Ossoff, Warnock join Democrats in dismissing Mayorkas impeachment charges

WASHINGTON — Senate Democrats quickly disposed of the two impeachment charges pending against Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas with little debate and no trial.

Georgia Sens. Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock joined fellow Democrats in deeming both impeachment articles unconstitutional on the grounds they failed to outline conduct that met the threshold of “high crimes and misdemeanors.”

All 51 Democrats voted in favor of deciding that both charges were unconstitutional. All but one Republican took the opposite stance. Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska voted “present” regarding whether the first article should be thrown out and voted “no” with GOP lawmakers on the second.

With the charges against Mayorkas tossed, he no longer faces the threat of immediate removal from office. But Republicans in both chambers made it clear they still consider the influx of immigrants at the southern border a huge issue for President Joe Biden and his administration.

Many of them said they were upset that Democrats dismissed the charges against Mayorkas so quickly without allowing time for them to outline their concerns.

“By doing what we just did, we have in effect ignored the directions of the House, which were to have a trial,” Republican Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky said after the Senate adjourned the impeachment trial. “No evidence; no procedure. This is a day that is not a proud day in the history of the Senate.”

Warnock said Republicans were not acting in good faith by calling for Mayorkas’ impeachment. He said GOP senators had refused to allow debate on a bipartisan border security package that had been introduced, effectively killing the legislation.

“This bill, which was negotiated by one of the most conservative members on their side along with our members, was negotiated and they tanked it,” Warnock said. “And instead, they moved forward with this impeachment hearing.”

The House, led by Republicans, impeached Mayorkas on two charges in February. He stood accused of “willful and systemic refusal to comply with the law” regarding federal immigration policy and “breach of public trust.”

U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Rome, was among the eight House members who delivered the articles of impeachment to the Senate on Tuesday after weeks of delays as it became clear that there was little appetite among senators for a lengthy trial or guilty verdict.