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US Senate seen swiftly ending impeachment of Biden's top border official

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LA Post: US Senate seen swiftly ending impeachment of Biden's top border official
April 16, 2024
Richard Cowan - Reuters

By Richard Cowan

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Republican-controlled U.S. House of Representatives on Tuesday is expected to hand off its impeachment of President Joe Biden's top border security official to the Democratic-majority Senate, which is expected to bring it to a swift end.

More than two months have passed since the House voted by a razor-thin margin to impeach Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, who Republicans accuse of failing to enforce U.S. border laws and lying to Congress amid record-setting levels of illegal immigration.

Top Senate Democrat Chuck Schumer is expected to quickly bring an end to the matter, which Democrats say is a politically motivated misuse of the impeachment process, though doing so will draw protests from Republican lawmakers.

Some lawmakers also argue the matter is a poor use of time as Congress confronts global worries including the risk of the Israel-Gaza war possibly turning into a regional conflict and Russia gaining ground in its war against Ukraine.

Mayorkas, a former federal prosecutor, denies the House charges, Biden is standing behind him, and even some Republicans have said they see no illegal activities to back up the House allegations.

While many Republicans accuse Mayorkas of creating a "crisis" they say jeopardizes national security due to record numbers of migrants arriving at the southern U.S. border with Mexico, the House has been in no rush to actually deliver its impeachment papers to the Senate.

Biden's election rival, Republican former President Donald Trump, has made immigration a key focus of his campaign and earlier this year helped torpedo a bipartisan Senate border bill that would have toughened enforcement.

On Friday, he put forth a legislative proposal trying to link conditions at the border to his longstanding false claim that his 2020 defeat to Biden was the result of fraud.

"Impeachment should never be used to settle a policy disagreement," Schumer said in a Monday speech. "That would set a horrible precedent for the Congress."

The Senate will "address this issue as expeditiously as possible," Schumer added.

With some Senate Republicans fuming over Schumer's anticipated move for a dismissal of the case without a trial, they have been staging procedural hurdles against even routine actions that keep the chamber operating efficiently.

Last Thursday, for only the seventh time in 35 years, they insisted on a time-consuming roll-call vote to merely allow the Senate to recess for a long weekend.

Republican Senator John Cornyn on Monday said talk circulating in the Senate of dismissing the case was "alarming."

"Republicans will use every tool available to us to try to force a full trial," he warned.

Mayorkas is only the second presidential Cabinet official facing firing as the result of impeachment. The last time was in 1876.

(Reporting by Richard Cowan; editing by Scott Malone and Bill Berkrot)

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