Sen. James Lankford (R-OK), hours before his months-long work on a pro-migration border deal is projected to go down in flames, defended Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas against impeachment.
Asked about the House’s effort to impeach the embattled secretary amid an unprecedented border crisis that began under his watch, Lankford said, “It’ll fail in the Senate,” while mockingly taunting, “If I can use the House term, it’ll be dead on arrival when it comes over.”
Lankford on House Republicans trying to impeach Mayorkas again
“It’ll fail in the Senate. If I could use the House term, it’ll be dead on arrival when it comes over.…” pic.twitter.com/Mq4twZPzIQ
— Alan He (@alanhe) February 7, 2024
Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) previously said Lankford’s border deal was “dead on arrival” in the House. Those comments came hours after the deal’s long-awaited Sunday night reveal confirmed rumors of highly concerning pro-migration provisions.
Lankford had denied the substance of the leaks, especially details that the bill would allow 5,000 migrants per day before a new emergency authorization was triggered, saying it would be “absolutely absurd” to negotiate a deal allowing those numbers.
Despite Lankford’s assurances, the “deal” was even worse. The threshold to enable the declaration of a new emergency authority is not 5,000 migrant encounters per day, but 8,500. It would take an average of 5,000 migrants crossing per day over seven days to trigger the secretary’s authority to declare an emergency.
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Yet, numerous loopholes and exemptions would keep migrants from counting toward that threshold, and the president could unilaterally override the authorization.
Lankford’s latest comments came after a contentious Tuesday night House vote to impeach Mayorkas failed after a deadlock. Democrats rolled Rep. Al Green (D-TX) into the chamber in a wheelchair and hospital gown, reportedly without shoes, to deadlock the tally, forcing Rep. Blake Moore (R-UT), who supports impeachment, to change his vote to no in a procedural move enabling the House to take up the resolution again.
Green was reportedly recovering from an emergency surgery.
“I was determined to cast the vote long before — I had no idea how close it was going to be,” Green said in an interview from his hospital bed, according to the New York Times. “I didn’t come assuming my vote was going to make a difference. I came because it was personal.”
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Homeland Security Committee Events / YouTube
Republicans would have had the votes, had all members been present. Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA) was in Louisiana recovering from ongoing cancer treatments.
In a television interview filmed in Louisiana the day of the vote, Scalise supported the impeachment.
Lankford went on to attack the substance of impeachment. “It’ll still be the same policy, even if Mayorkas left,” he said. “We’re gonna have the same result, because we’ve got the same president who’s driving the policy, just like we did under Trump.
However, the House responsibility to impeach an official for “high crimes and misdemeanors” is not dependent on the political will, or lack thereof, of the Senate.
Further, Republicans have argued that impeaching a cabinet official for breaking the law sends a clear message not only to President Biden but whomever might replace him that the party is serious about holding lawlessness accountable.
After Lankford’s dance with Democrats produced the widely panned deal, overwhelming condemnation forced even Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) to urge Republicans to oppose a procedural vote to advance the bill. That vote is expected to fail Wednesday.
Meanwhile, House Republicans are expected to bring the Mayorkas impeachment resolution up for a vote again, likely Tuesday before a special election in New York.
Bradley Jaye is a Capitol Hill Correspondent for Breitbart News. Follow him on X/Twitter at @BradleyAJaye.