Biden denounces Mayorkas impeachment effort as ‘baseless’ and ‘unconstitutional’

WASHINGTON — The Biden administration on Monday denounced the Republican charge to impeach Homeland Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas as an “unprecedented and unconstitutional” political attack that betrays the real challenge of securing the southern U.S. border, according to a statement of administration policy shared first with NBC News.

The statement was the most forceful condemnation of the Republican-controlled House’s push to bring the Mayorkas impeachment to the floor.

“From his time in the Justice Department as a U.S. Attorney to his service as Deputy Secretary and now Secretary of Homeland Security, he has upheld the rule of law faithfully and has demonstrated a deep commitment to the values that make our Nation great,” the statement about Mayorkas said. “Impeaching Secretary Mayorkas would be an unprecedented and unconstitutional act of political retribution that would do nothing to solve the challenges our Nation faces in securing the border.”

Republicans argue that impeachment hearings, which the House Homeland Security Committee launched last month, are needed due to record high illegal border crossings and drug trafficking across the southern U.S. border under Mayorkas, whom Biden appointed in 2021. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., tried twice last year to force an impeachment vote against Mayorkas.

In a format usually reserved to announce when the president will veto a particular bill, the administration countered that House Republicans are abusing Congress’ authority to target a Cabinet-level official for reasons beyond the scope of their authority.

“The impeachment power was never intended as a device for members of an opposing political party to harass Executive Branch officials over policy disputes,” the statement said.

“Impeaching Secretary Mayorkas would trivialize this solemn constitutional power and invite more partisan abuse of this authority in the future,” read the statement.

The Republican-led House Rules Committee advanced the resolution to impeach Mayorkas in an 8-4 party-line vote on Monday night. The resolution will be on the floor on Tuesday.

Slamming the impeachment case as “baseless,” the statement said Monday that the Biden administration will continue to work with Congress to find solutions to secure the border and strengthen an immigration system burdened by a record-high number of crossings. Hard-line Republicans have balked at a newly unveiled border bill, prompting pushback from some colleagues eager to pass legislation to address the crisis.

Some Republicans have countered that Mayorkas’s record does not meet the threshold for treason or high crimes and misdemeanors, which impeachment, as described by the framers, demands. Mayorkas would be only the second Cabinet secretary in U.S. history to be impeached.

The White House earlier advanced an argument against impeachment on constitutional grounds in a memo slamming Republicans for playing “extreme, far-right politics” that likened the push to remove Mayorkas to efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election and impeach Biden.

This article was originally published on NBCNews.com

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