Republicans ready to take second swing at Mayorkas impeachment

Republicans ready to take second swing at Mayorkas impeachment

Republicans ready to take second swing at Mayorkas impeachment

WASHINGTON — Having failed to impeach Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas the first time, House Republicans are determined to try again Tuesday, but it's not at all certain the do-over vote will produce a different result.

A twofold purpose

Robert Knight Knight

"I think the House Speaker [Mike Johnson] is holding these votes for two reasons. One is to hold Alejandro Mayorkas accountable for his lack of enforcement at the border [and] his lying about it. You've got to have that out on public record."

"[And] when you look at the vote, you see all the Democrats lining up to defend a proven liar who has violated his oath of office and committed the great crime of allowing an invasion of our country – and you see who's okay with that. I think that's very educational. So, this has purpose.

"And don't let anybody fool you that you should never have a vote unless you're sure of winning it. The Democrats often will stage votes on issues they care about just so it puts people on the record."

Robert Knight, columnist
The Washington Times
(in an interview with AFN)

The evening vote is expected to be tight with Speaker Mike Johnson's threadbare GOP majority unable to handle many defectors or absences in the face of staunch Democratic opposition to impeaching Mayorkas, the first Cabinet secretary facing charges in nearly 150 years.

Despite the expected arrival of Majority Leader Steve Scalise, who will bolster the GOP numbers after being away from Washington for cancer care, even one other missing or weather-delayed lawmaker could imperil the Mayorkas impeachment. If the vote pushes later into the week, the outcome of Tuesday's special election in New York to replace ousted Rep. George Santos could tip the balance further.

Johnson posted a fists-clenched photo with Scalise, announcing his remission from cancer, saying, “looking forward to having him back in the trenches this week!”

The GOP effort to impeach Mayorkas comes as border security has shot to the top of campaign issues, with Donald Trump, the Republican front-runner for the presidential nomination, insisting he will launch “the largest domestic deportation operation in American history” on day one if he retakes the White House.

“We have no choice,” Trump said at a rally in South Carolina.

If the House succeeds in impeaching Mayorkas, the charges against him would go to the Senate for a trial, but neither Democratic nor Republican senators have shown interest in the matter and it may be indefinitely shelved to a committee.

After a months-long investigation, the House Homeland Security Committee filed two articles of impeachment against Mayorkas — arguing that he “willfully and systematically” refused to enforce existing immigration laws and that he breached the public trust by lying to Congress and saying the border was secure.

Never before has a sitting Cabinet secretary been impeached, and it was nearly 150 years ago that the House voted to impeach President Ulysses S. Grant's secretary of war, William Belknap, over a kickback scheme in government contracts. He resigned moments before the vote.

Mayorkas, who did not appear to testify before the impeachment proceedings, put the border crisis squarely on Congress for failing to update immigration laws during a time of global migration.

“There is no question that we have a challenge, a crisis at the border,” Mayorkas said over the weekend on NBC. “And there is no question that Congress needs to fix it.”

Johnson and the Republicans have pushed back, arguing that the Biden administration could take executive actions, as Trump did, to stop the number of crossings — though the courts have questioned and turned back some of those efforts.

“We always explore what options are available to us that are permissible under the law,” Mayorkas said in the interview.

Last week's failed vote to impeach Mayorkas — a surprise outcome rarely seen on such a high-profile issue — was a stunning display in the chamber that has been churning through months of GOP chaos since the ouster of the previous House speaker.

As the clock ticked down, three Republicans opposed impeaching Mayorkas, leaving the tally at razor's edge. With a 219-212 majority and Scalise absent, Johnson had just a few votes to spare.

One Democrat, Rep, Al Green of Texas, who had been hospitalized for emergency abdominal surgery, made a surprise arrival, wheeled into the chamber in scrubs and socks to vote against it — leaving the vote tied.

One of the Republican holdouts, Rep. Mike Gallagher of Wisconsin, who had served as a Marine and is now a committee chairman, was quickly encircled by colleagues, including the impeachment's chief sponsor, Georgia's Greene. He refused to change his vote.