The Senate dismissed the charges against Mayorkas without a hearing

The Senate on Wednesday asked Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro N. The dismissal of the impeachment case against Mayorkas was a party-line vote ahead of his trial to clear two charges that accused him of failing to enforce immigration laws and violating the public trust.

In a vote of 51 to 48, with one senator voting, the first charge was ruled unconstitutional because it failed to meet the constitutional bar of a high crime or misdemeanor. Republicans were united in opposition except for Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, the only “present” vote, with Democrats unanimously in favor.

Mrs. Murkowski joined his party in voting against dismissing the second count on the same grounds; It fell along party lines in a 51-49 vote.

Senator Chuck Schumer, Democrat of New York and the majority leader, denied each charge, arguing that a cabinet member cannot be impeached and fired to carry out the policies of the administration he serves.

“Confirming this gross abuse of the church is a huge mistake and could set a dangerous precedent for the future,” Mr. Schumer said.

The Senate took only about three hours to drop the matter.

Republicans, for their part, warned that the Democrats had set a dangerous precedent by avoiding an impeachment hearing altogether, which they argued was a departure from the Senate's constitutional duty. They tried several times to delay impeachment and failed on party-line votes.

“The filing of articles of impeachment is unprecedented in the history of the Senate — it's that simple,” said Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the minority leader.

Former President Donald J. Mr. Trump said he voted in favor of a failed Republican effort in 2021 to dismiss a second impeachment case against Trump before a Senate hearing on the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol. McConnell did not specify.

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Republican Senators Mr. They were outraged by Schumer's ploy. Some accused him of disrespecting the Senate and the Constitution. Others pounded their desks as they called for the hearing to be delayed for two weeks, until next month or even after the November election. They are Mr. They accused Mayorkas of lying to Congress and obstructing Republican investigations.

Senator Mike Lee of Utah, visibly frustrated, rushed around the room trying to strategize with his fellow Republicans.

“The Mayorkas-Biden policies have led to the worst border crisis in American history,” said Senator John Thune of South Dakota, the No. 2 Republican in the chamber.

Mr. Mayorgas was the first cabinet member in American history to be impeached. Secretary of War William Belknap was impeached in 1876, but resigned minutes before the scheduled vote.

In addition to pursuing immigration policies that Republicans oppose, unlike Belknap, Mr. Mayorgas has not been charged with corruption or any other crime.

Democrats Mr. They condemned the impeachment against Mayorgas as illegal and politicized. Legal experts argued that the case against him was baseless, arguing that the charges against him did not rise to the level of indictable offences. But Republicans pressed ahead anyway with efforts to blame the secretary for President Biden's immigration policies, which they argued fueled a wave of illegal immigration.

The vote came after Republicans spent most of the day retaliating against the chaos at the US border with Mexico and blamed the Biden administration for it. Mr. Under Biden, crossings along the southern border have reached record highs. Republicans Mr. Schumer insisted on holding a hearing in which House impeachment managers would present their allegations.

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Failing to do so, Mr. McConnell said it would mean “running away from our basic responsibility and the stark reality of the record-breaking crisis on our southern border.”

On Wednesday, the Senate prepared to turn itself into an impeachment court, with senators taking the oath of office on the floor and beginning to sit at their desks. But they spent much of the afternoon haggling over whether to hold the hearing, and Democrats, who control the chamber, ultimately succeeded in trying to stop it before it got going.

After the first charge was dismissed, Mr. Lee got up on the floor and said angrily, “If this is not a high crime and a misdemeanor, what is?”

After the articles of impeachment were killed, Mr. Lee and fellow Republican senators took turns leveling accusations against the cabinet secretary, but spoke to a nearly empty Senate floor.

At a news conference after the vote, Mr. Schumer said he doesn't regret setting a precedent that charges can be dismissed without a trial. If future secretaries or presidents are sacked due to policy conflicts, those charges should also be dismissed, he said.

“The dangerous precedent is not for Republicans to talk, but to allow policy differences to take the place of impeachment,” Mr. Schumer said.

Mr. Mayorkas spent months ignoring the case and continuing to work. He negotiated a border security deal with both Senate Republicans and Democrats, which collapsed after Mr Trump opposed it.

Mr. Mayorkas spoke on Capitol Hill Tuesday about his agency's budget request, calling on Congress to give the department more resources to enforce border laws, hire more staff and pass legislation he negotiated.

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“Today's decision by the Senate to reject House Republicans' baseless attacks on Secretary Mayorgas demonstrates conclusively that there is no evidence or constitutional basis to justify the charges,” Department of Homeland Security spokeswoman Mia Ehrenberg said.

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