Washington — A group of Senate Republicans are pushing for the chamber to hold a comprehensive impeachment trial against Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, urging leadership to “ensure that the Senate conducts a proper trial,” despite a Democratic majority that’s expected to move quickly to dismiss the effort.

The House voted to impeach Mayorkas last week, the first time a Cabinet secretary has been impeached in nearly 150 years. House Republicans took the rare step toward removing Mayorkas from office, accusing the secretary under two articles of impeachment of “willful and systemic refusal to comply with the law” and a “breach of public trust.” A handful of Republicans and all Democrats voted against impeaching him.

But the effort is all but certain to die in the Democratic-controlled Senate, which has the final say over removing officials under the Constitution. Many Senate Republicans have balked at the House’s Mayorkas impeachment, making clear that it has no chance in the upper chamber, but some conservatives are pushing for the Senate to “fully engage our Constitutional duty and hold a trial.”

In a letter obtained by CBS News, 13 Senate Republicans urged Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell to “join us in our efforts” to oppose Democratic efforts to “shirk their Constitutional duty.” The letter was signed by Sens. Mike Lee, Ted Cruz, Eric Schmitt, Rick Scott, Ron Johnson, J.D. Vance, Roger Marshall, Josh Hawley,Mike Braun, Tommy Tuberville, Ted Budd, Cynthia Lummis and Marsha Blackburn.

Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas speaks in Las Vegas on Feb. 7, 2024. 

Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas speaks in Las Vegas on Feb. 7, 2024.


The group warned that Senate Democrats intend to vote to table the articles of impeachment once a trial begins, condemning the move as “an action rarely contemplated and never taken by the U.S. Senate in the history of our Republic.” 

“It remains to be seen if the Senate rules will even allow us to brush aside our duty in this manner, but one thing is sure, if a similar strategy was contemplated by Senate Republicans when we were in the majority with a Republican occupying the White House, the opposition would be fierce and the volume from Democrats would be deafening,” the Republicans wrote.

McConnell’s office declined to comment on the letter.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer’s office said last week that the upper chamber will start Mayorkas’ impeachment trial after senators return to Washington on Feb. 26. But exactly how the Senate will proceed beyond that is an open question. 

Although precedent dictates that the chamber will move quickly to trial, what that looks like has been subject to debate. And while the Senate must schedule a trial, a simple majority in the chamber could pursue a number of avenues to speed through, delay or dismiss the effort outright. Democrats control 51 seats, including three Democratic-leaning independents, meaning Republicans would have little recourse if the majority remains united.

Schumer’s office said that House impeachment managers would present the article of impeachment to the Senate when lawmakers return from recess next week, at which point senators will be sworn in as jurors in the trial. Democratic Sen. Patty Murray, the Senate pro tempore, will preside.

In another letter, Scott wrote to Vice President Kamala Harris on Tuesday urging her to oversee a Senate impeachment trial, rather than Murray.

“Our states and cities face an ongoing and widespread crisis due to the flood of illegal immigrants streaming across our southern and northern borders and moving freely within the interior of the homeland,” he wrote. “As the President of the Senate, you are the appropriate constitutional presiding officer to oversee the impeachment trial of Secretary Mayorkas, and I encourage you to fulfill that role when the Senate reconvenes later this month.”