Watch Stephen Colbert’s hilarious take on GOP’s latest impeachment fail

The Republican Party’s attempted impeachment fiasco and beleaguered House Speaker Mike Johnson were the subjects of late-night talk show host Stephen Colbert’s opening monologue Wednesday night. Colbert observed that while the House Republicans targeting Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas “never identified a specific high crime or misdemeanor for the impeachment, which is usually kind of a thing,” the event was still historic.

It's only the second time in America that a Cabinet member has been impeached. The first was Secretary of War William Belknap back in 1876, which Congress accused of ‘prostituting his high office to his lust for private gain.’ 

[In Trump voice singing Bette Midler song] Did you ever know that you're my hero …

Colbert then laid it on thick, claiming that his entire show would be dedicated to covering the Senate’s impeachment trial of Mayorkas, before someone off camera told him the Senate immediately voted to dismiss the articles of impeachment. 

“That was quick,” said a stunned Colbert. “So, what do you guys want to talk about?”

Colbert then pivoted to the precarious position GOP Speaker Mike Johnson finds himself in, even though “they just got rid of the last guy six months ago.”

Republican speaker of the House has joined the list of least secure jobs, just below No. 2 leader of ISIS; World's Oldest Man; and Rupert Murdoch fiancée.

Colbert: Republican Speaker of the House Mike Johnson, seen here in his profile pic on

After playing a clip of Johnson telling Fox Business’ Maria Bartiromo that Trump is "100% with me," Colbert threw to a clip of Trump being asked whether he will support Johnson.

Trump: Well, we'll see what happens with that.

Colbert: That is a dose of classic Trump loyalty. He's got your back ... so he can push you under a bus.

Zachary Mueller is the senior research director for America’s Voice and America’s Voice Education Fund. He brings his expertise on immigration politics to talk about how much money the GOP is using to promote its racist immigration campaigns.

GOP senators demand impeachment trial as government shutdown looms

With a government shutdown looming, 13 Republican senators, led by Utah Sen. Mike Lee and Texas’ pretend cowboy Sen. Ted Cruz, released a letter they said they sent to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell demanding he make a big stink about holding an impeachment trial for Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas. Lee even posted a copy of the letter with some vaguely legible signatures to his X (formerly Twitter) account. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer is expected to dismiss the bogus bit of political theater.

The Republican-led House was able to impeach Mayorkas after one embarrassing failure of an attempt, making it the first time a Cabinet official has been impeached in 150 years. The Senate GOP members making hay out of the impeachment process continue to remind the public how Democratic officials proved (and Republican officials admitted) the entire exercise was disingenuous.

The letter, which was signed by Sens. Mike Lee, Ted Cruz, Eric Schmitt, Rick Scott, Ron Johnson, J.D. Vance, Roger Marshall, Josh Hawley, Mike Braun, Tommy Tuberville, Ted Budd, Cynthia Lummis, and Marsha Blackburn, contains a lot of what we have come to expect from the do-nothing Republican Party. The general pantomime of the GOP around the impeachment of Mayorkas involves an imaginary belief that the GOP is strong on border security. It is fitting that conservative senators like Lee, who voted against the bipartisan border security deal, would also spend their time trying to create a political theater production of impeachment instead of making the hard compromises and decisions needed to get things done.

Senators like Cruz have used their party’s disarray to take shots at current leaders like McConnell. On Sunday, Cruz told Fox News that “if Republican leadership in the Senate doesn’t like the criticism, here’s an opportunity to demonstrate some backbone.” Cruz and Lee are joined by self-promoters like Sen. Josh Hawley, who has had his own public spats with Republican leadership in recent months.

The government is set to shut down on March 1. House Republicans seem unable to chew gum and … chew gum. Senate Republicans who spent many decades in lockstep with McConnell’s leadership seem to have lost the ability to tie their shoes. The Senate is coming off of an 11-day recess. McConnell has not responded to inquiries from media outlets for his response to the letter as of the writing of this story.

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Ohhhhh yeah! Democrats kicked ass and then some in Tuesday's special election in New York, so of course we're talking all about it on this week's episode of "The Downballot." Co-hosts David Nir and David Beard explain how Tom Suozzi's win affects the math for Democrats' plan to take back the House, then dive into the seemingly bottomless list of excuses Republicans have been making to handwave their defeat away. The bottom line: Suozzi effectively neutralized attacks on immigration—and abortion is still a huge loser for the GOP.

Marjorie Taylor Greene asks if Republicans are ‘being bribed’ to oppose impeachment

Marjorie Taylor Greene gave a doozy of an interview with right-wing podcast host Charlie Kirk on Wednesday to commiserate about House Republicans’ failed impeachment vote Tuesday of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas. 

