Legal experts interviewed by the Daily Caller News Foundation said that House Republicans’ efforts to impeach Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas could be lacking sufficient evidence of high crimes and misdemeanors.
House Republicans have filed impeachment articles against Mayorkas for his handling of the southern borders, where federal authorities saw a surge of illegal migrants under Mayorkas’ leadership of DHS. Others are waiting on the results of an investigation conducted by House Homeland Security Chair Mark Green over a period of weeks. Legal experts believe that while Mayorkas may face political criticism for his management of DHS, Republicans will have a difficult time arguing that Mayorkas’ conduct is sufficient to warrant impeachment.
Alan Dershowitz is a Harvard Law Professor and attorney who told the DCNF that he did not see any high crimes or misdemeanors that could be impeachable.
Former Rep. Bob Barr is an attorney who was a Republican during the impeachment of President Bill Clinton. He told DCNF that Republicans are targeting Mayorkas because of his “incompetence.”
“But incompetence does not constitute a serious crime or a misdemeanor.” Barr stated that if we started impeaching officials of the Executive branch for incompetence we would be very busy under administrations from both parties.
Republicans have filed articles of impeachment against Mayorkas, accusing him of “abdicating his duties,” “being derelict” in his “duty to protect our nation’s border” which have “constituted serious crimes and misdemeanors,” and “intentionally not securing our homeland” and “putting the lives and safety of all Americans in danger.”
Green told the DCNF he had evidence Mayorkas may have committed fraud while at DHS. However, he has not presented any proof yet.
Pat Fallon is a Republican Texas Representative who has filed articles of impeachment against Mayorkas. He told DCNF that Mayorkas poses a “clear, present danger” for the country and that he violated a Congressional law requiring DHS maintain “operational controls” at the border.
Fallon stated that “this is by no definition operational control of southern border” and that it was not possible. “Not only has Sec. Mayorkas lied before Congress. I believe that his removal is legal, as he has proven to be a clear and immediate danger to the United States of America.
The DCNF reported that Biggs’ office, a Republican Arizona Rep., believes it has “unambiguously legal sound” grounds for filing articles of impeachment against Mayorkas.
“Secretary Mayorkas is a man who has committed serious crimes and misdemeanors on numerous occasions.” Tragesser stated that the Secretary was in violation of Article II by not faithfully upholding the laws of this country.
David Schoen, a practicing lawyer who represented Donald Trump in his impeachment, told DCNF that impeachment was a powerful tool that should only be used when the worst cases are present.
“I think impeachment is only appropriate in the most extreme cases, such as those involving treason or bribery. Or even some extremely serious crimes and misdemeanors. Schoen stated that he believes it is wrong to use the constitutional authority of impeachment as a tool for resolving political differences even when they are very serious and when there are deep differences.
“And I think that when it’s abused, it denigrates our Constitution and right to vote.” Schoen stated that he believes the ballot is the best solution in most cases.
Mayorkas will be tried in the Senate if he is impeached by the House. Congress ultimately decides if charges of “treason or bribery or other high crimes and misdemeanors” will be pursued. These charges do not have a specific Constitutional definition, according to Congress.
Schoen stated that if Republicans in the House felt strongly about his policies or actions undermining security, or had other complaints, then the best solution would be hearings and a further investigation. The policies and actions deemed to be so horrible as to be impeachable should be made public.
Barr replied “yes and no” when asked if Republicans had any legal basis to support their effort to impeach Mayorkas.
Barr told DCNF that “since impeachment was not so much strictly a ‘legal’ issue as it was a political matter, it could be based on almost anything.” This is unlike a criminal prosecution. To maintain credibility, particularly for when the “other” party takes control of the House and to make at least an effort to remain consistent with the framers’ intentions, there should be at least some colorable evidence establishing that a law has been violated or something is done to seriously undermine lawful procedures.
A spokesperson for Republican Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene who filed articles against Mayorkas did not respond to a comment request.