The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Mayorkas’s impeachment trial

We’ve seen impeachment trials a lot on Capitol Hill in recent years. The Senate conducted two impeachment trials of former President Trump in early 2020 and early 2021.

But no living American has ever witnessed the impeachment trial which is about to begin in the United States Senate.

Blink and you might miss it.

The House impeached Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas in February. The House accuses Mayorkas of not following the law when it comes to securing the border and lying to Congress. Mayorkas became only the second cabinet secretary ever impeached. The first was Secretary of War William Belknap in 1876. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., hasn’t tipped his hand yet on how he’ll handle the articles, but Schumer is expected to move to dismiss or table the articles. The Senate must vote to do that. If all 51 senators who caucus with the Democrats vote to punt, they can extinguish the trial quickly.


But don’t expect Republicans to go quietly.

House Speaker Mike Johnson, R-La., says the Senate is obligated to conduct a full trial of Mayorkas and render judgment. Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, and other Republicans may try to elongate the trial. They argue that senators have a constitutional obligation to listen to arguments for and against impeachment. So expect them to make points of order – possibly forcing the Senate to vote – to consider the articles. However, Senate Democrats can euthanize each of those points of order – if they stick together and table each of the GOP motions.

Still, the trial might not last long. But here’s the minimum which must unfold on the Senate floor over the coming days.

Expect the following:

The House voted to impeach Mayorkas by a solitary vote in February. The House failed in its first effort to impeach after Rep. Al Green, D-Tex., materialized unexpectedly (directly from the hospital) and foiled the GOP’s plans. After a second vote to impeach, the House then appointed 11 impeachment "managers." They serve as de facto "prosecutors," presenting the House’s case to the Senate. House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Mark Green, R-Tenn., serves as the lead impeachment manager. All 100 senators will sit as "jurors" when the trial begins. Mayorkas does not appear at the trial nor is he required to attend.

On Wednesday, House Sergeant at Arms Bill McFarland and Acting Clerk of the House Kevin McCumber will escort the managers and the articles of impeachment themselves from the House, across the Capitol Rotunda, to the Senate wing of the Capitol. That’s where the Senate will "receive" the articles of impeachment. Senate Sergeant at Arms Karen Gibson will greet the House entourage in the Senate wing of the Capitol and escort everyone to the Senate chamber.

All 100 senators will await the coterie from the House. Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., is the President Pro Tempore of the Senate – the most senior member of the majority party. She will preside over the impeachment trial – not Chief Justice of the United States John Roberts. The Chief Justice typically only presides over impeachment trials involving the President or Vice President. Roberts was in charge for former President Trump’s first trial in 2020. But then-Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., presided over the second impeachment trial in 2021. Leahy was the Senate’s President Pro Tempore back then.


The impeachment articles are then read to the Senate.

It’s possible Lee and company could try to offer their motions then. But Murray could rule him out of order. The Senate hasn’t even sworn-in senators yet to adjudicate the trial. Moreover, the Senate could find itself either in legislative session (working on a bill) or executive session (working on a nomination) when the Senate stops its action to receive the articles. Therefore, motions by senators pertaining to the trial aren’t applicable at that moment.

Under Senate impeachment rules, things really get started the next day at 1 pm ET. That’s when the Senate swears in the senators. Gibson will announce that everyone should remain quiet "on pain of imprisonment." At that point, we are technically "in trial." Thus, motions are in order. In the past, the Senate could consider a resolution to establish parameters for how to handle the trial. Schumer could possibly move immediately to dismiss or table the articles. Or Lee and company could make their motions as well.

But here’s the problem for Republicans:

Schumer is the Senate Majority Leader. As Majority Leader, Schumer is recognized first by Murray, the presiding officer. Schumer could potentially short-circuit anything Republicans want to do by jumping ahead and making a motion to table or dismiss. The Senate would then vote on whether to halt proceedings right there. Republicans may never get a shot.

It is important to note that senators don’t "debate" during an impeachment trial. However, they could agree to debate in closed session – not out in the open.


However, a vote to dismiss the articles – or on anything Republicans cook up – carries political consequences for Democrats facing competitive re-election bids this fall. Think Sens. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, Jon Tester, D-Mont., Bob Casey, D-Mich., Tammy Baldwin, D-Wisc., and Jacky Rosen, D-Nev. Republicans will likely weaponize any roll call vote Democrats to truncate the impeachment trial. Republicans will try to portray these vulnerable Democrats as not taking the border or the charges leveled at Mayorkas seriously.

In short, the trial is likely to be short. Not the impeachment trials of former President Trump. The Senate spread out the first one over a period of 19 days. The second one consumed five days.

