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Senate kills articles of impeachment against Mayorkas

What we covered here

Our live coverage of the Mayorkas impeachment proceedings has concluded. Please scroll through the posts below for updates on what happened on Capitol Hill.
6:14 p.m. ET, April 17, 2024

The impeachment trial against Alejandro Mayorkas barely got underway. Here's a recap of what happened

The Senate killed the articles of impeachment against Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas on Wednesday as the historic trial of the Cabinet secretary barely got underway.
The blink-and-you-missed-it trial marked the culmination of a mostly failed political gambit hatched by House Republicans seeking to cast the limelight on the Biden administration’s handling of the southern border ahead of the general election. 
Here's a recap of what happened:
  • Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer opened the proceedings by offering a time agreement to Republicans that would have allowed a certain amount of floor debate and votes on trial resolutions and points of order before an eventual vote to dismiss the case. Republican Sen. Eric Schmitt of Missouri objected, saying he would not agree to a proposal.
  • That allowed Schumer to a motion to table or kill the first impeachment article because “it does not allege conduct that rises to the level of a high crime or misdemeanor” as required in the Constitution.
  • After several rounds of procedural votes, the Senate passed that motion 51 to 48 with one member voting present, killing the first article of impeachment.
  • Then, Schumer moved on to the second article, repeating a similar process. After several more procedural votes, Schumer’s motion to table the second article was also approved, killing it.
  • The Senate then voted to end Mayorkas' impeachment trial.
Historic impeachment: Mayorkas is the first Cabinet secretary to be impeached in almost 150 yearsHouse Republicans voted to impeach Mayorkas in February over his handling of the southern border by a narrow margin after failing to do so on their first try. Democrats have slammed the impeachment as a political stunt, saying that Republicans had no valid basis for the move.
Elsewhere on Capitol Hill: Conservative hardliners are fuming at House Speaker Mike Johnson decision's to move ahead with a vote on billions of dollars in aid to Ukraine — and are loudly warning him it could cost him his job. He said the House would vote on three separate foreign aid bills on Saturday, including for Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan. The bills are expected to be lumped together as one big package that will be sent to the Senate, according to sources.
5:55 p.m. ET, April 17, 2024

Senators voted along party lines to reject Mayorkas impeachment

The Senate ended the impeachment case against Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, bypassing with procedural votes the first attempt by Congress to oust a Cabinet secretary in more than a century and a half.

The pair of votes, which split along partisan lines, swiftly killed a Senate trial that had only just begun, with Democrats and three independents voting to stop the process. 

The senators voted 51-48 against considering the first article of impeachment, with one Republican, Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, voting present.

The vote to kill the second article split 51-49, with Murkowski siding with her party. Three independent senators — Bernie Sanders of Vermont, Angus King of Maine and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona — sided with the Democrats on both votes.

Click here to see how individual senators voted on each article.
5:54 p.m. ET, April 17, 2024

Johnson defends his approach to foreign aid bills and dismisses effort to oust him


House Speaker Mike Johnson defended his approach to the supplemental foreign aid funding in an interview with CNN on Wednesday after the bill text showed a strong similarity to the bipartisan Senate measure.

Johnson had announced Monday that the House will take up separate bills to provide aid for Israel and Ukraine, heeding demands from the far right to keep the issues separate.

But he also had left open the possibility that the bills could ultimately be packaged together, and Republican leaders could still take procedural steps to send all those pieces as one package to the Senate, which could enrage the right wing of the House GOP conference.

Johnson later confirmed he would combine the foreign aid bills to send to the Senate.

Johnson also addressed the threats to oust him, insisting he doesn’t “walk around thinking about the motion to vacate."

“It's a procedural matter here that I think has been abused in recent times,” he said. “Maybe at some point we change that, but right now, I got to do my job, and so do all my colleagues.” 
5:12 p.m. ET, April 17, 2024

GOP Sen. Graham almost accidentally voted with Democrats on second article

GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham almost sided with the Democrats on the vote to kill the second article of impeachment — before he caught himself, to laughs in the chamber.

Democratic Sen. Cory Booker had walked over to sit with Republicans and chat with Graham. As they were talking, Graham's name was called and he said "aye," voting with Democrats, before realizing his mistake and voting "no."

His GOP colleagues jokingly pointed to Booker, asking if he had made Graham change his mind. Booker put his hands up, laughing and proclaiming his innocence.  

