released into the interior,” that “108,000 Americans have died from  drugs that have come across the border,” that when the Border Patrol has been overwhelmed by the sheer volume of humanity coming across,” and that 450,000 children who “the Biden administration is simply lost, ostensibly placed with sponsors.” 

“They don't even feel like it's their responsibility to know whether they're being trafficked for sex or involuntary labor,” he said. “So you can't sweep that under the rug.”

Mayorkas has denied any wrongdoing.

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