Right-wing senators call on McConnell to begin doomed Mayorkas impeachment effort

A group of Trump loyalists in the US Senate released a joint letter calling on their party’s leadership to demand the impeachment trial of Joe Biden’s DHS secretary to begin “immediately.”

The collection of 13 senators included right-wing stalwarts such as Mike Lee, Rick Scott, Marsha Blackburn and Tommy Tuberville. It did not list any signatures from senators with close ties to the leadership. Just one swing-state senator was on the list: Texas’s Ted Cruz, who has built a storied reputation as a conservative gadfly.

In the letter, the conservatives denounced the reported plans of Democrats to table the articles of impeachment without bringing Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas to trial in the Senate. They urged their counterparts in leadership to resist this effort and demand a full trial.

“This is an action rarely contemplated and never taken by the US Senate in the history of our Republic,” the lawmakers wrote.

“We call on you to join us in our efforts to jettison this approach by Democrats to shirk their Constitutional duty, ensure that the Senate conducts a proper trial and that every Senator, Republican and Democrat, adjudicates this matter when the Senate returns,” their letter continued.

It was a revealing letter in more ways than one. In general, the low number of signatures suggests a lack of enthusiasm among other members of the Senate Republican caucus regarding the impending trial of Mr Mayorkas. Republicans are virtually guaranteed to lose the vote to remove Mr Mayorkas from office, and the final vote will likely be yet another instance of the GOP caucus splitting in the face of unified Democratic opposition.

But the letter also suggested another reality of the Trump-loyalist contingents in the House and Senate; they do not care. Specifically, these lawmakers take no issue with putting pressure on their more moderate colleagues in an election year while their party is protecting a two-seat majority in the lower chamber and seeking to win its way back into power in the Senate. This kind of pressure will play well with voters in districts and states where alignment with Donald Trump remains the most powerful force in GOP primaries, but it will cause headaches for Republicans in swing districts and purple states who head into the fall facing down an image of chaos and a failure to govern surrounding their party.

Two articles of impeachment targeting Mr Mayorkas passed the House of Representatives last week after initially failing in a tied vote. Mr Mayorkas is accused by Republicans of failing to properly enforce existing US immigration law; Democrats argue that accusation does not fit the standards for the impeachment of “high crimes or misdemeanors” set by the Constitution.

Republicans recently tanked an effort by members of their own party to reach a compromise with Democrats, who control the Senate and the White House, to address border security through legislation. The now-abandoned deal would have granted the Executive Branch the power to shut down or temporarily halt the asylum process when illegal daily border crossings passed a certain threshold.

Their Democratic rivals have hammered them for that refusal to negotiate, a development that occurred after former President Donald Trump openly pressured members of the House and Senate GOP caucuses to kill the deal. Despite grumblings from a number of Republicans, their party did end up bowing to Mr Trump’s wishes; the former president and his allies reportedly chafed at the idea of handing President Joe Biden a win in an election year.

Illegal border crossings outside of authorised ports of entry passed 124,000 in January, down 50 per cent from a spike in December.