Greene has been big mad about the failed vote and, like many of her pro-impeachment colleagues, is looking for someone—anyone—to blame, including Democrats for trying “to throw us off on the numbers.” 

But Greene has plenty of disdain for the Republicans who voted against the bill too. When Kirk asked why Ken Buck of Colorado, Tom McClintock of California, and Mike Gallagher of Wisconsin voted against impeachment, Greene seemed flabbergasted—but didn’t rule out the possibility that “they’re being bribed.”

Kirk fed the Georgia congresswoman the utterly baseless idea, asking, “Do you think these people are being blackmailed by the intel agencies? They might have had relations with certain  people and pictures and compromised. Do you think that they're currently being blackmailed?”

And Greene took the bait.

You know, I have no proof of that, but again, I can't understand the vote. So, nothing surprises me in Washington, D.C. anymore, Charlie. Literally, nothing surprises me because—it doesn't make sense to anyone, right? Why would anyone vote no? Why would anyone protect Mayorkas unless they're being bribed, unless there's something going on, unless they're making a deal. You know, because you can't understand it. It makes no sense. And it's completely wrong to vote no on impeachment.

Greene also speculated that Buck, who is retiring, is “trying to get a job working for CNN like Adam Kinzinger.” She insisted that McClintock is clearly not a real “constitutionalist.” And after listing off all of Gallagher’s military intelligence and military bonafides, she concluded, “I can't understand why he made that vote. But he did.” 

Greene might not understand it, but that doesn’t mean these Republican congressmen haven’t been clear and open about their reasons for voting against the impeachment stunt. 

Gallagher explained his opposition in an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal, titled “Why I Voted Against the Alejandro Mayorkas Impeachment.” 

“Creating a new, lower standard for impeachment, one without any clear limiting principle, wouldn’t secure the border or hold Mr. Biden accountable,” he wrote. “It would only pry open the Pandora’s box of perpetual impeachment.”

McClintock also explained his opposition in a speech on the House floor before Tuesday’s vote.

“Cabinet secretaries can't serve two masters. They can be impeached for committing a crime related to their office but not for carrying out presidential policy,” he said. “I'm afraid that stunts like this don't help."

On Wednesday, McClintock appeared on C-SPAN’s “Washington Journal” to again defend his vote, and responded to Greene saying McClintock needs to “read the room.

“I suggest she read the Constitution that she took an oath to support and defend,” he said. “That Constitution very clearly lays out the grounds for impeachment,” he said. “This dumbs down those grounds dramatically and would set a precedent that could be turned against the conservatives on the Supreme Court or a future Republican administration the moment the Democrats take control of the Congress.”

Nevertheless, Greene “can’t understand” why her Republican colleagues weren’t on board with her impeachment aspirations. It must be a conspiracy.  

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Even Lou Dobbs seems tired of the Hunter Biden investigation

The Republican Party’s evidence-less investigation of Hunter Biden’s business affairs continues to reveal … nothing new or criminal on the part of President Joe Biden. Rep. Andy Biggs is on the Republican Hunter Biden fishing expedition committee, which is chaired by Rep. James Comer. Biggs went on “Lou Dobbs Tonight” to discuss all of the nothing he has been able to find on Joe and Hunter Biden.

Biggs tells Dobbs that while they think Hunter Biden is guilty of something, they clearly do not have enough evidence to do anything legal about it. Dobbs, whose painting of Howdy Doody in the attic must look ancient by now, seems pretty fed up with it all.

Congressman, I have to say to you, it sounds to me like we're right where we were six months ago. It really does. I don't see any advancement in this, and a progress toward incriminating evidence for the president. I mean, what we're talking about is a stasis. It's as if everything is frozen right there in time, waiting for either contradiction, invalidation of these statements by people, that I think everyone would assume common sense tells you that they're lying through their teeth and trying to protect someone. But that's insufficient.

It’s hard to argue against the fact that every witness Comer and others have claimed would provide the smoking gun evidence against President Joe Biden has fallen flat or had it blow up in their faces. In fact, these witnesses have ended up supporting the idea that Biden didn’t do anything wrong in regards to supporting his wayward son. 

Oversight Democrats, led by Rep. Jamie Raskin, have continued to point out that real issues of oversight remain untouched by the Republican-led committees in the House. Issues like the catastrophic train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio, last year. GOP leaders like Donald Trump were quick to blame Joe Biden and fundraise a lot of cash on the tragedy, but were unwilling to lift a finger to investigate what could be done to mitigate such disasters in the future. 

