House delivers Mayorkas impeachment articles to the Senate to begin a trial

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

WASHINGTON — After a weeklong delay, the House of Representatives on Tuesday afternoon sent its articles of impeachment against Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas to the Senate.

It kicks off what’s expected to be a very short trial in the upper chamber — one that could wrap up by week’s end. However, Republicans, who are demanding a full Senate trial, are fighting to drag out the process in a bid to shine the spotlight on what they see as Mayorkas’ failure to curtail migrant crossings and secure the southern border.

As was done for the two Donald Trump impeachments, the impeachment managers escorted a pair of articles from the House chamber, across the Rotunda and onto the Senate floor. The solemn procession of 11 GOP impeachment managers or prosecutors was led by Homeland Security Chairman Mark Green, R-Tenn., and far-right Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., who authored the original Mayorkas articles.

After the House managers assembled in the well of the upper chamber in front of the seated senators, Senate Sergeant at Arms Karen Gibson opened the impeachment trial: “Hear ye! Hear ye! Hear ye! All persons are commanded to keep silent, on pain of imprisonment, while the House of Representatives is exhibiting to the Senate of the United States an article of impeachment against Alejandro N. Mayorkas, Secretary of Homeland Security.”

Senate President Pro Tempore Patty Murray, D-Wash., is presiding over the trial. She and all other 99 senators will be sworn in as jurors on Wednesday afternoon. It is unclear exactly how long the trial will last, though Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., has said the Senate will deal with the matter “expeditiously.”

It’s expected that Senate Democrats, who control the chamber, will band together and vote to dismiss or table the issue, then move on to other business, including the chamber's need to renew a critical spy tool before it expires Friday. None of the Senate's 51 Democrats have said they support the Mayorkas impeachment, and even a handful of GOP senators have said the impeachment is meritless.

"Impeachment should never be used to settle a policy disagreement; that would set a horrible precedent for the Congress," Schumer said in a floor speech Monday. "Nevertheless, the Senate's plan has not changed since last week. We are ready to go whenever the House sends us the articles. We want to address this issue as expeditiously as possible."

Johnson, a Louisiana Republican, had originally planned to send the Mayorkas articles to the Senate on April 10, but Senate conservatives, led by Mike Lee of Utah, successfully lobbied the speaker to postpone the action to prevent a speedy dismissal by Democrats at the end of the week as lawmakers were preparing to leave Washington.

Mayorkas, Biden’s top border official and the first Latino to lead the Homeland Security Department, became only the second Cabinet secretary in history — and the first since 1876 — to be impeached by the House. Republicans’ first attempt to impeach him collapsed spectacularly on the House floor, but they were successful on the second try, on Feb. 13, with just a single vote to spare; the tally was 214-213, with three Republicans joining all Democrats in voting no.

In their two articles, House Republicans charged Mayorkas with “high crimes and misdemeanors” for failing to enforce immigration and border security laws, resulting, they said, in “millions” of undocumented immigrants illegally crossing into the U.S. each year; and for knowingly lying under oath to Congress.

Testifying separately from the trial before the House Homeland Security Committee Tuesday, Mayorkas responded to a few questions about the impeachment, telling members he is focused on his job.

"I have been in public service I think about 22 years. I’ve taken the oath I think five times, maybe six. I have adhered to the oath to which I have sworn and I have abided by the law each and every step of the way," he said.

Mayorkas’ Democratic allies have lambasted the GOP’s impeachment as a politically motivated “sham” launched months before the presidential election and argued that Republicans’ criticism of the DHS secretary amounts to policy differences rather than impeachable offenses. Several conservatives have argued against impeaching Mayorkas as well, blasting the move as inappropriate. Sen. Kevin Cramer, R-N.D., a Trump ally, called it “the worst, dumbest exercise and use of time.”

The 11 House impeachment managers, the prosecutors appointed by Johnson, are a mix of senior Republicans and conservative hard-liners.

In addition to Green and Greene, the other managers are the Homeland panel’s vice chair, Michael Guest of Mississippi; Foreign Affairs Chairman Mike McCaul of Texas, who previously was Homeland chairman; Rep. Andrew Garbarino of New York; Rep. August Pfluger of Texas; Rep. Laurel Lee of Florida; four conservative Freedom Caucus members: Reps. Andy Biggs of Arizona, Clay Higgins of Louisiana, Ben Cline of Virginia and Harriet Hageman of Wyoming.

This article was originally published on