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Mayorkas impeachment trial forecast: Expect a snooze

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The Senate is preparing to quickly dispense with the House GOP’s much-touted impeachment of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas.

Republicans across the Capitol crowed about their recommendation that the Senate boot Mayorkas from office in protest of his handling to the southern border — a vote that took them two attempts to pull off. Now that the House is done impeaching, however, some Senate Democrats are predicting that a snoozer will result from all the hype.

“We view it as a stunt,” Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) said of Senate Democrats’ outlook on the Mayorkas impeachment. “I bet the preference is going to be to spend as little time on it as possible so we can focus on [spending], the [national security aid debate] … and then I think we also want to take up the House’s bipartisan tax reform bill.”

Kaine added that, while the structure of any Mayorkas trial is up to leadership, Democrats have tools they can use to shortcut the proceedings right from the start.

“There’s different options. Do you do a motion to dismiss? Do you recommit to committee? I don’t know what the leadership is going to decide,” he said.

A motion to dismiss the articles of impeachment against Mayorkas would not be without precedent. Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) attempted to use a motion to dismiss at former President Donald Trump’s second impeachment trial, but the vote failed.

Senate Democratic leadership has already laid out some plans for the trial. Majority Leader Chuck Schumer’s office said House impeachment managers will present the articles of impeachment to the Senate after this week’s recess. Senators will be sworn in as jurors the next day and Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) will preside over the proceedings.

Schumer himself has called the Mayorkas impeachment a “sham” and insisted “House Republicans failed to present any evidence of anything resembling an impeachable offense.”

Senate conservatives are still pushing for more action, though. A group of them sent a letter Tuesday morning urging Minority Leader Mitch McConnell to “ensure that the Senate conducts a proper trial.” The letter was signed by 13 Senate Republicans in total.

But that saber-rattling can only go so far. McConnell does not have control over Senate floor proceedings — and plenty of his Republican members have cast their own doubts about the House’s rationale for impeaching Mayorkas in the first place.