Republicans and their propaganda outlets have been screeching about how much of a crisis there is on the border, and how badly we need security. Instead of working out a deal, House Republicans begin a constitutionally dubious impeachment stunt against Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas. Then when Senate Democrats worked out a deal with Senate Republicans—a deal that is in no way progressive but might at least help fulfill some of our promised foreign aid obligations—Republicans turned around and tried to kill it.

The Republican Party is a depressingly dangerous political theater troupe at this point. The only thing they seem able to do now is demand action, create committee witch hunts, and when Democratic lawmakers and Joe Biden call them on their bluster, become impotently angry. Whether Dobbs’ seeming exhaustion is indicative of a meaningful trend among any of the people who still pay attention to him remains to be seen.

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It is primary season, and Donald Trump seems pretty low energy these days. Kerry and Markos talk about the chances of Trump stumbling through the election season and the need to press our advantage and make gains in the House and Senate. Meanwhile, the right-wing media world is losing its collective minds about Taylor Swift registering younger Americans to vote!

Watch: Republicans slammed for ‘debasing and demeaning’ the Constitution

On Tuesday, the House Homeland Security Committee met to discuss the Republican-created articles of impeachment against Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas. The entire enterprise against Mayorkas has been an example of one of the most transparent weaponizations of impeachment provisions in our lifetime. 

Rep. Daniel Goldman decided to use his time to give a masterclass on how hypocritical, political, and ultimately dangerous this endeavor is, describing the proceedings as “completely debasing and demeaning the impeachment clause of the United States Constitution, and it is a gross, gross injustice to the credibility of this institution.” Goldman reminded the committee that impeachment has only been used against people who have abused their power and should not be used as a way to attack what you might believe to be “bad” policy. “That is for elections and that is for legislation,” Goldman continued.

He then drilled into the political nature of these proceedings, and how they are an attempt to give Donald Trump and congressional Republicans something to run on during this election cycle: “You are sitting here right now trying to impeach a secretary of Homeland Security for neglecting his duties literally while he is trying to perform his duties and negotiate legislation.” Finally, Goldman detailed the catch-22 of nongovernance being performed by the GOP, and how corrosive it is to our country.

So your own party is sabotaging and undermining this administration's efforts to address the border while you are trying to impeach him by saying that they're not addressing the border. The hypocrisy is the least of it. Your attack on the rule of law and our democracy is the worst of it. And you better be careful about the bed that you make. I yield back.

Mayorkas has been a publicly convenient symbol for Republican attacks on immigration policy. No matter how jaw-droppingly obvious the fallacy of their attacks may seem, it is all that they’ve got. Since the GOP continues to fail to gin up enthusiastic electoral support from its voters by way of culture wars attacking trans children and banning books on race and history, trying to impeach Mayorkas has become their substitute for doing anything substantial about our country’s immigration policies.

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New letter exposes Republicans’ latest absurdity in their impeachment stunt

The Republican-led House Homeland Security Committee kicked off the new year by wasting everybody’s time with new impeachment hearings against Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas. And on Wednesday, Chair Mark Green sent a letter to Mayorkas asking that the secretary provide written testimony since he “declined to appear” before the committee.

But that’s not exactly true. Also on Wednesday, NBC News obtained a letter from DHS contradicting Green’s assertion that Mayorkas “declined” anything. According to NBC, after the Republican-led committee originally requested that Mayorkas testify in person on Jan. 18, DHS replied that the secretary could not testify on that date due to scheduling conflicts. Specifically, Mayorkas would be hosting a delegation from Mexico to discuss immigration issues. In other words, the exact issue Republicans are pretending to be interested in working on as lawmakers.

In the letter, DHS explained that Mayorkas remained willing to testify in front of the committee at another date, but as DHS spokesperson Mia Ehrenberg described it in a statement following Green’s letter, Republicans’ “rush to impeach” Mayorkas seems to be taking precedence over having a reason to impeach him.

This is just the latest example of Committee Republicans’ sham process. It’s abundantly clear that they are not interested in hearing from Secretary Mayorkas since it doesn’t fit into their bad-faith, predetermined and unconstitutional rush to impeach him. Last week, the Secretary offered to testify publicly before the Committee; in the time since, the Committee failed to respond to DHS to find a mutually agreeable date.

Instead, they provided this offer of written testimony to the media before any outreach to the Department. [Homeland Security Committee] Republicans have yet again demonstrated their preference for playing politics rather than work together to address the serious issues at the border.

