NEW: Senate Impeachment Trial of DHS Sec. Alejandro Mayorkas Set for Late February

On Tuesday evening, as RedState reported, the U.S. House of Representatives voted to impeach Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas with a razor-thin 214-213 passage of the resolution. 

Although the prospect of a conviction in the Senate is highly unlikely, the vote nevertheless requires that a trial be held in the upper chamber. And it appears that will be sometime in late February, according to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer’s office, with Senate President Pro Tem Patty Murray presiding over the proceeding. 

Also on Tuesday evening, Democrat Tom Suozzi won his old House seat (NY-03) back in a special election, replacing Republican George Santos following his expulsion from Congress. With the outcome of that race looming, House Republicans likely knew they needed to hold the vote quickly or risk not being able to pass the resolution.

As we noted, Tuesday night’s vote marks the first time in almost 150 years that a cabinet official has been impeached — and only the second time ever

This is a historic event. Before today, the only cabinet-level official to be impeached by the House of Representatives was the Secretary of War under President Ulysses Grant, one William Belknap, a Civil War hero who was caught up in a kickback scheme.
Belknap was a Civil War hero who had fought in the battles of Shiloh and Vicksburg and was promoted to Brigadier General in 1864. Grant, who admired Belknap and had befriended the Princeton-educated lawyer and former Iowa legislator, appointed him to be his Secretary of War in 1869. After serving seven years in President Grant’s cabinet, Belknap was charged with “criminally disregarding his duty” and “basely prostituting his high office to his lust for private gain.”

So, what will the impeachment trial look like? Chad Pergram lays out the process here

Don’t expect anything to start until late February or early March. The House will send the articles of impeachment plus the House “managers” over to the Senate to formally begin the trial.

“Impeachment managers” are House members who serve as prosecutors. They present the findings of the House before the Senate. Senators sit as jurors.

Pergram describes the ceremonial aspects of the proceedings, then the actual procedural steps:

The articles are then presented to the Senate and the managers are introduced. That is all they usually do on the first day of a Senate trial– although FOX was told the Senate might try to squeeze everything into one day.
Under Senate impeachment trial rule III, the body is supposed to wait until the next day to swear-in senators as jurors. But FOX is told that could happen on day one in this instance.
According to Senate rules, the trial must begin the day after the Senate receives the articles at 1 pm in the afternoon. Trials are supposed to run Monday through Saturday. We had Saturday sessions in both impeachment trials of former President Trump in 2020 and 2021.

Now we get to perhaps the most interesting question of all. How much of a trial is there? 
The Senate cannot immediately bypass a trial. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) has announced that Mayorkas’ trial will begin later in February. The House has named its 11 impeachment managers. Senators will be sworn in as the jury.
Senators can decide to hold a full trial, or potentially, move to dismiss or actually have straight, up or down votes on convicting or exonerating Mayorkas. The Senate could also send the articles to a committee for review.

My hunch is that the Senate, under Democrat leadership, will do its utmost to make quick work of the proceedings, rather than dragging them out. Regardless, we can expect late February/early March to make for interesting watching on Capitol Hill. 

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