NATIONAL NEWS

House impeaches Alejandro Mayorkas, first Cabinet secretary to be impeached in almost 150 years

Feb 13, 2024, 5:46 PM

House Speaker Mike Johnson speaks as the GOP-led House has voted to impeach Homeland Security Secre...

House Speaker Mike Johnson speaks as the GOP-led House has voted to impeach Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas. He is the first Cabinet secretary to be impeached in nearly 150 years. (House TV)

(House TV)

(CNN) — The House, by a narrow margin, has voted to impeach Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, the first Cabinet secretary to be impeached in almost 150 years.

The result came one week after the stunning loss House Republicans suffered when they last tried to impeach Mayorkas and GOP defections and an absence sank the initial House floor vote.

Last week, the absence of House Majority Leader Steve Scalise, and the surprise attendance by Texas Democrat Al Green, who had just had surgery and was wheeled into the chamber to vote, denied Republicans a majority vote, leaving the vote deadlocked 215-215.

Given the narrow margins in the House, Republicans could only afford to lose a handful of votes depending on the number of members who are absent.

Only one Cabinet official has previously been impeached in American history: Secretary of War William Belknap in 1876.

The embarrassing initial defeat of the Mayorkas impeachment effort – which was quickly followed by another floor failure over a standalone Israel aid package – only crystalized the GOP’s yearlong struggle to govern amid a rambunctious and anemic majority. In the fallout of the failed impeachment vote, Republican lawmakers openly aired their frustrations and pointed fingers as to who is to blame, with some questioning their own leadership’s decision-making.

“I had many people reach out to me via text message and say, ‘What the hell are you guys doing up there?’ I think our base is a little frustrated,” GOP Rep. Troy Nehls of Texas told CNN. “We may have the gavel, but we’re not acting like we’re in the majority.”

“I was embarrassed for our conference, for our party, because we can do better than we did last night,” said GOP Rep. Lance Gooden of Texas.

The meltdown – just the latest in a long string of chaotic moments under this GOP majority – is raising fresh concerns over how Republicans will navigate the fast approaching government funding deadline and their ability to maintain control of the House after November.

“It was a lousy day. Two bad play calls back to back. Both active choices to schedule them. It was a huge mistake,” said GOP Rep. Patrick McHenry of North Carolina, an ally to former Speaker Kevin McCarthy. “The speaker is a very nice man,” he said of Speaker Mike Johnson, but added, “He’s gotta learn from his mistakes.”

The Department of Homeland Security said House Republicans should abandon “political games” following the failed effort to impeach Mayorkas.

“This baseless impeachment should never have moved forward; it faces bipartisan opposition and legal experts resoundingly say it is unconstitutional,” DHS spokesperson Mia Ehrenberg said in a statement.

Meanwhile White House spokesman Ian Sams called the failed impeachment vote a “baseless, unconstitutional impeachment stunt” and said there is “bipartisan agreement” that it should fail.

House Republicans claim Mayorkas has committed high crimes and misdemeanors for his handling of the southern border, even though several constitutional experts have said the evidence does not reach that high bar.

The impeachment effort comes as House Republicans have faced building pressure from their base to hold the Biden administration accountable on a key campaign issue: the border.

When presented with a bipartisan legislative solution negotiated with Senate Republicans however, GOP House members flatly rejected it, which contributed to the ultimate squashing of the deal.

Even if Mayorkas is impeached in the House, it is highly unlikely that he will be charged in the Democratic-controlled Senate. Senate Democrats are still weighing how to respond if Mayorkas is impeached: Move ahead with a trial, or move to dismiss it quickly given their view that it’s blatantly political.

While Republicans have been investigating Mayorkas’ handling of the border since they reclaimed the House majority, momentum to plot a swift impeachment of the secretary picked up steam last month as key swing-district Republicans expressed fresh openness to the idea amid a recent surge of migrant crossings at the southern border.

Mayorkas has sent a letter to House Republicans to defend his record in public service in advance of the vote.

“My reverence for law enforcement was instilled in me by my parents, who brought me to this country to escape the Communist takeover of Cuba and allow me the freedoms and opportunity that our democracy provides,” Mayorkas said.

Mayorkas wrote that “the problems with our broken and outdated immigration system are not new” and called on Congress to help provide a legislative solution to the “historically divisive issue.” He praised the bipartisan group of senators he has worked with for its willingness to put their differences aside to try to find solutions at the border.

