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Ben Cline poses for the cameras, playing tough guy on Mayorkas impeachment

Chris Graham
ben cline
(© lev radin – Shutterstock)

Sixth District Congressman Ben Cline helped lead the pretend impeachment of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas launched by far-right Republicans that passed by a single vote in the House in February.

Cline was one of the House impeachment managers, a very rare instance of him stepping out and doing really anything of consequence in Congress.

Cline, a former staffer of his predecessor, Bob Goodlatte, has largely followed the Goodlatte imprint, which was to stay as far away from the action as possible, and just focus on getting re-elected every two years.

It’s to a point where the few news reports of the triumphant walk of the House impeachment managers to deliver the articles of impeachment against Mayorkas on Tuesday that mentioned Cline had to come with a disclaimer: no, we don’t really know who this guy is, either.

“We know the law, we know the Constitution, we are used to studying cases determining the facts and laying those facts out, not only to juries, but to the public. And in this case, it is clear. And we look forward to laying out that case to the Senate and to the members of the Senate individually that Alexander Mayorkas has violated the law, has violated the public trust, has violated his oath to the Constitution of the United States. So, we look forward to laying out those facts,” Cline said for the cameras on Tuesday.

The case, such as it was, against Mayorkas was, he had supposedly violated the nation’s immigration laws.

It’s at the point of being ridiculous that the embattled House Speaker, Mike Johnson, actually said, and apparently meant it, that Mayorkas has “willfully cede(d) operational control of our border to drug cartels,” and that “(w)e’ve seen exploding numbers of terrorists being encountered at the border, we’ve seen gang members and people with criminal backgrounds be released into our country, we’ve seen fentanyl flood over the border.”

Johnson and his bare Republican majority have had nothing to do with any of that, of course.

I mean, the way they killed, without a vote or even a floor debate, a bipartisan Senate bill that would have put billions of dollars into hiring new border agents and immigration judges, basically, fiddling while they claim Rome is burning, that has nothing to do with the current situation.

tim kaine
(© George Sheldon – Shutterstock)

“This is the textbook definition of a political stunt designed to distract from congressional Republicans’ failure to properly address issues at the border,” said U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., in a statement on the political stunt on Wednesday, ahead of the Senate votes, both by party-line, 51-49 margins, that dismissed the articles of impeachment and declared them to be unconstitutional.

“After months of negotiations led to a solid and bipartisan border reform package, Republicans abandoned their own work product after Donald Trump criticized it. Then, they decided to impeach the same person, Alejandro Mayorkas, who they had relied on to craft the bipartisan deal. It’s clear that many of my colleagues on the other side of the aisle would rather score political points on the border at every turn than be a part of the solution,” Kaine said.

“I stand ready to work with anyone who wants to actually work together in a bipartisan way to secure our border and fix our broken immigration system,” Kaine said.

In essence, what Kaine is saying there is, don’t expect much from the Senate on this political stunt.

All Johnson, Cline and their far-right Republican cohorts were trying to do was score political points for Donald Trump, who at the moment is focused on the first of his several criminal trials related to his many efforts to subvert the democratic election process.

Cline was on board with Trump on the most visible of those efforts, voting after the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol by Trump-incited extremists to decertify the 2020 presidential election.

Hearing Cline talk about his respect for the rule of law is akin to letting somebody slap you in the face and tell you to like it.

“You know, I trust this institution. I have great respect for this institution. I have great respect for the individual senators. I have respect for the Constitution,” Cline said, with a straight face, for the cameras on Tuesday. “I would only ask, we would only ask as managers, that the Senate show us the same respect by hearing those facts, by hearing that evidence, and by respecting the American people who sent us to Congress, and on behalf of whom we are here, presenting these articles to the Senate.”

Chris Graham

Chris Graham

Chris Graham is the founder and editor of Augusta Free Press. A 1994 alum of the University of Virginia, Chris is the author and co-author of seven books, including Poverty of Imagination, a memoir published in 2019, and Team of Destiny: Inside Virginia Basketball’s Run to the 2019 National Championship, and The Worst Wrestling Pay-Per-View Ever, published in 2018. For his commentaries on news, sports and politics, go to his YouTube page, or subscribe to his Street Knowledge podcast. Email Chris at [email protected].