Early on Wednesday morning, Republican lawmakers on the Homeland Security Committee voted to bring two articles of impeachment against Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas to a vote of the full House.
For the first time in almost 150 years, a cabinet secretary could be charged with high crimes and misdemeanours by Congress.
Republican members of the House are accusing Mr Mayorkas of failing to enforce immigration policies at the border between the US and Mexico.
The articles allege willful and systematic refusal to comply with the law as well as breaching public trust. Little evidence has been put forward in support of the allegations and congressional Democrats and some constitutional experts have said that the proceedings are an abuse of the impeachment process.
“Let's talk about border patrol apprehensions between ports of entry at the Southwest border of terrorists,” Ms Greene said at the hearing on Tuesday.
Rep Seth Magaziner of Rhode Island fired back, arguing that “it is pretty rich hearing the gentlewoman from Georgia express her concern about terrorism when she literally was selling defund the FBI T-shirts and hats on her website for $30 apiece”.
“$30 for the shirts and another $30 for the hats – you don't get both for just the $30 – the leading law enforcement agency tasked with combating terrorism in this country and keeping people safe, and she wants to defund it,” he said.
“So I am not going to take any lectures from her on securing this homeland from terror”.
— House Homeland Security Committee Democrats (@HomelandDems) January 31, 2024
Mr Magaziner was joined by his fellow Democrats on the committee blasting Republicans for what they see as baseless allegations and misplaced blame for the issues at the border.
Rep Dan Goldman of New York said: “When the secretary and the administration have tried to use their limited authority to change policy, to limit the number of people coming to the border, to streamline the process to make it go through ports of entry, Republicans filed lawsuits to stop the administration from doing it.
“So again, the hypocrisy of you sitting here accusing Secretary Mayorkas of failing to enforce the law, when you are going to court to prevent him from enforcing the law is hypocrisy at its height. You have created this situation,” he added.
“And now you want to have the second impeachment of a cabinet secretary ever. You let him do his job. You work with the Senate, your colleagues in the Senate on the legislation needed and then let's figure out how to address the border.”
Congressional Republicans have moved away from a deal being negotiated in the Senate that would see further funding for Ukraine as well as investments in border security after former president Donald Trump came out against it – seemingly unwilling to support a bipartisan deal that could be seen as a legislative victory for President Joe Biden ahead of their likely rematch in November.
It could also weaken immigration as a campaign issue for Mr Trump.
“This is not a policy debate. This is proof. You can't lie about the numbers,” a seemingly frustrated Ms Greene said on Wednesday night.
“No matter how much time you keep giving to Representative Goldman, he's not going to be able to spin it and change it for all of you. The facts are the facts. Secretary Mayorkas is breaking the law. We are going to impeach Secretary Mayorkas today on this committee. We don't care how long you go on.
“You can keep taking your five minutes and yielding back and forth and go to Goldman. Keep going. We're going to impeach him because he has broken the law. He has violated his oath of office. He is breaking federal immigration law. Americans are dying.”
“Any shortcomings that Mayorkas have, frankly, are your fault,” California Democrat Eric Swalwell argued back. “He's asking for authorities to do more, to have more border agents, to have more resources. And so his limitations are caused by you. You put them in place, you won't let them do it.”
New Jersey Democratic Rep Rob Menendez raised his voice and shouted down the Republicans in the room, yelling: “We have held zero full committee hearings dedicated to emergency preparedness, cyber threats, infrastructure protection, transportation security, Department of Homeland Security management”.
“We have not lived up to our oversight obligation here on this committee because you all are obsessed with the border, because you bend the knee to the ‘Orange Jesus’ as you refer to him across the aisle,” he added in reference to Mr Trump.
“So I'm tired of being lectured. You know, I try to listen here. I try to be a team player ... I try not to engage in partisanship, but I've had it – I've listened to a lot of accusations here today. We are here on a sham impeachment hearing, because of the partisanship of this committee, and enough is enough.”