Mayorkas tells senators he never read articles of impeachment targeting him

Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said he never read the impeachment articles that sought to boot him from office — disclosing the detail the day after the Senate voted to dismiss the charges for failing to meet constitutional muster.

“Actually I have not read the articles of impeachment,” Mayorkas said before getting cut off during an exchange with Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah).

“Well I’d probably want to do that,” Romney retorted, “because it alleges that you did not follow the law of the United States of America, and either you or your counsel ought to read that to make sure you are following the law.”

The discussion came over a claim in the articles that asylum-seekers were being released en masse into the country, which Mayorkas asserted was false. Asylum-seekers undergo individual screenings to determine whether they have a credible fear of persecution, with those who pass that initial review allowed into the country to pursue the claim.

Mayorkas also faced some airing of grievances from Republican members of the Senate Homeland Security Committee who were upset the House’s impeachment push was considered with little discussion of the articles themselves.

That dynamic was assured when Republicans rejected an offer from Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) to briefly debate their merit, pushing instead to discuss them further.

“The Republican majority of the House has voted to impeach you for violating your oath of office. Whether you believe that is right or wrong, that has happened,” said Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.).

“Chuck Schumer decided to deny you the ability to defend yourself in a trial,” he added.

Scott posited that Schumer was “either acting out of pure political interest” or he was “terrified of exposing your failures to the degree that it would be extremely painful for Democrats to explain to the American public.”

The 20-page articles of impeachment against Mayorkas took a novel approach, saying he violated immigration law while also accusing him of “breach of public trust.”

The case was condemned by Democrats who said the accusations did not meet the standards of high crimes and misdemeanors prescribed by the Constitution, but it also faced conservative criticism. Three House members voted against the measure, saying their colleagues were politicizing policy disputes.

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