In fact, the model for a quick dismissal is an impeachment you probably haven’t heard of: Former federal judge Samuel Kent in 2009.

The House impeached Kent in June 2009. But Kent stepped down before the Senate trial began. The House then adopted a resolution to halt its "prosecution" of Kent. The Senate then voted to dispense with the articles before conducting a trial.

So Kent’s circumstances are not exactly what will go down with Mayorkas. But Kent’s scenario of a quick dismissal is closer to what could unfold in the next few days compared to the more robust trials of former President Trump.

Biden Cabinet secretary announces retirement ahead of ‘crazy, silly’ election season

U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Marcia Fudge announced Monday that she is stepping down from her position.

"It's time to go home,’’ Fudge told USA Today, which reported that her last day is March 22. "I do believe strongly that I have done just about everything I could do at HUD for this administration as we go into this crazy, silly season of an election."

With her departure, Fudge will become only the second original Cabinet member to leave the Biden administration after Labor Secretary Marty Walsh stepped down last year.

"From her time as a mayor, to her years as a fierce advocate in the U.S. House of Representatives, Marcia’s vision, passion, and focus on increasing economic opportunity have been assets to our country," President Biden said in a statement Monday. "I’m grateful for all of her contributions toward a housing system that works for all Americans, and I wish her well in her next chapter."


Biden described Fudge as a "strong voice for expanding efforts to build generational wealth through homeownership and lowering costs and promoting fairness for America’s renters. 

"Under Marcia’s transformational leadership, we have worked hard to lower housing costs and increase supply. We’ve proposed the largest investment in affordable housing in U.S. history," Biden added. "We’ve taken steps to aggressively combat racial discrimination in housing by ensuring home appraisals are more fair and by strengthening programs to redress the negative impacts of redlining. Thanks to Secretary Fudge, we’ve helped first-time homebuyers, and we are working to cut the cost of renting. And there are more housing units under construction right now than at any time in the last 50 years."

Fudge, 71, served as a Democrat in the House of Representatives from 2008 to 2021, representing the 11th Congressional District of Ohio which includes the city of Cleveland. 


"She was a member of several Congressional Caucuses and past Chair of the Congressional Black Caucus," her biography on the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development website says, adding that in 1999, she "was elected the first female and first African American mayor of Warrensville Heights, Ohio, a position she held for two terms."

Fudge also was the director of Budget and Finance at the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office in Ohio.

"Don’t look for me to ever be on another ballot or another appointee or anything like that,’’ she told USA Today, noting that she wants to spend more time with her mother – who turns 93 next month – and relatives in Ohio. "I really do look forward to being a private citizen."

She also argued that affordable housing should be a key focus for both Democrats and Republicans.

‘‘It is not a red or blue issue,’’ she told USA Today. "Everybody knows that it is an issue so it’s not a one-sided issue. It’s an American issue.’’

Fox News' Peter Doocy and Kaitlin Sprague contributed to this report.

Hunter has ties to nearly 2 dozen current, former Biden officials as federal charges, House probes loom

Nearly two dozen current and former officials serving in the White House and Biden administration, including the president's national security adviser and the secretary of state, have extensive ties to Hunter Biden, who is accused by Republicans of selling access to his father dating back over a decade.

A Fox News Digital analysis reveals the extent of Hunter's potential reach in the White House as the embattled first son faces federal tax charges in California, as well as a congressional investigation into his alleged influence peddling and foreign business deals.

Hunter pleaded not guilty during his initial court appearance this month after being charged with nine tax crimes stemming from an investigation by Justice Department Special Counsel David Weiss. A day earlier, he made a shocking appearance at a House Oversight Committee meeting where members were considering whether to hold him in contempt for defying a subpoena as part of the impeachment inquiry into his father, President Biden.

The most notable individuals from Fox's analysis include two members of Biden's Cabinet, one former Cabinet member, a top aide to Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, a national security adviser, four top Biden White House aides, the communications director for first lady Jill Biden, and multiple other former staffers.

All emails were reviewed and verified by Fox News Digital.

Former White House communications director Kate Bedingfield, who departed the role last year but is still a staunch defender of the Biden administration and serves as an outside surrogate, previously communicated with Hunter in 2016 about a column written by Joel Goldstein, a law professor, praising his father's presidency.

"It is excellent. We will move it around to the WH press corps," she wrote to Hunter and a number of others. Bedingfield was serving as then-Vice President Biden's communications director at the time.

Other emails from 2015 showed Bedingfield later tried to quash a Bloomberg story about Hunter at the request of his firm, Rosemont Seneca. The emails showed a close relationship between Biden's office, Hunter's longtime business partner Eric Schwerin, and the media.

