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GOP senators convince Speaker Johnson to delay impeachment article delivery

Republican senators were able to convince House Speaker Mike Johnson, R-La., to delay the delivery of two impeachment articles against Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, citing concerns that Senate Democrats will look to quickly dismiss them once a trial begins in the upper chamber. 

“To ensure the Senate has adequate time to perform its constitutional duty, the House will transmit the articles of impeachment to the Senate next week. There is no reason whatsoever for the Senate to abdicate its responsibility to hold an impeachment trial,” a spokesperson for Johnson told Fox News Digital on Tuesday. 

(Getty Images)

At least 10 Republican senators said they were actively pressuring the speaker to delay delivering the articles in order to prevent Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and the Democratic caucus from tabling the trial ahead of the weekend and sending senators home shortly after, a source familiar with the situation told Fox News Digital.

Schumer told senators in a dear colleague letter last week that proceedings would begin Thursday per procedure once the articles are delivered on Wednesday as expected. Speaker Johnson had indicated the delivery date in a letter previously sent to Schumer. 

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The GOP senators discussed their attempts to persuade Johnson during a lunch held at the National Republican Senatorial Committee’s headquarters on Tuesday, the source said. Two of the senators actively working to convince the speaker to hold off on delivery are Sens. Mike Lee, R-Utah, and Ron Johnson, R-Wis., their offices confirmed. 

Alejandro Mayorkas 

The benefit of a delay for the Republicans, according to the source, is allowing the articles of impeachment against Mayorkas more time for debate without the pressure of the approaching weekend. 

House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Mark Green, R-Tenn., the lead impeachment manager, emerged from Johnson’s office moments after the announcement and told reporters, “We were ready to go tomorrow.”

Green said he had not heard from Senate Republicans regarding the delay, but that he would support House GOP leaders’ decision.

He would not say if he spoke with Johnson before the delay was made public, telling Fox News Digital, “we had a phone conversation the contents of which will remain between the speaker and I.”

Another impeachment manager, Rep. Andy Biggs, R-Ariz., told Fox News Digital he was not surprised by the news because he had been in contact with some of the Senate Republicans pushing for the delay. He said, “I had been talking with some of my Republican friends in the Senate. And so I was not really surprised.”

At the Tuesday lunch, GOP senators also discussed their hope to turn up the pressure on their Democratic colleagues, the source added, with numerous senators offering their approval of a plan to halt all legislative business if Democrats tabled the Mayorkas trial. This would include Republicans refusing to provide a quorum or vote, among other measures.

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GOP senators have reiterated that tabling the trial would be “historic” as such an event hadn’t occurred without the impeached official having left office first. 

SENATE CHUCK SCHUMER

FILE: Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., joined at right by Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., speaks to reporters following a closed-door policy meeting, at the Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, March 7, 2023. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

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“This is our job,” Sen. Eric Schmitt, R-Mo., stressed during a press conference Tuesday.

Several Senate Republicans slammed Schumer during the press conference over their expectation that he would look to quickly off ramp the trial. However, Schumer has not suggested what Democrats will do. 

Democratic senators have previously indicated to Fox News Digital that they believe their caucus will seek such a strategic procedural maneuver. 

Sen. Mike Lee

Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah., speaks during the Senate Judiciary Committee markup hearing on Thursday, November 30, 2023.  (Bill Clark)

“They are nuking a provision of the Constitution,” Lee said during a Republican press conference on Tuesday. 

The Utah Republican additionally told reporters, “I’m grateful to Speaker Johnson for his bold willingness to delay this.”

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“He does not want Senate democrats, especially those on the ballot in November, to vote guilty or not guilty” Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, said. 

Schumer did not provide comment to Fox News Digital. 

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