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Senate leaders haggle over Mayorkas impeachment deal as trial begins

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House managers delivered the articles of impeachment against Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas to the Senate on Tuesday. Senate leaders are discussing what happens next.

While many senators expected Democratic leadership would quickly dispose of the trial through a motion to table or dismissal, which only require a simple majority to pass, a number of vulnerable Senate Democrats haven’t publicly committed to supporting those options. Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.) has been the most watched vote on the matter, as he insists he needs to review the articles before he makes a decision after previously saying he’d support a motion to dismiss.

Utah Sen. Mitt Romney, a Republican who has been critical of the impeachment, said Tuesday he wants to see the Senate consider the trial and debate it before disposing of the trial. To that end, senators are weighing an agreement that would allow a few hours of debate before proceeding to a vote to potentially dismiss or table the trial, according to Sen. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.). The deal is not yet final.

“If the expected agreement or offer comes across, my understanding is there’s going to be some amount of debate, a couple of hours,” Tillis said. The senator added that a vote to dismiss or table the trial could come shortly after that debate as part of the deal.

Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.) said he doesn’t think talks on how to proceed on the trial are “fully resolved” yet but that there is “positive movement.”

When Tester sat down in the Senate chamber, he motioned to reporters in the gallery that he was indeed reading the copy of the impeachment articles that was on his desk, taking out his reading glasses and waving them around.

Most Republicans were at their seats as Rep. Mark Green (R-Tenn.), an impeachment manager, read the articles aloud, though there were clear absences on the Democratic side. Romney and Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah), a conservative who has repeatedly called for a longer trial, appeared to annotate their copies of the articles.

Senators will reconvene Wednesday afternoon and be sworn in as jurors — and that’s when parliamentary shenanigans could ensue. Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has repeatedly declined to publicly share his plans for the trial aside from wanting to deal with it “expeditiously.”

Katherine Tully-McManus contributed to this report.