Mayorkas has long been a target for the do-nothing Republicans in Congress because immigration has been an amorphous boogeyman they use to (successfully) frighten their base. Sometimes, though, Republican lawmakers can’t keep their conspiracy theories straight, such as when Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene mistakenly claimed during another hearing that the FBI was part of the Department of Homeland Security.

As a DHS official told NBC, Mayorkas has testified 27 times in 35 months—more than any other Biden Cabinet official—and has answered hundreds of questions concerning immigration and the southern border. The first two-hour hearing that Green chaired last week was unable to bring up a single piece of evidence that might rise to the level of impeachment.

Green’s choice to try and paint Mayorkas as dodging these circus-like impeachment proceedings is possibly twofold: It allows Republicans a chance to throw suspicion on Mayorkas’ as guilty of something while also ensuring that the secretary won’t publicly embarrass them the way he recently humiliated Sen. John Hawley.

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Instead of working on keeping government open, Marjorie Taylor Greene tries to impeach head of DHS

On Thursday, the Republican-led House decided that after having wasted weeks arguing about who should be their next speaker, they needed to take a nice long weekend. With eight days left to fund our government, the Republican Party still can’t get its act together long enough to pass anything.

Mere days before Veterans Day, while some House members used their time to commemorate U.S. veterans, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene stood up and spoke for a very long time—and introduced articles of impeachment against Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas for “high crimes and misdemeanors.”

This is nothing new for Greene, who has authored about a half-dozen articles of impeachment against Biden and others in his administration. On Tuesday, instead of working toward a Republican consensus to keep the government open, Greene passed an amendment to have Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg’s salary reduced to $1.

Greene is not alone. Targeting Mayorkas has been a way for conservatives to pretend the Biden administration has failed to secure America’s borders. Xenophobia and anti-immigrant sentiment appear to be the only things resembling policy for Republicans. The logic of how dismantling the U.S. government’s ability to operate will help improve … its operation … remains a mystery.

Did the Republicans vote on anything else?

Yesterday, 106 Republicans voted to eliminate all staff in the Office of the Vice President. Today, 165 Republicans voted to reduce the salary of the White House Press Secretary to $1

— Jamie Dupree (@jamiedupree) November 9, 2023

With a Republican shutdown looming, the GOP seems able to produce only political theater aimed at hampering the government’s ability to serve the American people. This week’s election results suggest the American people have noticed.

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The band is back together, and it is a glorious day as Markos and Kerry’s hot takes over the past year came true—again! Republicans continue to lose at the ballot box and we are here for it!

Sec. of Homeland Security Mayorkas takes Josh Hawley down hard during contentious hearing

On Tuesday, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas testified before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. With recent events in Israel hanging over the proceedings, the annual “Threats to the Homeland” hearing focused on rising antisemitism, along with fears of domestic terrorism.

Because Sen. Josh Hawley and his GOP colleagues use all homeland security hearings to promote Republican xenophobia, he brought up a story that has preoccupied right-wing media, concerning a DHS employee who shared pro-Palestinian and anti-Israel posts on Facebook and Instagram. Hawley demanded to know if the employee in question had been fired, painting it as a pervasive issue within the department. Mayorkas explained there is a proper investigative process and that the employee in question is on administrative leave until the investigation concludes.

Ever the prick, Hawley continued hectoring Mayorkas while not allowing him to respond. Mayorkas appealed to the chair to give his uninterrupted answer, then laid Hawley out for the entire world to see.

Number one, what I found despicable is the implication that this language, tremendously odious, actually could be emblematic of the sentiments of the 260,000 men and women of the Department of Homeland Security. Number one.

Number two, Senator Hawley takes an adversarial approach to me in this question, and perhaps he doesn't know my own background. Perhaps he does not know that I am the child of a Holocaust survivor. Perhaps he does not know that my mother lost almost all her family at the hands of the Nazis. And so I find his adversarial tone to be entirely misplaced. I find it to be disrespectful of me and my heritage, and I do not expect an apology. But I did want to say what I just articulated. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Mayorkas has been a target of extremist conservatives for some time, who have tried to scapegoat him as part of their war on immigrants. Mayorkas, the first Latino and immigrant to helm the Department of Homeland Security, has had the gall to be ever-so-slightly more humane in his treatment of asylum-seekers than the previous administration, and as a result has received a lot of right-wing hatred and racism.

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Biden marks 20 years at DHS as controversy centers on Mayorkas

President Biden on Wednesday traveled to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to mark 20 years since the creation of the sprawling agency, as its leader, Alejandro Mayorkas, faces a barrage of criticism from Republican lawmakers.

