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Majority Leader Schumer Floor Remarks On The Senate Finding The Charges Brought Against Secretary Mayorkas Did Not Meet The Standard For Impeachment Set By The Constitution

Washington, D.C.   Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) today spoke on the Senate floor on the Senate setting the precedent that impeachment is not a tool for policy disagreements, and should be reserved for instances meeting the requirements of the Constitution. Below are Senator Schumer’s remarks, which can also be viewed here:

Yesterday, the Senate set a very important precedent that impeachment should be reserved only for high crimes and misdemeanors, and not for settling policy disagreements.

That is what the impeachment against Alejandro Mayorkas was from the start: a policy dispute, frankly, to help Donald Trump on the campaign trail. It did not meet the high standard required by the Constitution to remove someone from office. I am very glad the Senate worked its will to set these charges aside.

The prudence and cool judgement the Senate showed yesterday is what the Framers would have wanted. They didn't want impeachment to be used for every policy dispute, that when you don't agree with a cabinet secretary you impeach them. That would have created chaos in the executive branch and here in the Senate, because the House could just throw over impeachment after impeachment. And if you'd have to have a whole big trial on every one of them, the Senate could be ground a halt.

So let me repeat what I said yesterday: we felt it was very important to set a precedent that impeachment should never, never, be used to settle policy disagreements. We are supposed to have debates on the issues, not impeachments on the issues.

Let me repeat that, it’s such an important concept, and I’m so glad we stood firm yesterday: we are supposed to have debates on the issues, not impeachment on the issues.

We are not supposed to say that whenever you disagree with someone on policy, then that is a high crime and misdemeanor. Can you imagine, the kind of chaos and damage that would create? As I said, The House could paralyze the Senate with frivolous trials, particularly when one party had the House and the other had the Senate. It would degrade government and it would frankly degrade impeachment, which is reserved – rarely – for high crimes and misdemeanors.

To show how unprecedented what the House did, no cabinet secretary has been impeached since I think 1876. And even in that case, he resigned before the trial. It was never intended to happen.

But, unfortunately, the hard, radical right in the House is just so intent on paralyzing government, creating chaos in government, even destroying government, that they don't care. But we in the Senate, on our side of the aisle, did care. My guess is a lot of my colleagues on the other side of the aisle cared too.

If my colleagues on the other side want to talk about immigration, Democrats welcome that debate. Welcome it. We should debate border bills like the ones Republicans blocked here on the floor. That is how you fix the border: with bipartisan legislation. Impeachment would have accomplished nothing.