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ROUNDUP: MAGA House Republicans Send Baseless Articles of Impeachment For Secretary Mayorkas to the Floor at Trump’s Direction

Jan 31, 2024

Yesterday, in the dead of night when no one was watching, MAGA House Republicans voted to send articles of impeachment for Secretary of Homeland Security, Alejandro Mayorkas to the floor for a House vote. This impeachment is yet another pre-planned, predetermined political stunt played out by extreme MAGA Republicans at the behest of Donald Trump, fulfilling Homeland Security Committee chair Mark Green’s promise to donors that he would impeach the secretary back in April 2023. 

House Republicans are bringing chaos and instability to our government: kicking out their Speaker of the House, a baseless impeachment inquiry against President Biden, and now these impeachment articles are all wasting time and taxpayer money. The House GOP’s baseless, extreme, and harmful impeachment charades threaten our country’s democratic norms, and show that they’re more interested in playing politics rather than solving real problems. Despite a year’s worth of investigations, MAGA House Republicans have not been able to turn up a single shred of evidence worthy of impeaching the Secretary. Constitutional scholars, former Republican DHS Secretary Chertoff, and even the Republicans’ own impeachment witnesses all agree – House Republicans’ efforts to impeach Secretary Mayorkas are unconstitutional and politically motivated. Republicans don’t care about actually addressing issues at the border. They are only doing Donald Trump’s bidding,  trying to distract from the fact that they are failing to get anything done on the issues that actually matter.


The Wall Street Journal Editorial Board: Impeaching Mayorkas Achieves Nothing. “House Republicans are marking up articles of impeachment against Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, and the question is why? As much as we share the frustration with the Biden border mess, impeaching Mr. Mayorkas won’t change enforcement policy and is a bad precedent that will open the gates to more cabinet impeachments by both parties. […] These are failures of policy and execution, but are they impeachable offenses? That seems doubtful. The first article cites Mr. Mayorkas for refusing to implement a law that requires detention of aliens. It says his policy of ‘catch and release’ is impeachable. Yet the Supreme Court has not ruled that the Biden policies are illegal. The High Court in 2022 let the Biden Administration end Donald Trump’s Remain in Mexico policy, and last year it ruled 8-1 that states don’t necessarily have standing to challenge the federal government’s enforcement priorities. […] House Republicans dislike how the Administration is interpreting immigration law. But Congress has failed to reform asylum standards or humanitarian parole, or to otherwise tighten immigration rules. That’s why Senators are now negotiating over language to reform both the asylum standard and parole. If Congress holds Mr. Mayorkas impeachable for policy failure, what’s the limiting principle? Are his deputies also guilty of ‘high crimes’ for implementing the Biden immigration agenda? Career officials? How many GOP cabinet secretaries will the next Democratic House line up to impeach? Policy disputes are for the voting booth, not impeachment.” [The Wall Street Journal, 1/30/24]

The Hill (Opinion): Republicans Who Voted Against Impeaching Trump Should Not Vote To Impeach Mayorkas. “Now many of the same Republicans are seeking to impeach Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas on equally vague and unconstitutional grounds. Whatever else Mayorkas may or may not have done, he has not committed bribery, treason, or high crimes and misdemeanors. Indeed, most Republicans do not even claim that his actions or inactions meet these daunting constitutional standards, but they are prepared to apply a double standard based on partisan considerations.” [The Hill, 1/30/24]

MSNBC (Opinion): Rep. Dan Goldman: Mayorkas’ Impeachment ‘Investigation’ Is More Shameful Than It Looks. “As one senior congressional aide recently put it: ‘It’s very clear that a large group of Republicans in the Senate and the House no longer want to do border security. … Trump wouldn’t have his issue to run on. That’s what’s going on here: They don’t want to give up that issue.’ Keep in mind, that aide who so succinctly summed up the ongoing border legislation negotiations is a Republican, not a Democrat.” [MSNBC, 1/31/24]

CNN (Opinion): The GOP’s Ridiculous Move To Impeach Mayorkas. “Committee Chairman Mark Green, a Republican from Tennessee, said that the panel had ‘exhausted all other options to hold Secretary Mayorkas accountable’ and that ‘Congress must exercise its constitutional duty and impeach him.’ If the committee approves the articles of impeachment, the move would pave the way for a vote before the full House soon. While our broken immigration system is a serious matter, this impeachment push is not. There is no legitimate basis for impeaching Mayorkas, and House Republicans have not presented any evidence that he has violated the law. Instead, they are on the verge of abusing one of the most powerful mechanisms of government to score political points, potentially setting a dangerous precedent. The Constitution provides for the impeachment of a ‘federal officer’ for ‘treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors.’ It is this latter category on which Republicans base the case against Mayorkas. Their 20-page resolution laying out the grounds for impeachment reads like a laundry list of all the Biden administration immigration policies that Republicans don’t like, such as paroling large numbers of migrants into the country.” [CNN, 1/30/24]