Schwerin, who was the then-president of Hunter's now-defunct Rosemont Seneca Partners investment firm, asked Bedingfield whether there was any "follow up" by other news outlets on a New York Times story that said the "credibility of the vice president’s anti-corruption message may have been undermined" by Hunter’s serving on the board of Burisma Holdings.


Bedingfield, who is now a CNN political commentator, responded that a Bloomberg reporter had asked about it but was "doing everything she can to not use it."

"…VP just finished an interview with the Bloomberg reporter traveling with us and she asked about it, though she assures me she's doing everything she can to not use it," she wrote. "I will have a transcript soon but my quick notes on his answer are: No one has any doubt about my record on corruption, I don't talk to my son about his business and my children don't talk to me about mine, I have complete faith in my son."

Schwerin responded, "I would just urge her (as I know you are doing) that there is no new news there. And even if she uses it — she should avoid getting into past stories (Navy, etc.) that have nothing to do with this."

The story was ultimately published.

John Nevergole, a business executive who was tapped in 2022 to serve another term on President Biden's Advisory Council on Doing Business in Africa (PAC-DBIA), previously worked as a senior adviser to Rosemont Seneca and strategized with Hunter on brokering business deals in western Africa years prior to his appointment in the current administration.

Emails show Nevergole’s relationship with Hunter dating back to at least 2011. In an Aug. 5, 2011, email chain, Schwerin, then-president of Rosemont Seneca Advisors, informed Hunter that Nevergole had requested to split a retainer fee 70/30 for helping broker a deal between Rosemont and Brazilian construction giant OAS.


After Hunter pushed back on the price, Schwerin, who was also a member of ABD’s board of advisers for several years, said, "So, I am OK with 70/30 … Mainly because I think the relationship can bear fruit in other areas down the line, e.g. in Africa if we choose to focus there."

A few years later, Schwerin emailed Hunter on May 29, 2014, saying he "talked to John Nevergole yesterday, and he said you had mentioned to him you wanted to discuss natural gas at some point."

At the time, Hunter had just been appointed to serve as a board member for Ukrainian oil and gas company Burisma Holdings, for which he had received intense scrutiny over several years that prompted him to later admit he used "poor judgment" and that he would not join the board again if he could do things over.

The two communicated frequently from 2010 to 2017.

Michael Hochman, a White House aide who has held multiple positions in the Biden administration, including White House deputy staff secretary, previously spent nearly two decades at a Delaware law firm that was heavily involved with corporate entities tied to Hunter, his business associates and other Biden family members.

Between January 2021 and June 2022, Hochman served as the White House deputy staff secretary before joining the White House’s recently created Office of the National Cyber Director (ONCD), which advises Biden on cybersecurity policy and strategy. Hochman started out as the deputy general counsel and deputy chief of staff before being promoted to chief of staff last November.

Fox's analysis found several emails between Hochman and Hunter sent during the Obama-Biden administration, in addition to nearly a dozen Biden-linked corporate entities that were registered through the law firm where Hochman spent most of his career.


The review found that Monzack Mersky McLaughlin and Browder had served as the registered agents for Owasco LLC, Rosemont Seneca Advisors, and Robinson Walker LLC, which is owned by Hunter's former business partner, Rob Walker. Fox News Digital previously reported that members of the Biden family received more than $1 million in payments from accounts related to Walker's LLC and their Chinese business ventures involving CEFC affiliate State Energy HK in 2017.

Multiple Biden family accounts, including those belonging to Hunter, Hallie Biden and an unnamed Biden, also received approximately $1.038 million from the same Walker LLC account after Bladon Enterprises, which reportedly belonged to Gabriel "Puiu" Popoviciu, a Romanian tycoon, deposited over $3 million between November 2015 to May 2017. According to a 2017 email from Walker, which was obtained by the Senate Finance Committee, Walker viewed himself as a "surrogate" for Hunter and his uncle, Jim Biden, when "gauging [business] opportunities."

Less than six months before Hunter and his longtime business partner, Devon Archer, became board members at the Burisma energy company in Ukraine in 2014, email correspondence shows that a top aide to then-Secretary of State John Kerry, who announced this month that he was leaving the Biden administration to serve as an adviser for the Biden campaign, was telling some of his fellow State Department officials that Kerry and Hunter had a close friendship and that Hunter asked Kerry to speak to his Georgetown University grad students on March 18, 2014.

"Just spoke with Hunter Biden, good friend of S, who teaches a class at Georgetown on advocacy," David Wade wrote. "He'd like S to speak to his class on 3/18. If S is here, he'll for sure want to do this. Class would come here to HST."


