House Democrats are ramping up their criticism of a GOP-led effort to impeach Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas ahead of next week’s committee vote.
Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.), the top Democrat on the Homeland Security panel, sent a letter to Committee Chair Mark Green (R-Tenn.), accusing him of breaking House precedent and denying Mayorkas due process as the chair moved toward marking up articles of impeachment.
The letter, obtained exclusively by POLITICO, underscores how Democrats are likely to respond during next week’s committee vote and as Republicans move toward a floor vote as soon as the week of Feb. 5, on what would be a historic recommendation to oust a Cabinet secretary.
Read the full letter.
“This unserious impeachment is a testament to partisan politics over rules and reason,” Thompson wrote.
“Given the grave importance of impeachment — which you once described as ‘probably the most extreme remedy that our constitution affords for taking someone out of office’ — this Committee should do better. At the very least, it should follow the rules and practices established over more than two centuries of congressional history,” he added.
Thompson, in his letter, laid out several points of contention, including the House not formally authorizing an impeachment inquiry into Mayorkas. Instead, the House voted last year to send an impeachment resolution from Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) to Green’s committee, which had been doing a months-long investigation into Mayorkas and his handling of the border.
Thompson also accused Republicans, among other things, of violating ethics rules, denying Mayokras the chance to testify and denying Democrats’ hearing request.
Republicans and DHS have gone back-and-forth over Mayorkas’ testimony. Green has accused the secretary of refusing to testify as part of the impeachment investigation and also asked him to submit written testimony as a backup. A DHS spokesperson said earlier this month that Mayorkas had offered to testify publicly, but “the Committee failed to respond to DHS to find a mutually agreeable date.”
The committee is expected to vote to impeach Mayorkas along party lines next week after every Republican on the panel released a joint statement backing the step. Republicans will then need to work over a handful of skeptical members within their own ranks, given their razor-thin, two-vote majority on the floor.
“After our nearly year-long investigation and subsequent impeachment proceedings, and having exhausted all other options to hold him accountable, it is unmistakably clear to all of us — and to the American people — that Congress must exercise its constitutional duty and impeach Secretary Mayorkas,” Republicans on the panel said in a joint statement.