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Senate Republicans preview fight over Mayorkas impeachment

Republicans want to force votes on any plans to brush aside the articles without a trial

Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, has led an effort to fight back against any plan from Democrats to quickly dispatch impeachment articles this week.
Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, has led an effort to fight back against any plan from Democrats to quickly dispatch impeachment articles this week. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Senate Republicans plan to fight back against any effort from Democrats to quickly dispatch the articles of impeachment against Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas set to arrive in the chamber Wednesday.

Sen. Thom Tillis, R-N.C., told reporters Tuesday there will be “pomp and circumstance” on Wednesday night, but Republican members would then raise several points of order, forcing votes before any effort to dismiss or table the impeachment.

Some Republicans took to the Senate floor Monday night to preview their arguments about why the chamber should hold a full trial — laced with warnings to Democrats that voting to brush aside an impeachment that focused on U.S.-Mexico border security could be politically perilous, particularly on those seeking reelection.

“But make no mistake about this: Come November, the good people from Montana and Ohio, from Michigan and Wisconsin, from Pennsylvania and Nevada will make their voices heard and hold their senators accountable,” Sen. Roger Marshall, R-Kan., said.

So far, Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y., has closely held any plan for handling the impeachment articles. However, members on both sides of the aisle anticipate the chamber will soon vote on a procedural measure to dispense with them.

Democrats routinely called the impeachment a “farce” and Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., told reporters Tuesday the impeachment was an “absolute waste of time.” He said the chamber will likely not have a trial and Democrats are preparing a motion to dismiss the charges.

“I really regret we are spending time on a farce where we know the outcome,” Blumenthal said.

During a floor speech Monday night, Sen. John Cornyn, R-Tex., said Schumer’s effort would violate the Constitution.

“Impeachment is one of the most solemn features in our democracy, and the majority leader must not brush these articles under the rug,” Cornyn said. “I can understand why he may want to because the evidence that will be adduced at trial will be damning, both for Secretary Mayorkas and for the Biden administration’s policies, which are essentially open-border policies.”

Mayorkas is the first sitting Cabinet member to face impeachment in more than a century. The House adopted the two articles of impeachment on a 214-213 vote in February, accusing Mayorkas of “willful and systemic refusal to comply with the law” and “breach of public trust” related to Biden administration immigration policies.

The impeachment has been a central point in the years-long dispute between the Biden administration and Republicans over immigration, one that has reached new heights in an election year.

Last month, Johnson notified Schumer that the House planned to send the impeachment articles on April 11. A spokesman for Schumer’s office said senators would be sworn in as jurors the next day.

Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, has spearheaded the members of his party looking to keep the impeachment trial in the public eye.

During a floor speech Monday, Lee said there has been an “invasion” at the southern border and Mayorkas has been in “blatant defiance” of federal law. Lee and the others have called for a full trial.

“The American people understand something is terribly wrong, and they expect us to act,” Lee said.

Lee and the other critics argued the Senate is duty-bound to hold a trial under the Constitution and can only dismiss charges against a sitting official if they die or resign.

Lee as well as Sens. John Kennedy, R-La., and Ted Cruz, R-Tex., introduced a series of resolutions last week laying out the procedure for a full impeachment trial or referring the allegations to a committee.

The Lee resolution would allow for more than a week of trial presentation, 16 hours of Senate questioning and an additional four hours of other arguments starting later this month.

A resolution from Cruz would establish a 12-member committee, six from each party, to handle the allegations and file a report on them within 90 days, allowing for a trial after that.

The group has announced a press conference Tuesday afternoon to discuss their plans for the floor this week.

Tillis told reporters Tuesday he would prefer a trial, but he also expects that the Democrats who control the chamber will be able to table the impeachment articles.

“I don’t think that that’s gonna be before us. I don’t believe we’re gonna have a trial. We’re gonna have a simple position to take on motion to table or not,” Tillis said.

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