On the day of the class, Archer told Hunter he would send a briefing he put together on Burisma ahead of Hunter's trip the following day to New York City to meet with him. It is unclear whether Kerry had knowledge of the conversations between Hunter and Archer about Burisma in March 2014 or in the weeks following the class. 

Kerry's stepson, Chris Heinz, was a business partner of Hunter and Archer at the time, but he reportedly severed ties with the firm later that year. And a spokesperson attributed their Burisma board memberships as a "major catalyst for Mr. Heinz ending his business relationships with Mr. Archer and Mr. Biden."

However, he still remained friendly with them in emails more than a year after they joined the Burisma board.

Hunter Biden and President Biden’s national security adviser, Jake Sullivan, served together on the board of the Truman National Security Project, a liberal foreign policy think tank, for roughly two years before Sullivan joined the president’s campaign in 2020.

Hunter, who started serving on the board in 2012, and Sullivan both served on the Washington-based nonprofit’s board between 2017 and early 2019, according to internet archives captured by Wayback Machine.

During that time, Hunter was also serving on the board of Ukrainian energy company Burisma Holdings and the Chinese private equity fund BHR Partners. The federal investigation into Hunter's foreign business dealings, which is still ongoing, also launched during the same time frame in 2018.


Sullivan has been accused by former White House official Mike McCormick of being a "conspirator" in the Biden family's "kickback scheme" in Ukraine when Biden was vice president.

Sullivan denied the allegations, telling reporters that he had nothing to do with such an operation.

White House chief of staff Jeff Zients, who led the federal COVID-19 pandemic response between early 2021 and April 2022, met Hunter multiple times in 2016, according to emails and White House visitor logs.

Zients met with Hunter Biden twice in February 2016 and on another occasion in May 2016, just months before Biden, the vice president at the time, was set to leave the White House.

Biden attended the first two meetings, both of which took place at the U.S. Naval Observatory, where the vice presidential residence is located.

Additionally, Anne Marie Muldoon, who was an assistant for then-Vice President Biden between 2014 and 2017, sent Hunter Biden an invitation to attend a potential fourth meeting with his father, Zients, David Bradley, a Washington, D.C.-based political consultant and chair of media group Atlantic Media, and Eric Lander at the Naval Observatory on July 12, 2016. While it is unclear whether Hunter Biden joined the meeting, Muldoon sent him a copy of the meeting agenda after it took place.

Biden’s former White House chief of staff, Ron Klain, who stepped down last year, previously served as the chief of staff for Vice President Biden until the end of January 2011. In September 2012, Klain reached out to Hunter for help in raising $20,000 for the Vice President's Residence Foundation (VPRF), telling him to "keep this low low key" to prevent "bad PR," according to emails Fox News Digital previously reported on.

"The tax lawyers for the VP Residence Foundation have concluded that since the Cheney folks last raised money in 2007 and not 2008, we actually have to have some incoming funds before the end of this fiscal year (i.e., before 9/30/12 – next week) to remain eligible to be a 'public charity,'" Klain, who had left his chief of staff position in Vice President Biden's office a year earlier but was the foundation's chair at the time, said in an email to Hunter.


"It's not much – we need to raise a total of $20,000 – so I'm hitting up a few very close friends on a very confidential basis to write checks of $2,000 each," Klain continued. "We need to keep this low low key, because raising money for the Residence now is bad PR – but it has to be done, so I'm trying to just collect the 10 checks of $2,000, get it done in a week, and then, we can do an event for the Residence Foundation after the election."

Hunter then forwarded the email to Schwerin, who helped manage a majority of Hunter's finances, and the two discussed donating to the foundation, though it's not clear what was ultimately decided.

Klain's career with Biden dates back to his failed presidential campaign in 1988 and serving as counsel to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Annie Tomasini, an assistant to the president and the current director of Oval Office operations, was in frequent communication with Hunter, referred to him as her "brother" and often ended her emails with "LY" for "love you," according to emails dating from 2010 to 2016.

Biden publicly announced on Dec. 20, 2010, that Tomasini was stepping down to take a position with Harvard University, and Tomasini kept Hunter clued in on the details of that position before she took it, according to emails. The month prior, on Nov. 19, 2010, she forwarded information to Hunter about Harvard’s employee benefits and added, "Thanks."

"Hey – I looked at benefits[.] And they look pretty amazing. Any word on comp?" Hunter responded on Nov. 23, 2010.

"I'll keep you posted. Thanks for looking at all the background Hunt," Tomasini replied.

Tomasini was offered the job on Nov. 30, 2010, writing to Hunter, "Director of intergovernmental relations. > 120k ish – may be a little higher."