5:07 p.m. ET, April 17, 2024

House expected to tie aid bills for Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan together after voting this weekend

In the House, lawmakers will consider several separate bills that include aid for Israel and Ukraine this weekend.

Lawmakers are expected to vote on four bills on Saturday — aid for Israel, Ukraine, Taiwan and a forthcoming bill that includes a potential ban on TikTok. But, the final product is expected to be lumped together as one big package that will be sent to the Senate, according to sources familiar.

The House can do this through an arcane procedure, something that is enraging the right wing of the party but is what Democrats have been insisting on as a condition of their support. 

The border security bill Speaker Mike Johnson released is not expected to be part of that big bill, further angering the right, and will be considered separately, the sources said.

The three-part supplemental aid package — which all together adds up to about $95 billion in aid — looks strikingly similar to a bill that previously passed the Senate but that Johnson refused to bring to the floor. The new House package includes a little more than $9 billion in humanitarian aid for Gaza and other conflict zones around the world, which had been a red line for Democrats. 

Biden said in a statement Wednesday that he "strongly supports" the package of bills, his first explicit endorsement of Johnson's plan.

6:12 p.m. ET, April 17, 2024

Here's how lawmakers are reacting to the Mayorkas impeachment trial

Here's what lawmakers on Capitol Hill are saying after the Democratic-controlled Senate voted to kill both articles of impeachment against Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas.
House GOP leadership: House Speaker Mike Johnson, Leader Steve Scalise, Whip Tom Emmer and Chairwoman Elise Stefanik said that Democrats have "issued their full endorsement of the Biden Administration’s dangerous open border policies" through this vote. "Secretary Mayorkas alongside President Biden has used nearly every tool at his disposal to engineer the greatest humanitarian and national security catastrophe at our borders in American history," the statement said.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer: The trial was "frivolous and political," he said, adding that “impeachment should never be used to settle policy disagreements."
Vulnerable Democratic Sen. Jon Tester: "Montanans want real solutions that secure the border, not partisan games from D.C. politicians," he said. "It’s time for President Biden and Secretary Mayorkas to use their remaining executive authorities to help secure our border, and for Congress to pass bipartisan border security legislation to give law enforcement the resources and policy changes they have said they need to get the job done.”
Sen. Steve Daines: The chair of the Senate Republicans’ campaign arm warned that the GOP will use vulnerable Senate Democrats’ votes in the impeachment trial against them.“I don’t think this is the last time that voters in these key states have heard about this,” Daines told CNN.


CNN's Haley Talbot and Morgan Rimmer contributed to the report.
This post was updated with Schumer's statement.
4:55 p.m. ET, April 17, 2024

Department of Homeland Security and White House praises end Mayorkas impeachment

The Department of Homeland Security praised the Senate move to end the impeachment of Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas on Wednesday.

Spokesperson Mia Ehrenberg called the impeachment articles against the secretary "baseless attacks."

"It’s time for Congressional Republicans to support the Department’s vital mission instead of wasting time playing political games and standing in the way of commonsense, bipartisan border reforms," Ehrenberg said in a statement.

The White House also applauded the conclusion of what it called a "baseless impeachment."

Ian Sams, the White House spokesperson for oversight and investigations, said President Joe Biden and Mayorkas will "continue doing their jobs to keep America safe and pursue action solutions at the border."

He was the first Cabinet secretary to be impeached in almost 150 yearsHouse Republicans voted to impeach Mayorkas in February over his handling of the southern border by a narrow margin after failing to do so on their first try.
This post has been updated with the reaction from the White House.
4:32 p.m. ET, April 17, 2024

Senate votes to end Mayorkas impeachment trial on party-line vote

The Senate voted to end Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas' impeachment trial on a party-line vote of 51-49.  

How we got here: House Republicans voted to impeach Mayorkas in February over his handling of the southern border by a narrow margin after failing on the first try. He became the first Cabinet secretary to be impeached in nearly 150 years. 

5:50 p.m. ET, April 17, 2024

Senate kills second and final Mayorkas impeachment article, voting now on ending trial

Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas testifies before a Homeland Security Subcommittee hearing on the DHS budget request on Capitol Hill, in Washington, DC, on April 10. Michael McCoy/Reuters/File

The Senate voted to kill the second and final article of impeachment against Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas.

Lawmakers voted 51 to 49 on party lines. The chamber voted to kill the first article of impeachment earlier today.

This post was updated with a graphic on how every senator voted.