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Mayorkas impeachment trial process begins, Schumer expected to dismiss charges

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(The Center Square) – After calls by his Republican colleagues to hold a public impeachment trial of DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., indicated he would move to dismiss the charges.

All 100 U.S. senators came to the floor on Wednesday to be sworn in as jurors in the impeachment trial of Mayorkas after the Senate received two articles of impeachment from the House yesterday.

In a statement before the Senate, Schumer said, “Today, a trial will commence, and we will be in our seats as jurors for the third time in four years. But this time, senators will provide as jurors in the least legitimate, least substantive and most politicized impeachment trial ever in the history of the United States.”

“The charges brought against Secretary Mayorkas failed to meet the high standard of high crimes and misdemeanors,” he continued. “To validate this gross abuse by the House would be a grave mistake and could set a dangerous precedent for the future. For the sake of the Senate’s integrity and to protect impeachment for those rare cases that truly need it, senators should dismiss today’s charges.”

He said they would convene “to accommodate the wishes of our republican Senate colleagues” and agree to a period for a debate. Republicans will also be allowed to offer a vote on trial resolutions or points of order, he said.

Then, he said, he would move to dismiss the charges.

“Let’s not kid ourselves about what’s going on,” he continued. “The impeachment of Alejandro Mayorkas has nothing to do with high crimes and misdemeanors and everything to do with helping Donald Trump on the campaign trail.

“Secretary Mayorkas has not been accused of treason or accepting bribes or unlawfully attacking our elections or anything of the sort. He has not been accused of criminal wrongdoing,” Schumer said, contradicting claims made by Senate and House Republicans who support removing Mayorkas from office.

.@SenSchumer on impeachment trial on DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas: “For the sake of the Senate’s integrity and to protect impeachment for those rare cases we truly need it, senators should dismiss today’s charges.” pic.twitter.com/sB1HG2HJqW— CSPAN (@cspan) April 17, 2024

The Republican-led House impeached Mayorkas on Feb. 13 on two counts, for “Willful and Systemic Refusal to Comply with the Law” and “Breach of the Public Trust.” In a House Committee on Homeland Security hearing on Tuesday, its chairman repeated the claims in the articles of impeachment, saying Mayorkas “knowingly made false statements, and knowingly obstructed lawful oversight of the Department of Homeland Security,” which is why he was impeached.

Mayorkas, the first sitting cabinet member to be impeached in U.S. history, denies the charges saying they are “baseless” and “politically motivated.”

Schumer said the impeachment process used against Mayorkas “is an illegitimate and profane abuse of the U.S. Constitution. The framers were clear: impeachment should never be used to settle policy disagreements.

“If our House Republicans want to have a debate about the border, Democrats are glad to have it. But instead of wasting time on impeachment we should debate bipartisan legislation to secure our border once and for all.”

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said, “tabling the articles of impeachment would be unprecedented in the history of the Senate. It’s just simple as that. Tabling would mean declining to discharge our duties as jurors. It would mean running both from our fundamental responsibility and from the glaring truth of the record-breaking crisis at our southern border.”

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, has argued that the Senate has a constitutional obligation to hold a full trial. If it doesn’t, Senate Democrats will have “effectively eliminated the Senate’s power of impeachment any time the Senate is the same party as the president.”

Sen. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., has argued that Schumer is the one who is “playing politics” because “he has members that are very likely going to lose their seats and he does not want them to have to take a vote on this. He also knows that the border and the lack of border security is the number one issue with the American people.”

She has also quoted statements Schumer made about the necessity to hold Trump impeachment trials, saying he “fully realizes this is our constitutional duty … to hold a trial. But he is so power hungry the only thing he can focus on is the November elections.”

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