She later thanked him and said she was going to tell his father the news. Months later, Hunter gave a speech at Harvard but not before running the draft by Tomasini first.

Tomasini has accompanied Biden and Hunter to Camp David on multiple occasions.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken held a meeting with Hunter Biden at the State Department in July 2015 when he was serving as the deputy secretary of state in the Obama-Biden administration and Hunter was on Burisma's board, according to emails previously reviewed and verified by Fox News Digital.

The meeting was two months in the making after Hunter emailed Blinken in late May 2015, asking, "Have a few minutes next week to grab a cup of coffee? I know you are impossibly busy, but would like to get your advice on a couple of things."

Blinken said "absolutely" and Hunter forwarded Blinken's full email response to Devon Archer, who was also serving on the Burisma board with him. However, the initial meeting appeared to have been canceled due to the admission of Hunter’s older brother, Beau Biden, to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Maryland because of a recurrence of brain cancer. Beau died on May 30, 2015.

Less than two months later, Blinken and Hunter met, prompting Blinken to send a follow-up email saying it was "great to see" Hunter and "catch up."

In April 2023, former CIA Deputy Director Michael Morell testified before the House Judiciary and Intelligence committees that Blinken, as President Biden’s then-campaign senior adviser, "played a role in the inception" of the public statement signed by intelligence officials to assert that Hunter’s abandoned laptop was part of a Russian disinformation campaign just weeks before the 2020 presidential election.

Blinken denied having any role in getting the letter signed by members of the intelligence community and said, "One of the great benefits of this job is that I don't do politics and don't engage in it. But with regard to that letter, I didn't – it wasn't my idea, didn't ask for it, didn't solicit it."

Emails from Hunter's laptop that Blinken allegedly sought to discredit show that Hunter had ties to Blinken and his wife, Evan Ryan, dating back more than a decade. Those emails also show that Hunter scheduled meetings with Blinken while he was on the board of Burisma and Blinken was the deputy secretary of state.

Multiple profile pieces over the years said Blinken has advised Biden on more than just foreign policy in his decades-long friendship with the president and serving as a confidant. Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del., President Biden's reelection campaign co-chair, told CNN in 2021, "President Biden is personally close to both Tony Blinken and Evan Ryan, and Tony has been an incredibly loyal, capable and effective adviser, staffer and personal friend of the sort that is rare in Washington."

Elizabeth Alexander, the communications director for first lady Jill Biden, also has ties to Hunter. 

In 2014, Alexander, who served as Biden’s spokesperson when he was a senator and the vice president, reached out to praise Hunter for his statement after he was kicked out of the Navy Reserve for testing positive for cocaine.

"Hey Hunter – just wanted to write you a quick note to say David and I are thinking of you," she wrote in an email. "Your statement was perfect and gracious. Sending you a virtual hug from both of us and hoping you can get some peace this weekend."

Alexander is married to David Wade, a former State Department staffer who helped advise Hunter with rapid response as he was receiving increased public scrutiny about his lucrative position with Burisma.

Emails uncovered by Fox News Digital last year showed Hunter's firm, Rosemont Seneca Partners, was paying Wade for communications consulting, and he strategized with Hunter and his partners on how to respond to inquiries by the Wall Street Journal and New York Times.

Wade has visited the White House at least five times during Biden's presidency, according to visitor logs. 

Evan Ryan, Blinken's wife who is currently serving as White House cabinet secretary, communicated frequently with Hunter and his longtime business partner, Eric Schwerin, when she was working at the White House during the Obama-Biden administration.

Hunter tried to connect with Blinken on June 16, 2010, when he asked Ryan for his non-government email address, according to emails. Ryan, who also worked on Biden's unsuccessful 2008 presidential campaign, then provided Blinken's personal email address to Hunter.

White House visitor logs also show that Schwerin, who was the president of Hunter Biden’s investment firm Rosemont Seneca Partners for several years, met with Ryan at the White House's Old Executive Office Building (OEOB) in October 2010.

She was also in communication with Hunter and Schwerin about a couple of White House events that year, including the Mexico state dinner and the annual Easter Egg Roll.

"OVP has 250 tix to the Easter Egg Roll and your Mom has an additional 200. Family, etc is coming out of your Mom's allotment," Schwerin said in the email to Hunter, referring to Blinken's wife. "Evan is handling your Dad's and we can pass on names to her for outreach purposes. Let's discuss. I don't think we have 50 spots, but if we had 20 or so names we'd probably be fine."

"More importantly, OVP has 12 spots to fill for the Mexico State Dinner in May and needs to send in their names by Monday," he continued. "Evan is looking for any suggestions. Hispanic Americans or just any outreach related suggestions. Obviously they won't have trouble filling this number but is still looking for suggestions."