MSNBC (Opinion): Mayorkas Impeachment Subverts Constitution Ahead Of Trump-Biden Rematch. “House Republicans have spent months searching unsuccessfully for a smoking gun in the Joe Biden impeachment investigation. Instead of admitting failure, they are now pivoting to another target in their frenzy to impeach anyone, no matter how baselessly: Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas. Both the Biden and Mayorkas impeachments are clearly not backed up by evidence. And both borrow from a House Freedom Caucus playbook of unmerited impeachment proceedings that dates to the failed 2016 impeachment of then-IRS Commissioner John Koskinen. What really concerns us, though, is the way these impeachments will both weaponize a key constitutional remedy and undermine its sober original intent. America needs impeachment to deal with the threat of future rogue presidents or other wayward government officials. Ahead of a potential Trump-Biden rematch, this is the worst possible time to turn the threat of impeachment into a partisan joke. It is bad enough that House Republicans appear to be torpedoing a proposed compromise on border security legislation. But they are now going further to placate the leader of their party. Donald Trump was impeached, and so they are bound and determined to impeach someone, anyone, in retaliation — no matter the lack of any constitutional basis. Biden was their initial target. On his first full day in office in 2021, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., introduced articles of impeachment based on nothing. And Republicans have been unsuccessfully trying to find any shred of ‘evidence’ ever since. The GOP has contemplated impeaching the president over the White House’s border policy (foreshadowing its focus on Mayorkas) and Biden’s family business dealings.” [MSNBC, 1/30/24


The Guardian: White House Asks ‘Is There Anyone House Republicans Won’t Impeach’ After Mayorkas Effort Moves Ahead. “In the wee hours of this morning, the Republican-controlled House homeland security committee approved the charges against Alejandro Mayorkas by a party line vote and sent them for consideration by the full chamber. House speaker Mike Johnson is expected to hold a vote on impeaching the homeland security chief at some point next week, though with a margin of just one seat (!) it’s going to be interesting to see if any GOP lawmakers defect from the effort. Even the charges are approved, the impeachment is headed for a trial in the Senate that will likely prove futile. Democrats control the chamber, and convicting Mayorkas of the ‘high crimes and misdemeanors’ he is accused of requires a two-thirds majority, which is likely unobtainable. […] …Republicans have talked about impeaching Joe Biden and various officials ever since he took office. ‘Is there anyone House Republicans won’t impeach?’ read an email from the White House press team this morning. We’ll be keeping an eye out for the latest on the impeachment, and the broader debate over immigration policy playing out in Congress.” [The Guardian, 1/31/24]

Mother Jones: A “Political Stunt”: House Republicans Move Forward With Impeachment of DHS Secretary Mayorkas. “House Republicans have taken another step towards their unprecedented efforts to impeach Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, who they blame for a migrant crisis at the US-Mexico border. […] Republicans have been scrambling to make an impeachment case that amounts to little more than policy disagreements. Today, Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) called the proceedings a ‘baseless political stunt’ by MAGA Republicans comparable to ‘throwing spaghetti at a wall and seeing what sticks.’ Several constitutional law experts and former DHS officials say the process is making a mockery of the powerful tool of impeachment. […] There’s yet another irony here. Mayorkas, who could potentially become the first cabinet secretary to be impeached since the 1800s, is being targeted for an alleged failure to secure ‘operational control’ of the border despite carrying out the very policies—including harsh restrictions on asylum at the southern border—that have opened up the Biden administration to criticism for not upholding its promises to fundamentally depart from Trump on immigration.” [Mother Jones, 1/31/24]

The Hill: Hispanic Groups Support Mayorkas Against Impeachment Despite Policy Disagreements. “A coalition of top Hispanic civil rights and advocacy groups reached out to congressional leaders on Tuesday in opposition to impeachment proceedings against Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas. In a letter to Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.), Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.), the 19 organizations called on Congress to redirect its efforts toward a true immigration reform package. ‘While we, too, have serious concerns about the challenges at our southern border and our immigration system as a whole, this does not warrant unfair and politically driven efforts to remove one of the highest-ranking Latinos in government, a member of the President’s Cabinet, and a longtime public servant who works to fulfill his oath of office in an exceedingly complex and polarized environment,’ they wrote. Hispanic and immigrant advocacy groups have been among the most strident critics of the Biden administration’s immigration and border security policies, a majority of which have been implemented by Mayorkas and his Department of Homeland Security (DHS).” [The Hill, 1/30/24]

