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Senate dismisses two articles of impeachment against Homeland Security secretary, ending trial

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Senate has dismissed all impeachment charges against Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, ending the House Republican push to remove the Cabinet secretary from office over his handling of the U.S.-Mexico border.

The two votes effectively end the trial before arguments ever began. Senators voted separately to dismiss the two articles of impeachment, arguing that they were unconstitutional.

The first article charged Mayorkas with “willful and systemic refusal to comply with the law.” The second article charged Mayorkas with a “breach of trust” for saying the border was secure.

Republicans had argued for a full impeachment trial against Mayorkas.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. AP’s earlier story follows below.

The Senate has voted to dismiss the first of two articles of impeachment against Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, the first step in ending its trial on his handling of the the U.S.-Mexico border,

Democrats said the article, which charged Mayorkas with “willful and systemic refusal to comply with the law,” is unconstitutional. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has called for a second vote that would dismiss the second article, which charges Mayorkas with a breach of trust over saying that the border was secure.

The vote to dismiss the first article was 51-48 along party lines, with Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska voting “present.”

If the Senate votes to dismiss both articles, the trial will be over before arguments start. Schumer said the House Republicans’ case fails to meet “the high standard of high crimes and misdemeanors” and could set a dangerous precedent.

“For the sake of the Senate’s integrity and to protect impeachment for those rare cases we truly need it, senators should dismiss today’s charges,” said Schumer, D-N.Y., as he opened Wednesday’s session.

The House narrowly voted in February to impeach Mayorkas for his handling of the border, arguing in the two articles that he “willfully and systematically” refused to enforce immigration laws. House impeachment managers delivered the charges to the Senate on Tuesday, standing in the well of the Senate and reading them aloud to a captive audience of senators.

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