A couple of months later, Hunter and Ryan exchanged emails about the Mexico State dinner guest list, and she sent him the seating chart for his table.

Fox News Digital previously reported several other ties between Hunter and Ryan.

Kathy Chung, who is currently serving as the Pentagon's deputy director of protocol, communicated frequently with Hunter when she was serving as Biden's executive assistant during the Obama administration.

Throughout much of her five-year tenure working for Biden, Chung regularly shared information with Hunter about his father's schedule and passed messages directly from the then-vice president, according to emails.

Chung's relationship with Hunter also appears to date back to before she worked for his father. The emails showed that Hunter recommended Chung for the executive assistant role when the previous holder of the job, Michele Smith, departed the White House in the spring of 2012.

A month after Chung thanked Hunter for "thinking" of her and getting her to apply for a job in the vice president's office, Chung emailed Hunter Biden to inform him that she had been offered the job.

"I cannot thank you enough for thinking about me and walking me thru this," she said. "What an incredible opportunity! Thanks, Hunter!!"

In another email exchange shortly after the Obama-Biden administration concluded, Hunter suggested that Chung come work at his company. It does not appear that she ever joined Hunter's company.

Chung made headlines last year after she was reportedly questioned by federal investigators as part of the probe into the president's handling of classified documents.

Michael Donilon, a current senior adviser to Biden who served as his chief campaign strategist in 2020, was on dozens of emails with Hunter and other members of Biden's inner circle coordinating strategy meetings throughout the 2012 campaign, mulling over a 2016 presidential bid, and later plotting Biden's endeavors post-vice presidency.

In August 2015, Schwerin shared a Politico article with Hunter that said Donilon and a few other advisers from Biden's inner circle, including Hunter, are the only ones "involved in the real decision-making."

An email from February 2016 showed that Hunter, Donilon and a few others were also involved in the planning stages for the Biden Foundation. And shortly after Biden left office in 2017, Hunter, Donilon and others in his inner circle were invited to a meeting at Biden's residence in McLean, Virginia, according to emails. 

Days later, Hunter, Donilon and several others were invited to a meeting at Biden's Wilmington, Delaware, home where classified documents were recently discovered. The meeting took place on Feb. 7, 2017, the same day it was announced that the former vice president would be leading the Penn Biden Center at the University of Pennsylvania, where classified documents were also found, and the Biden Institute at the University of Delaware.

Donilon accompanied Biden a few months ago on the trip to Ireland, which included Hunter and Biden's sister, Valerie Biden Owens.

Steve Ricchetti, who currently serves as Biden's White House counselor, was also on dozens of emails with Hunter dealing with strategy meetings and helping Biden with post-VP life.

Fox News Digital reported last year that Schwerin visited the White House at least eight times in 2016, meeting with Ricchetti at least twice when he was serving as Biden’s chief of staff. 

Morell, the former CIA deputy director who testified in April, said he received a call in October 2020 from Ricchetti, who was serving as the chair of Biden's campaign at the time, following the Joe Biden's final debate against then-President Trump, when Biden said the Hunter laptop was a "Russian plant" and a "bunch of garbage." 

Morell said the call from Ricchetti was to thank him for spearheading the letter signed by intelligence officials that tried to debunk the laptop. 

In addition to the aforementioned top current and former Biden officials that Hunter was in frequent contact with during the Obama administration and years following, Hunter also had frequent contact with these other Biden administration officials and aides: first lady Jill Biden's senior adviser, Anthony Bernal; Louisa Terrell, an assistant to the president and the director of the Office of Legislative Affairs; State Department protocol officer Nancy Orloff; U.S. Representative to the European Union Mark Gitenstein; former Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Colin Kahl, among others.

The White House and Hunter Biden's lawyer did not respond to Fox News Digital's requests for comment.

Fox News’ Thomas Catenacci contributed to this report.

Mayorkas tells Border Patrol agents that ‘above 85%’ of illegal immigrants released into US: sources

Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas on Monday admitted to Border Patrol agents that the current rate of release for illegal immigrants apprehended at the southern border is "above 85%," sources told Fox News.

Mayorkas made the remarks when meeting privately with agents in Eagle Pass, Texas, according to three Border Patrol sources who were in the room and heard the remarks themselves.

The conversation happened during the muster for agents in the busy border area. Fox is told Mayorkas was asked directly about comments he made on "Special Report" last week when he was asked by anchor Bret Baier about reporting that over 70% of migrants are released into the U.S. each day.


