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House Republicans Fail To Impeach Homeland Security Secretary

House Republicans on Tuesday narrowly failed to impeach the homeland security secretary, Alejandro Mayorkas, a possibly only temporary setback for the majority’s deeply partisan effort to punish a cabinet official in a presidential election year. In a vote of 216-214, four Republicans joined all Democrats in opposing the two articles of impeachment against the secretary, The Guardian reports. Democrats assailed the impeachment case against Mayorkas as a “bunch of garbage” designed to boost Donald Trump’s electoral prospects in the November election. In a sign that Tuesday’s defeat may only be temporary, the Republican congressman Blake Moore of Utah, who supports the impeachment effort, switched his yes vote to a no in a procedural move that would allow the motion to be brought up to the floor again at a later date. Constitutional scholars and legal experts have argued that Republicans’ case against Mayorkas amounts to a policy dispute over a Democratic president’s handling of US border policy.


Republicans sought to impeach Mayorkas on charges that he willfully refused to enforce immigration law, resulting in record levels of migration at the US’s southern border, and “breached the public trust” by his actions. In their rush to impeach Mayorkas, Republicans overrode the objections of Democrats and legal experts, who say they failed to produce compelling evidence that the cabinet secretary had committed high crimes and misdemeanors, the constitution’s bar for impeachment. Republicans leveled broad accusations that Mayorkas had mismanaged oversight of the US-Mexico border, where arrests for illegal crossings have reached record highs. Democrats, meanwhile, accused Republicans of abusing the impeachment process to attack Joe Biden’s handling of the border ahead of an election in which immigration could play a key role. Three former secretaries of the Department of Homeland Security, including Michael Chertoff, who served under George W Bush, and Janet Napolitano and Jeh Johnson, who served under Barack Obama, said in a letter released before Tuesday’s vote that impeaching a cabinet official over “political disagreements” would “jeopardize our national security."

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A daily report co-sponsored by Arizona State University, Criminal Justice Journalists, and the National Criminal Justice Association

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