Editorial: No debate about it: A fitting end to the ridiculous impeachment of Alejandro Mayorkas

The 49 Senate Republicans spent Wednesday afternoon furiously sputtering that they weren’t allowed to debate if Alejandro Mayorkas, the secretary of homeland security, duly and formally impeached by the House, should be tried in the upper chamber.

It’s their own fault, having blocked a chance to engage in several hours of debate, so they have nothing to complain about.

Under the normal workings of the Constitution’s impeachment provisions, the House, by a majority vote, impeaches (which means charging or indictment) the incumbent or former official in question and the Senate holds a trial, which requires a two-thirds majority for conviction.

But that is if the impeachment itself is valid and in the case of the Mayorkas, it is not. The Republicans and their puppet master, Donald Trump, are ginning up the machine against immigration and making Mayorkas their whipping boy for chaos at the border.

Forget that it was Trump who spoiled a bipartisan immigration bill that would have tightened up the border, the Republicans want their political disagreements with President Biden and Mayorkas to go the impeachment route (which also gets back at the Dems, who quite correctly impeached Trump twice).

But Trump and all other people previously impeached satisfied the Constitution’s rules, laid out in the last section of Article II: “The President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.”

Repeating: “Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.”

There is no evidence against Mayorkas on any of these grounds. There are policy differences absolutely, but no crimes. The reasonable solution would be for the Senate to just dismiss the phony impeachment and dispense with any trial.

Republicans sought either a trial before all 100 senators, as pushed by Sen. Mike Lee or, as Sen. Ted Cruz wanted, a special committee to conduct the trial, as has been done with some trials of impeached federal judges. So Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer offered the GOP a deal.

He agreed to an hour debate on the two GOP options. If they both failed, as was expected with the 51-49 Democratic control, Schumer then would make a motion to dismiss the first of the two articles of impeachment as not being constitutional. There would then be a one-hour debate on that. And then Schumer would move to dismiss the second article of impeachment, again with an hour for real debate.

Finally, Schumer would move to end the court of impeachment. Overall, it was three solid hours of debate about the Mayorkas case. But the Republicans said no, so Schumer went ahead to dismiss and all the Republicans could do was make a bunch of useless, nondebatable efforts to switch to executive session or table the measure or adjourn to April 30 or to May 1 or Nov. 6 (the day after Election Day). Each required a roll call vote.

And when their stalling ended, the two articles of impeachment were dismissed and then the court of impeachment was concluded. The nine GOP roll calls ate up about 90 minutes, which somehow the GOP thought was a better use of time than three hours of actual debate.