The very short Mayorkas impeachment trial, explained

“Republicans argued that he did not properly enforce immigration laws, citing, in one case, the decision to release migrants after they arrived at the southern border. In fact, that’s an established practice followed by multiple administrations, in part because the US does not have sufficient space to detain people as they await immigration hearings.
Republicans also said that Mayorkas had made false statements to Congress because he testified that the border was “secure,” and that he blocked oversight by failing to respond to subpoenas and offer sufficient access to his office.

Mayorkas has pushed back against the charges, noting that his approach may differ from that of Republicans, but he’s been committed to immigration enforcement and has worked to comply with Congress’s oversight of the agency by providing testimony and documents.

Many Constitutional law experts also said Republicans had not shown that the charges reached a legal bar for impeachment, and that they instead seemed to be founded on policy disagreements. “If allegations like this were sufficient to justify impeachment, the separation of powers would be permanently destabilized,” wrote top scholars, including Harvard’s Laurence Tribe and Berkeley’s Erwin Chemerinsky, in a January letter.

The first phase of the Senate trial on Wednesday took place because the upper chamber needed to fulfill its constitutional duty. Following a House impeachment, the Senate’s job is to hear the charges and determine whether the person should be convicted. If an official is convicted — which requires a two-third majority vote — they would then be removed from their position. The Senate also has the option to dismiss, or table, the impeachment articles if a simple majority votes to do so.

Ultimately, that’s what happened on both articles against Mayorkas, though it wasn’t without some drama. During the process, Republicans were able to force additional votes on “points of order,” or procedural motions regarding how the impeachment should move forward. They used this platform to slam Democrats repeatedly for not holding a full trial like those seen during the impeachment proceedings of former Presidents Donald Trump and Bill Clinton and to try to delay the trial to a later date. The GOP points of order all largely failed on party lines.”

US aid to Ukraine is arriving too late to stop major advances by Russia, says ex-US military official

“The delay by the US Congress in approving a vital aid bill means Ukraine is now struggling to fight back Russian advances, a former US military official said.
In an interview with CNN, retired US Air Force Col. and military analyst Cedric Leighton discussed Ukraine’s increasingly desperate attempts to hold back Russian advances near Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second biggest city.

He said that the delay in passing the $61 billion US aid bill, which was approved in April after being blocked for months by Republicans, had placed Ukraine at a disadvantage.

“The delay in aid was, frankly an inexcusable pause in the ability of the Ukrainians to fend off Russian advances. And right now what it means is that the Ukrainians are on the backfoot,” said Leighton.”

Why Johnson is stuck with threats to end his speakership

“Speaker Mike Johnson will likely escape Marjorie Taylor Greene’s first attempt to fire him. The threat of an ouster vote will still haunt him all year long.
Despite near-universal consensus in the House that allowing any one member to force a snap vote on booting a speaker is a recipe for chaos, lawmakers in both parties are increasingly acknowledging that they have almost no chance of changing that rule before January.

It’s not for a lack of interest — in fact, the idea was brought up in GOP meetings as recently as this week. But Johnson is boxed in from both sides. He can’t change the rules with only Republican votes because of the rebels on his right flank, who insisted that former Speaker Kevin McCarthy empower them by allowing a single lawmaker to force a vote of no confidence.

And Democrats, while they’re ready to save him from Greene’s (R-Ga.) first ejection attempt next week, are clear that their mercy won’t necessarily be permanent if the Georgia firebrand, or someone else, tries again. They also have little political incentive to give Johnson more permanent protection, unless he opens up broader negotiations about potential power sharing in the House. That price is too steep for the speaker to pay.”

New American Military Aid for Ukraine – What’s in the package and what impact will it have?

New American Military Aid for Ukraine – What’s in the package and what impact will it have?

Mitch McConnell says Tucker Carlson and Trump’s waffling delayed crucial Ukraine aid

“At a press conference, the Kentucky Republican pinpointed two men responsible for that delay: former Fox News anchor Tucker Carlson and former President Donald Trump.
“The demonization of Ukraine began by Tucker Carlson, who in my opinion ended up where he should have been all along, which is interviewing Vladimir Putin,” McConnell, R-Ky., told reporters. “And so he had an enormous audience, which convinced a lot of rank and file Republicans that maybe this was a mistake.”

“I think the former president had sort of mixed views on” Ukraine aid, he added, before alluding to the failed attempt to add border security provisions to the bill, “which requires you to deal with Democrats, and then a number of our members thought it wasn’t good enough.”

“And then our nominee for president didn’t seem to want us to do anything at all,” McConnell said. “That took months to work our way through it.”

The top Senate Republican has been an ardent supporter of Ukraine aid and battled a slew of conservative voices who have sought to block it. He called the expected passage of the bill “an important day for America, and a very important day of freedom-loving countries around the world.””

How McConnell and Schumer beat hardline conservatives on Ukraine

How McConnell and Schumer beat hardline conservatives on Ukraine

Why it always feels like the government is about to shut down

“Over this 25-year stretch, Congress has passed its final annual funding package* an average of 113 days into the corresponding fiscal year, around Jan. 21. And that number is trending upward: Over the last decade, the government operated under stopgap funding measures for an average of 134 days, or into mid-February. We only need to look back two years, to fiscal 2022, to find the last time CRs stretched into March, and back to fiscal 2017 for an even longer impasse, which wasn’t resolved until early May.
This means Congress may spend half of each year struggling to complete its most basic responsibility of funding the government, at the expense of other legislative priorities. And even though passing CRs staves off government shutdowns, operating under short-term funding has costly, wide-ranging impacts on federal operations. Funding uncertainty makes it difficult for agencies to plan and budget effectively, often forcing them to delay major projects — an issue of particular concern when it comes to military readiness.”

“Strikingly, this year’s funding bill not only passed with fewer Republican than Democratic votes, but also with more than half of the Republican caucus voting against it (breaking the informal “Hastert rule” of House majority leadership). Johnson certainly isn’t the first embattled GOP speaker to struggle with a divided party, but this marks the first time in the 25 years we analyzed that any annual appropriations bill or package has passed without a majority of the majority’s support.”