Schumer: Mayorkas impeachment ‘awful precedent,’ ‘abuse of process’

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) on Tuesday accused House Republicans of impeaching Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas over “policy disagreements,” warning that it sets an “awful precedent for Congress.”

“Impeachment should never be used to settle a policy disagreement. Talk about awful precedence — this would set an awful precedent for Congress,” Schumer said on the Senate floor.

“Every time there’s a policy disagreement in the House, they send it over here to tie the Senate in knots to do an impeachment trial? That’s absurd. That’s an abuse of the process,” he said.

Schumer announced to colleagues that the House impeachment managers will deliver the two charges against Mayorkas to the Senate on Tuesday afternoon and asked them to be seated at their desks to formally accept the articles.

He said senators will be sworn in as jurors Wednesday and Senate President Pro Tempore Patty Murray (D-Wash.) will preside over the chamber while it processes the articles of impeachment, but he didn’t provide much detail about the path forward.

“We want to address this issue as expeditiously as possible,” he said, reiterating a line he has used repeatedly when asked how the Senate will handle the charges.

Republicans say they expect Schumer to hold a vote to immediately dismiss the impeachment charges sometime Wednesday to skip a trial on the floor, or to refer the matter to a special committee.

A motion to dismiss would need only a simple majority to pass. Several Democrats facing tough reelections or representing swing states, such as Sens. Jon Tester (Mont.), Tammy Baldwin (Wis.) and Catherine Cortez Masto (Nev.), have declined to say how they would vote.

And several moderate Republicans, including Sens. Susan Collins (Maine), Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) and Mitt Romney (Utah), have questioned whether House prosecutors have produced compelling evidence that Mayorkas committed any crime.

Collins, Murkowski and Romney did not sign a letter backed by 43 other GOP senators calling on Schumer to hold a full trial.

The articles accusing Mayorkas of “willful and systemic refusal to comply with the law” and “breach of public trust” have been pending since the House approved the punishment in a 214-213 vote in February.

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) said Tuesday the impeachment charges must be “taken seriously.”

“The Senate will be called for just the 19th time in our history to rule on the impeachment of a senior official of our government,” he noted.

He pointed out that Customs and Border Protection has recorded more than 7.5 million illegal crossings since President Biden took office in January 2021.

“The House managers will make the case for Secretary Mayorkas’s role in neglecting and exacerbating that crisis,” he said. “I intend to give these charge my full and undivided attention.”

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