"It would not surprise me at all. I know the data," Mayorkas said. "And I will tell you that when individuals are released, they are released into immigration enforcement proceedings. They are on alternatives to detention. And we have returned or removed a record number of individuals. We are enforcing the laws that Congress has passed. "

Fox is told that on Monday agents pushed him on those remarks, saying that the number is even higher than 70%, and then Mayorkas acknowledged a release rate of "above 85%."

Mayorkas had also said last week on "Special Report" that "well more than a million" migrants are released into the U.S. annually, and argued repeatedly that it is up to Congress to provide more funding and immigration reform to fix what he has called a "broken" system. He said that the agency is limited in detention capacity by funding provided by Congress.

"When somebody enters the country, we place them in immigration enforcement proceedings pursuant to immigration law, and if their claim for relief, their claim to remain in the United States succeeds, then by law they are able to stay here," he said.

The remarks come just two days before the House Homeland Security Committee holds its first impeachment hearing, featuring multiple state attorneys general who will testify about the impact the crisis has had on their states.

The hearing on Wednesday marks the first impeachment hearing after a year of investigations and reports by the House Homeland Security Committee which looked at the handling of the nearly three-year migrant crisis.

Republicans have blamed the historic migrant crisis, which saw 302,000 migrant encounters last month alone on Biden-era policies, including the releases of migrants into the interior -- dubbed "catch-and-release." They have pointed to the broad use of parole, as well as narrowed ICE enforcement and the stopping of wall construction.


The administration says it is dealing with a hemisphere-wide crisis and needs more funding and comprehensive immigration reform from Congress. It has claimed it is expanding "lawful migration pathways" and increasing consequences for illegal entry, but can only do so much with a "broken" system. Mayorkas and other DHS officials have said that it has removed or returned more than 470,000 people since May, which is more than in the entirety of FY 2019.

The White House has also requested $14 billion in border funding from Congress as part of its emergency supplemental spending proposal, but that is being held up as Republicans demand significantly more restrictions on the release of migrants into the interior.

Mayorkas said last week that it was that broken system, not administration policy, which was the magnet drawing migrants to the border.

"What is a magnet is the fact that the time in between an encounter of an individual at the border and their final ruling in their immigration case can sometimes take six or more years. That is a magnet, which is why precisely why I am working with Republicans and Democrats in the United States Senate to deliver a solution for the American people, to deliver a fix to an immigration system that everyone agrees is broken, and that is long overdue," he said.

Separately, the administration last week announced a lawsuit against the state of Texas after Gov. Greg Abbott signed a law that allows state and local law enforcement to arrest illegal immigrants. The lawsuit claims that the law is unconstitutional and interferes with the federal government's authority on immigration matters.

Fox News' Charles Creitz contributed to this report.

House Homeland Security Committee sets first Mayorkas impeachment hearing

A House committee has set the date for its first impeachment hearing into Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, escalating its push against the Cabinet official.

The Homeland Security Committee, led by Chairman Mark Green, R-Tenn., will hold its first impeachment hearing into Mayorkas on Jan. 10, the committee told Fox News Digital.

Green told Fox News Digital that for "almost three years, the American people have demanded an end to the unprecedented crisis at the Southwest border, and they have also rightly called for Congress to hold accountable those responsible."


"That’s why the House Committee on Homeland Security led a comprehensive investigation into the causes, costs, and consequences of this crisis," Green said. "Our investigation made clear that this crisis finds its foundation in Secretary Mayorkas’ decision-making and refusal to enforce the laws passed by Congress, and that his failure to fulfill his oath of office demands accountability."

"The bipartisan House vote in November to refer articles of impeachment to my Committee only served to highlight the importance of our taking up the impeachment process – which is what we will begin doing next Wednesday," he added.

Punchbowl first reported the date of the Mayorkas impeachment hearing.

DHS spokesperson Mia Ehrenberg told Fox News Digital the "House majority is wasting valuable time and taxpayer dollars pursuing a baseless political exercise that has been rejected by members of both parties and already failed on a bipartisan vote."

"There is no valid basis to impeach Secretary Mayorkas, as senior members of the House majority have attested, and this extreme impeachment push is a harmful distraction from our critical national security priorities," Ehrenberg said.

"Secretary Mayorkas and the Department of Homeland Security will continue working every day to keep Americans safe," she added.

The hearing – titled "Havoc in the Heartland: How Secretary Mayorkas’ Failed Leadership Has Impacted the States" – will delve into how Midwestern states have been affected by the growing influx of illegal immigrants at the southern border.

If impeached, Mayorkas would be the first Cabinet secretary to receive the black mark since 1876.

Fox News Digital has reached out to House Homeland Security Committee Democrats for comment.