CBS Miami: Group Of Prominent South Florida Cuban Americans Support Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas. “‘Many of us believe that this is more of a political statement,’ said former Miami-Dade Mayor Alex Penelas. Penelas along with health care mogul Mike Fernandez and former Republican Party Chairman Al Cardenas are among a group of South Florida Cuban Americans included as cosigners of a letter urging Congress to drop efforts of impeachment. ‘The letter was meant to call upon members of Congress to see the secretary as an ally in this effort to secure our borders, not as an enemy,’ said Penelas. […] In the letter, the Cuban American group described Mayorkas as ‘the son of a Holocaust survivor, he and his family emigrated from Cuba to America for a better life. We are confident that, like us, he shares a deep and abiding love for the country that has given him so much, evidenced by his choice to dedicate his life to public service in return for the opportunities America has offered him.’ Mayorkas did not testify during the impeachment proceedings and Penelas believes if this were not a presidential election year, the whole proceeding would not have any relevance. ‘The reality is, even if he were to be impeached by the House it is unlikely the Senate will try him. If they try him it is unlikely he will be found guilty,’ said Penelas.” [CBS Miami, 1/31/24]

The Washington Post: The Mayorkas Impeachment Push Is A Dry Run For Targeting Biden. Here’s How. “We are about nine months from the November presidential election, and it is very clear that Republicans seek to use immigration and the border as a central element of their campaigning. That’s manifested in several ways, including more subtle ones. On Monday, for example, House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) insisted on social media that the country’s border policies must result in ‘ZERO’ illegal crossings into the United States. This is not practicable; barring the conversion of every means of entering the country — by land, boat or air — into high-security-prison-style barriers, there will be times that people enter the country without authorization. And people still circumvent prison barriers. […] The result is that, on Tuesday, the Republican-led House Homeland Security Committee held a markup on articles of impeachment targeting Mayorkas. It draws the House nearer to impeachment and a chit to include in campaign mailers — though certainly no closer to Johnson’s goal of zero illegal entries. We should also consider this effort, though, outside of the context of Mayorkas himself. This impeachment effort is, in substance and practice, a dry run for targeting Biden. […] All of this is instructive. The House may well impeach Mayorkas though there’s zero chance that the Senate would vote to remove him. It will allow Republicans to tell constituents that they’re taking action on immigration and against Biden. But it would also establish acceptance of a framework for targeting Biden: bad argumentation, incomplete evidence, political utility. In each case, even the Republicans’ allies note the lack of ‘high crimes and misdemeanors.’ ‘I want to be clear: This is not political theater,’ Rep. Michael Guest (R-Miss.) insisted during Tuesday’s markup of the articles of impeachment. Good. The baseline we should accept for political theater is ZERO. That, too, is unattainable.” [The Washington Post, 1/30/24]

The Daily Beast: GOP Blames Biden for Border Crisis That GOP Refuses to Solve. “As economic concerns like inflation subside, Republicans are looking for a new 2024 message they can ride to the White House and back into unified control of Congress. And the GOP increasingly seems to be settling on a familiar line of attack for an issue that isn’t going away: immigration. An influx of illegal border crossings has prompted Republicans to characterize Democrats and President Joe Biden as weak on border security, arguing that only hardline GOP solutions can fix the problem. There’s just one wrinkle in that narrative: It’s Democrats who suddenly want to address the border—and it’s Republicans who are willing to let the problems fester. Chief among those Republicans is former President Donald Trump. Trump has said ‘a bad border deal is far worse than no border deal,’ and he’s advocated for Republicans to ‘only make a deal that is PERFECT ON THE BORDER.’ ‘I do not think we should do a Border Deal, at all, unless we get EVERYTHING needed to shut down the INVASION of Millions & Millions of people,’ Trump said on Truth Social earlier this month. And just in case it wasn’t already clear how much politics was playing into Trump’s assessment, he said the quiet part out loud, too. ‘A Border Deal now would be another Gift to the Radical Left Democrats,’ Trump said on Truth Social last week. ‘They need it politically.’ It’s rare to see politicians be so nakedly political about not wanting to address an issue. (Trump, of course, is one of the few politicians who consistently gets away with it.) But Republicans in Congress aren’t being much subtler as they argue against a border compromise emerging from the Senate.” [The Daily Beast, 1/31/24]