Democrats on the Homeland Security Committee have repeatedly bashed their Republican colleagues for their efforts to impeach Mayorkas and have released a report calling the GOP effort “a sham.”

Instead of formally launching an impeachment inquiry with a House floor vote, the GOP effort to impeach Mayorkas has been unilaterally run through the Homeland Security Committee as opposed to the House Judiciary Committee, where impeachment articles typically originate, though it is not constitutionally required.

In the investigative phase, Homeland Security Committee Republicans held 10 hearings, published five interim reports and conducted 11 transcribed interviews with current and former Border Patrol agents. But since launching the inquiry, the GOP-led panel has held only two hearings and has decided to move forward with impeachment articles without giving the secretary an opportunity to testify.

Republicans invited Mayorkas to testify at an impeachment hearing on January 18. But the DHS secretary said he was hosting Mexican Cabinet members to discuss border enforcement, and he asked to work with the committee on scheduling a different date, according to a letter obtained by CNN.

KSL 5 TV Live

National News

Butler County, Pa. Sheriff Michael Slupe is pictured during an interview in Butler, Pa., Monday, Ju...

Mark Scolforo, Erick Tucker and Michael Kunzelman, The Associated Press

Signs of trouble at Trump rally were evident in minutes before gunman opened fire

BUTLER, Pa. (AP) — Signs of trouble were evident in the minutes before shots rang out at Donald Trump’s rally in Pennsylvania: Police had a report of a suspicious man pacing near the magnetometers and were apparently exchanging photos of the suspect. Witnesses pointed and shouted at an armed man on a nearby roof. When […]

2 hours ago

FILE - Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally, ...

Jill Colvin, Steve Peoples and Zeke Miller

Trump announces Vance as VP pick

Donald Trump is expected to announce his vice presidential pick on the first day of the Republican National Convention

6 hours ago

PARIS, FRANCE - JULY 14: Yannick Noah, French former tennis player, lights the Olympic Cauldron on ...

Angela Charlton

France’s Bastille Day parade meets the Olympic torch relay in an exceptional year

Paris hosted an extra-special guest for France’s national holiday Sunday. The Olympic torch relay joined up with thousands of troops marching in Paris beneath roaring fighter jets to mark Bastille Day.

7 hours ago

Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump speaks at a campaign event in Butle...

Eric Tucker

Federal judge dismisses Trump classified documents case over concerns with prosecutor’s appointment

Judge dismisses Trump classified documents case over concerns about legality of special counsel's appointment.

9 hours ago

A campaign rally site for Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump is empty ...

Michael Biesecker, Alanna Durkin Richer, Michael Balsamo and Jim Mustian

Authorities hunt for clues, but motive of man who tried to assassinate Donald Trump remains elusive

Investigators are hunting for any clues about what may have driven Thomas Matthew Crooks to try to assassinate former President Donald Trump.

10 hours ago

A color guard comprised of veterans rehearses ahead of the 2024 Republican National Convention, Sun...

Steve Peoples and Jill Colvin

Anger and anxiety loom over the Republican convention after the assassination attempt against Trump

Anger and anxiety loom as thousands of Donald Trump’s loyalists are gathering for the Republican National Convention.

11 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

young male technician is repairing a printer at office...

Les Olson

Unraveling the dilemma between leasing and buying office technology

Carefully weigh these pros and cons to make an informed decision that best suits your business growth and day-to-day operation. 

A kitchen in a modern farmhouse....

Lighting Design

A room-by-room lighting guide for your home

Bookmark this room-by-room lighting guide whenever you decide to upgrade your lighting or style a new home.

Photo courtesy of Artists of Ballet West...

Ballet West

The rising demand for ballet tickets: why they’re harder to get

Ballet West’s box office is experiencing demand they’ve never seen before, leaving many interested patrons unable to secure tickets they want.

Electrician repairing ceiling fan with lamps indoors...

Lighting Design

Stay cool this summer with ceiling fans

When used correctly, ceiling fans help circulate cool and warm air. They can also help you save on utilities.

Side view at diverse group of children sitting in row at school classroom and using laptops...

PC Laptops

5 internet safety tips for kids

Read these tips about internet safety for kids so that your children can use this tool for learning and discovery in positive ways.

Women hold card for scanning key card to access Photocopier Security system concept...

Les Olson

Why printer security should be top of mind for your business

Connected printers have vulnerable endpoints that are an easy target for cyber thieves. Protect your business with these tips.

House impeaches Alejandro Mayorkas, first Cabinet secretary to be impeached in almost 150 years