Mayorkas has been in the sights of congressional Republicans as the crisis at the southern border spiraled out of control.

Hundreds of thousands of migrants crossed into the U.S., with Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) sources last month telling Fox News Digital that there were over 276,000 migrant encounters near the end of December.

That number set a new record for crossings in a month.

The previous record was set in September when officials saw 269,735 encounters. The number includes illegal immigrants encountered between ports of entry and migrants entering at ports of entry via the CBP One app.

House Republicans have been seeking impeachment against Mayorkas but have faced an uphill climb in their quest.

In early November, the House GOP moved to impeach Mayorkas, only to have the effort tabled by eight Republicans who joined with Democrats.

The defeat came after Republicans upset conservatives and border hawks earlier in 2023 when they tried and failed to attach H.R. 2 – the House Republicans’ signature border security and asylum overhaul legislation – to a continuing resolution to keep the federal government open. 

Instead, the House ended up passing a "clean" continuing resolution, which in turn led to the ouster of Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif. In mid-November, the House passed another continuing resolution to avoid a pre-holiday season shutdown. That too did not contain policy riders, including those related to border security.

Fox News Digital's Adam Shaw contributed reporting.

Sen. Marshall introduces resolution for vote of no confidence in Mayorkas amid Senate grilling

FIRST ON FOX: Sen. Roger Marshall, R-Kansas, on Tuesday announced that he is introducing a resolution to trigger a vote of no confidence in Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas -- just as the DHS chief was facing a grilling from lawmakers at a top committee.

"Mr. Secretary, you are derelict in your duties. I would be derelict to not do something about this. And that's why I have a draft resolution here that I intend to introduce in the coming days that would require the Senate to take a vote of no confidence on Secretary Mayorkas," he said as he questioned Mayorkas in a Senate Homeland Security Committee hearing.

"I stand at the ready to receive articles of impeachment from the House and conduct an impeachment trial in this body. But in the meantime, I think the Senate must show our colleagues in the House that we've had enough of the failures from the Department of Homeland Security and believe that the secretary is not fit to faithfully carry out the duties of his office," he said.


The draft resolution, obtained by Fox News Digital, states that Mayorkas "does not have the confidence of the Senate or of the American people to faithfully carry out the duties of his office."

The resolution accuses Mayorkas of having "engaged in a pattern of conduct that is incompatible with his constitutional and statutory duties as Secretary of Homeland Security." 

Specifically, it says that he has failed to take the necessary actions to achieve operational control of the southern border, something the head of Border Patrol has said the agency does not have.

It cites "more than 5,500,000 illegal aliens crossing the United States southern border during Secretary Mayorkas’ term in office, including 20 consecutive months with more than 150,000 illegal border crossings and a 180 percent increase in encounters at the southern border compared to the previous administration"


It also notes the apprehension of nearly 100 individuals on the terror watch list, an increase in fentanyl seizures and "gotaways" at the border, and also cites a number of moves by the administration that it says has encouraged illegal immigration – including the ending of the border wall construction, ending of the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP) and attempts to end the Title 42 public health order – which will end next month.

It also notes Mayorkas' role in the controversy surrounding Border Patrol agents who were falsely accused of whipping Haitian migrants in 2021.

Marshall's resolution comes as Republicans in the House have been mulling an impeachment push since last year over what they see as the Biden administration's policies that have exacerbated the migrant crisis. Multiple lawmakers have introduced articles of impeachment, but none have yet been voted on. Should Mayorkas be impeached in the House, the process would then move to the Senate for a trial. Mayorkas could not be removed by the Senate without the House voting first. 


Mayorkas has become a lightning rod for Republican criticism over the border crisis, and scrutiny has increased ahead of the looming end of Title 42 expulsions at the beginning of May. While the administration has been touting relatively lower numbers in recent months – which it ties to border measures introduced in January that included increased expulsions of a humanitarian parole program for four nationalities – officials fear a massive increase in apprehensions once Title 42 drops.

The Biden administration has dismissed the push by Republicans in the House to impeach Mayorkas, saying that Congress should instead focus on fixing what it says is a broken immigration system. A spokesperson on Tuesday renewed those calls in response to Marshall's resolution.

"Secretary Mayorkas is proud to advance the noble mission of this Department, support its extraordinary workforce, and serve the American people. The Department will continue to enforce our laws and secure our border, protect the nation from terrorism, improve our cybersecurity, all while building a safe, orderly, and humane immigration system. Instead of pointing fingers and pursuing baseless attacks, Congress should work with the Department and pass legislation to fix our broken immigration system, which has not been updated in over 40 years." a spokesperson said on Tuesday.


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