Senate set for showdown over Mayorkas impeachment articles

Senate set for showdown over Mayorkas impeachment articles
Senate set for showdown over Mayorkas impeachment articles

We show you our most important and recent visitors news details Senate set for showdown over Mayorkas impeachment articles in the following article

Hind Al Soulia - Riyadh - WASHINGTON — The US Senate is set for a showdown over the articles of impeachment against Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas as Democrats are expected to move quickly to dismiss the articles, while Republicans insist there must be a full trial.

The House transmitted the articles of impeachment to the Senate on Tuesday and senators are expected to be sworn in as jurors Wednesday.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has not specified exactly how he plans to handle the trial procedurally. But Democratic senators — as well as some Republicans — have suggested they expect the Senate will move to dismiss the case before a full trial. Democrats could pass a motion to dismiss or table the articles on a simple majority vote as early as Wednesday.

Whatever happens, it is highly doubtful that the chamber would vote to convict, which would require a two-thirds majority vote – an exceedingly high bar to clear.

Senate Republicans are seeking to reach a time agreement with Democrats that would allow floor debate and for GOP senators to have votes on procedural motions. If a time agreement is not reached, it’s unclear clear how long the process will take as Republicans could attempt any number of procedural delays, although at some point the presiding officer could rule those efforts dilatory and cut them off.

Mayorkas is the first Cabinet secretary to be impeached in almost 150 years. House Republicans voted to impeach Mayorkas in February over his handling of the southern border by a narrow margin after failing to do so on their first try.

Democrats have slammed the impeachment as a political stunt, saying that Republicans had no valid basis for the move and that policy disagreements are not a justification for the rarely used constitutional impeachment of a Cabinet official.

“We want to address this issue as expeditiously as possible,” Schumer said in floor remarks on Tuesday. “Impeachment should never be used to settle a policy disagreement.”

He added, “Talk about awful precedents. This would set an awful precedent for Congress. Every time there’s a policy agreement in the House, they send it over here and tie the Senate in knots to do an impeachment trial? That’s absurd. That’s an abuse of the process. That is more chaos.”

A number of congressional Republicans, however, have criticized the prospect of a quick dismissal or move to table.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said on Tuesday that senators have a “rare” and “solemn” responsibility to consider the impeachment articles and said he would oppose any effort to table the articles.

“As befits such a solemn and rare responsibility as convening a court of impeachment, I intend to give these charges my full and undivided attention,” he said.

The Kentucky Republican added, “It would be beneath the Senate’s dignity to shrug off our clear responsibility and fail to give the charges we’ll hear today the thorough consideration they deserve. I will strenuously oppose any effort to table the articles of impeachment and avoid looking the Biden administration’s border crisis squarely in the face.”

Additionally, some hard-right Republican senators are trying to find a way to force a full trial, but their efforts are not expected to get enough traction to pass, according to senators and aides from both parties.

If the Senate holds a vote to dismiss, it may not break down strictly along party lines as some Republicans have signaled they may be open to doing so – in particular, if there is time for debate prior to the vote.

Democrats up for reelection in tough races will likely face pressure over their vote and whether they decide to dismiss or table the articles.

Vulnerable Democratic Sen. Bob Casey of Pennsylvania, who is up for reelection, told CNN’s Manu Raju that he will vote to dismiss, calling it a “partisan exercise.”

Asked whether he thinks there should be a trial in the Senate, Casey replied, “I don’t. I think we should move on and get to work on a bipartisan border security deal.”

“You’ve gotta hire border patrol agents, you’ve got to hire more people at ICE to enforce border security. You can’t do that with an exercise like they’re engaged with. It’s a partisan exercise and I think it’s a waste of people’s time, but we have to go through it,” he added.

Democratic Sen. Jon Tester of Montana, who is also up for reelection, did not say if he plans to support a motion to dismiss when asked by CNN on Tuesday prior to the articles being sent over to the Senate. “I was going to read the articles this morning and I have not yet,” he said, adding, “I still gotta read the articles.”

Senate President Pro Tempore Patty Murray, a Democrat of Washington, will oversee the proceedings.

Republicans targeted Mayorkas as soon as they took control of the House, blaming the high number of border crossings on the Homeland Security secretary as the party faced pressure from its base to go after the Biden administration on a key campaign issue.

Multiple constitutional experts, however, have said the evidence Republicans have put forward for impeachment does not reach the high bar of high crimes and misdemeanors set by the US Constitution.

Mayorkas has pushed back against criticism of his leadership, and DHS has called the impeachment effort against him a baseless political attack.

The White House, for its part, has worked to flip the script, citing Republicans blocking a bipartisan border deal in the Senate as evidence that the party isn’t serious about border security.

After months of negotiations, Senate Republicans blocked a major bipartisan border deal earlier this year that would have marked a tough change to immigration law and would have given the president far-reaching powers to restrict illegal migrant crossings at the southern border.

The deal faced a torrent of attacks from former President Donald and top House Republicans. — CNN

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