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Two Reasons Why Impeaching Mayorkas Was Necessary

two-reasons-why-impeaching-mayorkas-was-necessary
Two Reasons Why Impeaching Mayorkas Was Necessary

On Tuesday, the Republicans voted in an incredibly narrow vote to impeach Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas. It was very narrow because a few Republicans defected and Republicans have a shrinking House majority.

What exactly does the impeachment mean? In practical terms, it means nothing. There is no shot he is going to be convicted in the Senate. It was an optical impeachment in the same way it was an optical impeachment both times Donald Trump was impeached by the House of Representatives.

However, that does not mean it was worthless. Rather, it was worthwhile for a couple of reasons.

First, it is imperative the Republicans in the House continue to highlight Joe Biden’s administration’s refusal to enforce America’s southern border. As a pure policy matter, this administration has kept the southern border wide open. They have completely restructured American immigration law so as to facilitate the mass migration of people up through America’s southern border. Six to 10 million people have entered the country illegally since Biden took office — people who are claiming asylum, waving their arms, getting picked up by Border Patrol, and then being released on parole into the country, never to show up again. That is a deliberate policy decision made by this administration, effectuated by the Secretary of Homeland Security, who works for Biden.

There are two salient questions about the impeachment. The first: Is the border policy horrific, and should it be highlighted? Yes, it’s horrific. Yes, it should be highlighted.

The second question addresses whether that merits impeachment. On the merits of impeachment, this depends on what you think impeachment is for.

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For nearly all of American history, people thought that impeachment was actually for high crimes and misdemeanors, which is why it was barely ever used. It was used in cases of bribery a couple of times. It was threatened against Richard Nixon before he resigned. But the reality is that the impeachment cap was never taken out of the bag unless there were actually high crimes and misdemeanors to allege.

And then Democrats alleged no crime by Trump twice and yet impeached him twice. I said in both of those cases that impeachment was not merited because even if I wildly disagreed with Trump’s actions between the election in November of 2020 and January 6, 2021, there was no actual crime that took place. Bad behavior is not impeachable; crime is impeachable.

When it came to his conversations with Volodymyr Zelenskyy, the suggestion was that Trump had a conversation with Zelenskyy back in 2019 in which he basically threatened the suspension of American aid to Ukraine in the lead-up to the war in Ukraine, specifically because he wanted the Ukrainian government to investigate Hunter Biden and Burisma.

And the suggestion was made that Trump was essentially militarizing American military aid in order to pursue a political goal on his own behalf, and thus was an impeachable offense. But there was no actual crime alleged in the impeachment documents. It was all simply bad behavior. So, I said both times, even if you don’t like Trump’s behavior, that’s not impeachable.

So why impeach Alejandro Mayorkas without actual high crimes and misdemeanors? The reason is that if these are the new rules, they apply to everyone evenly. We should all recognize that if we want to go back to the original status quo — if we want to put the cat back in the bag — then we cannot have a situation in which Democrats get to impeach Republican officials for actions that are not high crimes and misdemeanors, while Republicans only impeach for high crimes and misdemeanors.

So the impeachment serves two purposes. One is obviously political and I think has a well-merited purpose, which is to target this administration on their border policy. And the second is to reestablish a mutually assured destruction with regard to impeachment so that if both parties wish to restore what impeachment was for before, which is just high crimes and misdemeanors, we can return to that.

Otherwise, everyone can basically assume that if an opposing party takes control of Congress, a party that is not the same party running the presidency, somebody in the White House is going to get impeached.

That’s just the way this is going to work.

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