Biden extolled the value of DHS, an agency that has faced its share of controversy since it was formed in the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks to combat terrorism and potential threats against the United States. 

The agency has grown significantly in the 20 years since its creation. It now houses more than a dozen government agencies, and its purview includes matters related to immigration, cybersecurity, election integrity and disaster response. The department as a whole has roughly 260,000 employees, Biden noted.

“In the 20 years since DHS began, the world has become more interconnected, more complicated than ever, and new threats are emerging with the incredible advances in technology,” Biden said in prepared remarks. “Some are frightening ... many are reassuring. And yet because of you, America is safer and stronger and is better prepared to meet whatever threat we face.”

But, the agency’s work securing the southern border has been in the spotlight and the target of intense scrutiny during the past two administrations. 

The focus on the influx of migrants at the southern border has made it tough for other work of the department to get attention, argued Stewart Verdery, a former assistant secretary at DHS under President George W. Bush.

“Twenty years ago at its creation, DHS was supposed to tackle several equally important missions at all once — aviation security, securing international travel and disaster preparedness. Of course the southern border was part of the equation, but it wasn’t the whole equation,” he said. “But the political focus on migrant flows in this hemisphere by both the right and the left has almost made it impossible for the other missions to get any real attention, especially from the Congress.”

During the Trump administration, DHS was frequently at the center of criticism because of its immigration enforcement responsibilities. Former President Trump largely used the agency to implement his crackdown on the flow of immigrants into the country, and some Democrats during the last administration called for defunding Immigration and Customs Enforcement, which is housed within DHS.

Trump also publicly clashed with cybersecurity experts who said the 2020 election had been secure as the former president sowed doubt about the results.

Biden said on Wednesday that the work of DHS is now “even more important” than it has been in its 20 years, rattling off its work, notably including “protecting our air, our land, our maritime borders.”

The department was at the center of a firestorm over an order under Trump to separate migrant families who illegally crossed the border, and the government’s inability to reunite hundreds of those families in a timely manner has lingered into the Biden administration.

The department's secretary, Mayorkas, has been closely scrutinized by Republicans who have complained that he has not done enough to secure the southern border and reduce the flow of migrants. Some Republicans have called for Mayorkas’s impeachment over his handling of the border.

But Biden came to do the defense of Mayorkas, who he nominated, calling him a “true patriot” who “decided his career to protecting and serving the American people, while upholding our nation’s laws and standing up for American values.”

The ceremony on Wednesday also included remarks from Mayorkas, as well as recorded messages from former President George W. Bush and Tom Ridge, the first secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, which was created under Bush's tenure.

“The people who work at DHS come to work every morning knowing their most important job is to protect their fellow citizens," Bush said in a pre-recorded message. "You’ve worked tirelessly and effectively to do just that. I thank you for your service to our country and for the sacrifices you have made in the pursuit of keeping your neighbors safe.”

Updated at 5:30 p.m.

Texas Republican on possible Mayorkas impeachment vote: ‘I will see where the hearings take us’

Rep. Tony Gonzales (R-Texas) was noncommittal on how he plans to vote in possible impeachment proceedings against Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, saying on Sunday that he will “see where the hearings take us.”

“If the hearings take us down that line [of voting for his impeachment], then hearings take us down that line,” Gonzales said on "Fox News Sunday."

“But I’m waiting to see all the facts come out,” he added.

Mayorkas has consistently been the target of Republican scrutiny over his handling of immigration at the southern border.

Texas Rep. Pat Fallon (R) filed articles of impeachment against Mayorkas in the House last week, after conservatives frequently promised such a move on the campaign trail leading up to the 2022 midterms.

But after the fast-tracked filing of impeachment papers against the DHS secretary, some GOP House members are divided over how to handle the proceedings. Some Republicans think the pace of the impeachment process needs to be slowed to allow the gathering of information and evidence.

“We need to have hearings on this and we need to gather evidence and facts and, look, do I think the guy has done a terrible job? Yes,“ Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas), who chairs the House Foreign Affairs Committee, told The Hill last week. “Do I think he’s been derelict in his responsibilities? Yes. But we need to get all this together, and do it in a methodical way.”

Particularly in border states, Mayorkas has been the face of what Republican lawmakers have characterized as the Biden administration’s failures at the southern border. The GOP floated the ability to conduct oversight of the administration as a main peg for why they deserved to retake control of the House.

A majority vote in the House would be required for Mayorkas to be impeached. A two-thirds vote of the Senate would be needed for conviction — essentially a non-starter as Democrats hold a slim majority in the chamber.