Jan 17, 2024 - Politics & Policy

Battle escalates over second Mayorkas impeachment hearing

: U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas testifies during a House Homeland Security Committee hearing on Capitol Hill

DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas testifies during a House Homeland Security Committee hearing on Capitol Hill on November 15, 2023. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

House Republicans are asking for written testimony from Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas for Thursday's impeachment hearing, after the secretary offered to appear on a different date.

Why it matters: The Homeland Security Committee is plowing ahead on what would be an historic impeachment of a Cabinet official as soon as this month — as the party seeks to keep the border issue front and center in 2024.

Driving the news: Committee Chair Mark Green (R-Tenn.) is moving forward with the second impeachment hearing scheduled Thursday, inviting Mayorkas to submit a written testimony if he can't testify, according to a letter sent to the agency on Wednesday.

  • "Regretfully, every invitation for almost half a year we extended to you to testify focused specifically on the border crisis has been rejected or subject to endless delay tactics," Green wrote.
  • House Republicans say this was the fourth invitation since August for Mayorkas to testify about the border.
  • But the latest letter comes after Mayorkas agreed to make himself available to testify in front of the committee, asking to coordinate on a better time. He is hosting Mexican officials to discuss border policy this week.
  • DHS claims Mayorkas has testified before Congress more than any other Cabinet official — 27 times — and has answered numerous border questions from the House Homeland Security committee.
  • Punchbowl News first reported on the Wednesday letter.

Between the lines: The exchange is the latest example of Congressional investigators charging the Biden administration with not being forthcoming, and of agency officials accusing Congress of not acting in good faith.

  • "This is just the latest example of Committee Republicans' sham process," DHS spokesperson Mia Ehrenberg said in a statement provided to Axios.
  • "It's abundantly clear that they are not interested in hearing from Secretary Mayorkas since it doesn't fit into their bad-faith, predetermined and unconstitutional rush to impeach him," Ehrenberg continued.

What to watch: Republicans plan to focus their second impeachment hearing on the purported effects of the years-long surge in migration at the southern border.

  • The panel is set to hear from law enforcement and people who lost family members to violent crime or drug overdoses.
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