Senate Dismisses Mayorkas Impeachment, Declares Charges 'Unconstitutional'

Senate deliberates over Mayorkas' impeachment in heated session

by Zain ul Abedin
Senate Dismisses Mayorkas Impeachment, Declares Charges 'Unconstitutional'
© Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

On Wednesday, the Senate effectively ended the impeachment trial against Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, dismissing the charges as "unconstitutional." This decision came swiftly after a mere three hours of proceedings, underscoring the partisan divide with a 51-49 vote along party lines.

The focus of the impeachment was Secretary Mayorkas' management of immigration policies and border security, which have been the subjects of ongoing Republican critique. The rapid conclusion of the trial followed the ceremonial swearing-in of senators as jurors, pointing to a starkly divided Senate on the matter.

Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell expressed his concerns shortly after the decision. He lamented that the Senate had bypassed a significant constitutional process, stating, "By doing what we just did, we have in effect ignored the directions of the House which were to have a trial.

We had no evidence, no procedure. It is not a proud day in the history of the Senate." Conversely, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer defended the proceedings, criticizing the impeachment's lack of substance and politicization.

"What we saw today was a microcosm of this impeachment since day one: hollow, frivolous, political," Schumer argued. He highlighted the true 'dangerous precedent' as the misuse of impeachment for mere policy disagreements.

Contentious Impeachment Debate

This impeachment marks the first for a Cabinet secretary in nearly 150 years, with Mayorkas branding the allegations as "baseless" and "politically motivated." Despite the charges of willful neglect of immigration laws and breach of public trust, some Republicans and many Democrats dismissed them as mere policy disputes not meriting impeachment.

Debate over how to handle the impeachment was contentious. Schumer proposed a limited debate period before dismissing the charges, which Republicans immediately opposed. Missouri Senator Erich Schmitt vehemently objected, emphasizing the unprecedented nature of dismissing impeachment articles against a living individual who has not resigned.

In the midst of these tensions, Schumer pushed to dismiss the articles on the grounds that they did not meet the constitutional criteria for 'high crimes and misdemeanors.' Attempts by Republicans to defer or close the session were consistently blocked by Democrats, showcasing the deep ideological split.

Throughout the session, senators were visibly engaged, some distributing candy, others conversing in groups, illustrating the informal yet tense atmosphere. Meanwhile, Secretary Mayorkas was in New York addressing child exploitation issues, highlighting his continued focus on departmental duties amid the political storm.

The White House praised the Senate's decision, emphasizing the administration's commitment to national security and border solutions over what it termed "baseless political stunts."