Johnson to formally hand Mayorkas impeachment articles to Senate, urges trial 'expeditiously'

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The Senate is going to receive articles of impeachment against Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas next month, House Speaker Mike Johnson, R-La., told Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., on Thursday.

Johnson sent a letter to Schumer informing him that House impeachment managers will send the impeachment articles to his chamber on April 10, and urged him to hold a trial “expeditiously.”

“As Speaker and impeachment managers of the U.S. House of Representatives, we write to inform you that we will present to you upon the Senate’s return, on April 10, 2024, the duly passed articles of impeachment regarding Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas. We urge you to schedule a trial of the matter expeditiously,” Johnson wrote alongside the 11 Republicans selected as impeachment managers.

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The House impeached Mayorkas last month on two counts, accusing him of failing to comply with and enforce existing law, along with a breach of public trust.

“Throughout his tenure, he has repeatedly lied to Congress and the American people about the scope of the crisis and his role in it. His unlawful actions are responsible for the historic crisis that has devastated communities throughout our country, from the smallest border town in Texas to New York City,” Johnson wrote. “The constitutional grounds for Secretary Mayorkas’ conviction and removal from office are well-founded, and the historical record is clear.”

Once the articles are formally handed off, the Senate must act on them swiftly. 

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Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer

Schumer has not said what he would do, but his public criticism of the impeachment effort suggests it’s very possible that he’ll move to dismiss the trial. A simple 51-vote majority would be needed for that to occur.

Senate Republicans, on the other hand, have called for Schumer to go through with the proceedings – though it’s highly unlikely it will result in a conviction.

“The Senate should conduct an impeachment trial of Secretary Mayorkas and examine the full extent of this crisis in front of the American people,” Senate Minority Whip John Thune, R-S.D., said publicly earlier this month.

All but three House Republicans voted to impeach Mayorkas last month over his handling of the U.S. southern border. It was the first time since 1876 that a cabinet secretary had been impeached. 

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House GOP leaders delayed sending the articles over to the Senate for several weeks, however, amid intense negotiations over how to fund the government for the remainder of fiscal year 2024.

Johnson confronted questions about the delay during the House GOP’s annual retreat earlier this month, telling reporters, “The reason for it is because we’re in the middle of funding the government in the appropriations process, and the way the procedure works is, once the articles of impeachment are transmitted to the Senate, they have a short window within which to process them. So we didn’t want to interrupt the Senate and their floor time and their deliberation on appropriations, because we would risk shutting the government down.”

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