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House Republicans postpone sending Mayorkas impeachment articles to Senate

Washington — House Republicans postponed sending the articles of impeachment against Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas to the Senate until next week, amid concerns over the timing of an impeachment trial that Senate Democrats are expected to quickly move to dismiss.

"To ensure the Senate has adequate time to perform its constitutional duty, the House will transmit the articles of impeachment to the Senate next week," a spokesperson for Speaker Mike Johnson, a Louisiana Republican, said in a statement.

House Republicans impeached Mayorkas in February on two articles for not enforcing immigration laws. The first accused Mayorkas of releasing migrants into the U.S. who should have been detained. The second article alleged he lied to lawmakers about whether the southern border was secure when he previously testified that his department had "operational control" of the border, and accused Mayorkas of obstructing congressional oversight of his department. 

Johnson and the 11 impeachment managers penned a letter to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, a New York Democrat, last month saying they would present the articles of impeachment to the upper chamber on Wednesday, April 10, urging the Senate leader to schedule a trial "expeditiously." Senators were expected to be sworn in the next day, under Senate rules. 

But concerns about GOP attendance for what would likely be a late vote on Thursday seemed to give Republicans pause. 

Schumer said Tuesday afternoon that "we're sticking with our plan, we're going to move this as expeditiously as possible." And With Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents controlling 51 seats in the Senate, they're expected to vote to dismiss or delay the proceedings with a simple majority, if they can remain united. Any Republican absences would make it easier for Democrats to do so. 

Sen. Mike Lee, a Utah Republican, told reporters that the impeachment articles were now set to be transmitted from the House next Monday. 

"We don't want this to come over on the eve of the moment when members might be operating under the influence of jet-fume intoxication," Lee added at a news conference, saying it's better for the Senate to take up the issue at the beginning of the week. 

"You're aware on Thursday afternoon senators rush to the airport and fly to get out of here," GOP Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas told reporters. "Schumer wants it on a Thursday afternoon because he wants no coverage. He wants it to go away quickly. The advantage of starting the week with it is it enables the Senate to focus on it." 

GOP Senate Whip John Thune of South Dakota told reporters Tuesday afternoon that if Republicans want to have the opportunity to have a "more fulsome discussion" once the articles come over from the House, "there are times when that could probably happen better than having it come over tomorrow night and then trying to deal with it Thursday afternoon."

GOP Sen. Roger Marshall of Kansas warned there would be consequences if Democrats dismissed the proceedings. 

"This is a nuclear option, and it will necessitate some type of nuclear retaliations," he said. 

Nikole Killion, Alejandro Alvarez and Alan He contributed reporting. 

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