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February 06, 2024

Ranking Member Bennie G. Thompson Floor Statement in Opposition to the Republicans’ Sham Impeachment of Secretary Mayorkas (H.Res. 863)

(WASHINGTON) - What is happening here today is a travesty. It is an affront to the United States Constitution, it will do nothing to solve challenges at our border, and it is a baseless attack on a dedicated public servant.

Republican Members of Congress – sworn to support and defend the Constitution – are rejecting the Framers’ intent and over two centuries of precedent in favor of a politically motivated sham impeachment.  Republicans have failed at making a constitutionally viable case for impeachment.

Neither of the impeachment charges are a “high crime and misdemeanor” under Article II of the Constitution. Impeachment over mere policy disputes was deliberately rejected by the Framers, and those disputes are best settled in the court system.

In fact, the policy disputes identified in the articles of impeachment have already been addressed by the courts. The courts have either decided in the Biden administration’s favor, or the disputes are still working their way through the system. Republicans are trying to relitigate court decisions through a sham impeachment, but the Constitution doesn’t allow that.

Constitutional experts testified before the Committee on Homeland Security that for a “breach of public trust” to rise to a “high crime and misdemeanor,” it would require conduct intended to serve an official’s own benefit or the benefit of a foreign power. Secretary Mayorkas has done nothing of the sort.

Republicans have misrepresented the law and Secretary Mayorkas’ record to justify this sham impeachment. Secretary Mayorkas has served our country honorably for over 30 years, as a prosecutor and in leadership roles at the Department of Homeland Security. He has been a tireless advocate for the more than 260,000 DHS employees working to secure the homeland every day.

He has leveraged all the authorities at his disposal while using every resource provided by Congress to secure the border. Under Secretary Mayorkas’ leadership, DHS has removed record levels of migrants from the U.S., detained even more people than Congress has provided funding for, and prevented record levels of fentanyl from entering our communities.

If House Republicans were serious about improving conditions along the border, they would provide the Department the funding necessary to do so. They have not.

At every opportunity, Republicans have refused to provide resources to the Department of Homeland Security. If House Republicans were serious about improving conditions at the border, they would support the bipartisan Senate border bill. They have not.

Republicans take their orders from Donald Trump, and he told them to reject the Senate bill. Republicans have been trying to kill the bill before they even knew what was in it. The Republican Majority is running a Do-Nothing Congress.

This sham impeachment effort isn’t really about border security. It will do nothing to solve the border challenges we face.

The truth is, the extreme MAGA Republicans running the House of Representatives don’t want solutions. They want a political issue.

House Republicans want to distort the Constitution and the Secretary’s record to cover up their inability and unwillingness work with Democrats to strengthen border security.

It’s about Republican politics and subversion of the Constitution.

Bipartisan constitutional law and impeachment experts agree the Secretary has not committed an impeachable offense. Former Republican Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff agrees. And even some of my Republican colleagues here in the House agree.

The gentleman from California, Mr. McClintock, said in a memorandum to his Republican colleagues, and I “problem is that [the impeachment articles] fail to identify an impeachable crime.” The gentleman from California is right, and I suspect some of his Republican colleagues agree, even if they won’t admit it.

Secretary Mayorkas has faithfully implemented the administration’s border policies consistent with the funding Congress has provided—just like every other Secretary of Homeland Security before him, Democrat or Republican.

During consideration in the Homeland Security Committee last week, Republicans improperly shut down the markup and blocked Democrats from offering amendments to the resolution.

Republicans couldn’t bear to consider amendments to their poorly drafted articles of impeachment. They silenced Democrats who attempted to inject a dose of reality into the chaotic proceedings.

Yesterday before the Rules Committee, Republicans again failed to make their case, relying on partisan rhetoric and obvious misinformation because neither the law nor the facts are on their side.

The truth is Republicans’ actions show they don’t have faith in their own case against the Secretary. That’s why they lacked the courage of their convictions to see their markup to the end.

This nonsense has to stop, and it should stop here. Republicans need to start doing the work Americans sent them here to do. I urge my colleagues to honor their oaths to the Constitution. Listen to the constitutional experts. Listen to your own Republican colleagues who know this is baseless. Drop this sham impeachment.

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