Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas may become the first Cabinet member to be impeached in 1876 after the House Homeland Security Committee voted early Wednesday morning to send two articles of impeachment against him to the full House.
The committee approved the articles in an 18-to-15 vote along party lines, CBS News reported, citing “willful and systemic refusal to comply with the law” and “breach of public trust” in the secretary’s approach to the border crisis.
The full House is expected to take up the issue next week.
“We cannot allow this man to remain in office any longer,” committee chair Mark Green of Tennessee told CBS. “The time for accountability is now.”
House Democrats, unsurprisingly, called the Republican-led effort to impeach Mayorkas a “sham.”
“Neither of the impeachment charges the committee will consider today are a high crime or misdemeanor,” said committee ranking member Bennie Thompson of Mississippi, according to CBS.
He said the “impeachment scheme is a dangerous attempt to distort the Constitution,” Axios reported.
In an Tuesday Op-Ed for The Hill published titled “Republicans who voted against impeaching Trump should not vote to impeach Mayorkas,” Dershowitz argued that, just as Trump had not been charged with “treason, bribery, and other high crimes or misdemeanors,” as the Constitution specifies for impeachment, so the current impeachment proceedings were based on “equally vague and unconstitutional grounds.”
“Whatever else Mayorkas may or may not have done, he has not committed bribery, treason, or high crimes and misdemeanors,” he wrote, accusing some Republicans of being ready to apply a “double standard” because they dislike the Biden administration’s policies.
He also noted — as did both CBS and Axios in their reports — that Mayorkas would not be convicted in the Democrat-controlled Senate and would therefore remain in his current position, no matter how the House votes on the impeachment articles.
The right-leaning editorial board of The Wall Street Journal was more direct it its opinion piece, “Impeaching Mayorkas Achieves Nothing.”
Republicans on the committee argued that “misdemeanor” when the Constitution was written could have referred to “the act of demeaning oneself,” CBS reported, which would essentially lower the bar for impeachment to include anything that any House member found objectionable.
“If that becomes the new precedent, then the floodgates will open and you will have frivolous impeachments from here until the end of time,” Rhode Island’s Rep. Seth Magaziner said during the hearing.
If the House impeaches Mayorkas, he will become only the second Cabinet member ever to receive that dubious honor, and the first in 148 years.
Secretary of War William Belknap, a former Civil War general and member of President Ulysses Grant’s Cabinet from 1869 to 1876, when the House voted to impeach him for what the U.S. Senate website describes as “a pattern of corruption blatant even by the standards of the scandal-tarnished Grant administration.”
Despite the fact that Belknap had already resigned his Cabinet post, a majority of the Senate voted to convict him. However, the number of conviction votes fell well short of the two-thirds threshold required by the Constitution, so he was acquitted.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.