The Hill: Split-Screen Of Mayorkas Impeachment, Border Bill Frustrates Senate GOP. “Frustration is mounting for Senate Republicans over the House GOP’s dual push to impeach Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas while trying to kill the bipartisan border bill, a split-screen they believe is colored by presidential election politics. Senators are hopeful the bipartisan border deal will be released this week after months of negotiations, but the chances it could pass have taken a major hit in recent days. Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) has repeatedly indicated the bill may die a quick death in the House if it passes the Senate. In the meantime, House Republicans are motoring toward impeaching Mayorkas after the House Homeland Security Committee met all day Tuesday on the articles of impeachment. Rank-and-file House GOP members have set their sights on impeaching him for months even though it will almost certainly not result in a Senate conviction. ‘In many respects, there’s a parallel. If they’re torpedoing a bill whose contents they haven’t seen yet, it’s very similar to targeting a member of the administration without doing their homework to find precisely why he should be impeached. I don’t agree with it, but at least they’re consistent,’ Sen. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.) quipped. ‘They’re taking a fast track to condemning something they know nothing about, and they’re taking a fast track to using impeachment without doing their homework,’ he continued. ‘People are cutting corners and not doing their homework.’” [The Hill, 1/31/24]

The Hill: GOP’s Mayorkas Impeachment Articles Come Under Microscope. “House Republicans’ novel approach for impeaching Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas is earning criticism from the left and even the right, who argue the GOP is falling short of the constitutional standards to remove a Cabinet official from their post. Articles set to be marked up by the House Homeland Security Committee on Tuesday accuse Mayorkas of failing to follow immigration laws — pointing to detention standards that have never been met under any administration, including during the Trump era. […] Others see small and large issues with the case, from its failure to identify a crime to in some cases including incorrect information, such as accusing Mayorkas of terminating agreements with Latin Americans governments that were actually suspended by Secretary of State Antony Blinken. […] Conservative commentator and legal expert Jonathan Turley said Monday: ‘I just don’t believe that they have a cognizable basis here for impeachment.’” [The Hill, 1/30/24

ABC News: Former Homeland Security Secretary Defends Mayorkas Amid Impeachment Push. “In an interview with ABC News Live anchor Kyra Phillips on Tuesday, Michael Chertoff characterized the impeachment probe against Mayorkas as ‘a disagreement about policy.’ Chertoff, who ran the Department of Homeland Security from 2004 to 2009 under then-President George W. Bush, said there was ‘grim irony’ in House Republicans attacking Mayorkas for his handling of the southern border when the secretary has actively been advocating for higher congressional funding to confront the issue — something conservatives say must be accompanied with sweeping immigration changes. ‘At the same time they won’t give Secretary Mayorkas tools to increase his ability to control the border, they’re complaining that therefore he should be impeached, and that really is, almost by definition, a comedy,’ Chertoff told ABC News. Chertoff published an op-ed in The Wall Street Journal on Sunday in which he urged against an impeachment. ‘I can say with confidence that, for all the investigating that the House Committee on Homeland Security has done, they have failed to put forth evidence that meets the bar [for impeachable offenses],’ he wrote.” [ABC News, 1/30/24]

CNN: House Republicans Move Closer To Rare Move Of Impeaching DHS Secretary Mayorkas. But a variety of legal scholars have poured cold water on the legal arguments Republicans are using to support their impeachment effort. Ross Garber, a Tulane law professor who has represented many Republican officeholders as both the prosecution and defense in impeachment cases, told CNN that House Republicans have not presented evidence of impeachable offenses. ‘I think that what the House Republicans are asserting is that Secretary Mayorkas is guilty of maladministration,’ Garber said. ‘At least as framed right now, the charges don’t rise to the level of a high crime or misdemeanor.’ Former DHS Secretary Michael Chertoff, who served under Republican President George W. Bush, wrote in a recent op-ed, ‘as a former federal judge, U.S. attorney and assistant attorney general — I can say with confidence that, for all the investigating that the House Committee on Homeland Security has done, they have failed to put forth evidence that meets the bar.’ Constitutional law expert Jonathan Turley, who has been called by Republicans to serve as a witness in hearings, said, ‘There is no current evidence he is corrupt or committed an impeachable offense,’ and 25 law professors wrote in an open letter that impeaching Mayorkas would be ‘utterly unjustified as a matter of constitutional law.’” [CNN, 1/30/24]

ABC News: DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas Calls Impeachment Against Him ‘Baseless’. “Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas called the impeachment proceedings against him ‘baseless’ and the accusations made against him by the Homeland Security Committee ‘false.’ […] The House Homeland Security Committee is set to vote on whether to send articles of impeachment to the House floor for a vote. It is likely to pass despite no proof there were high crimes and misdemeanors — the usual bar for impeachment. […] Sec. Mayorkas called on Congress to get a legislative fix done at the border and said he has been working with the Senate to get it done. ‘I have been privileged to join a bipartisan group of United States Senators these past several months to provide technical and operational expertise in support of their efforts to strengthen our country’s border security,’ he said. ‘These efforts would yield significant new enforcement tools and make a substantial difference at our border.’ Mayorkas said he is hopeful that the deal gets done and that he can deliver more resources for border patrol agents in the field to better protect the border.” [ABC News, 1/30/24]