Former Trump Department of Homeland Security officials interviewed in Majorca’s impeachment inquiry

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The GOP-led House Homeland Security Committee conducted closed-door interviews with two former Trump-era Homeland Security officials, as the panel prepares to move forward with articles of impeachment against Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas next week, according to officials familiar with the matter.

The two former Trump officials are Mark Morgan, who served as the former commissioner of US Customs and Border Protection, and Rodney Scott, who briefly served as chief of the Border Patrol under Mayorkas until August 2021.

PHOTO: In this June 14, 2023, file photo, Rodney Scott, former chief of the U.S. Border Patrol, testifies during a House Homeland Security Committee hearing to... "Examining Secretary Mayorkas' dereliction of duty," At the Cannon Building in Washington, DC

In this June 14, 2023, file photo, Rodney Scott, former chief of the U.S. Border Patrol, testifies during a House Homeland Security Committee hearing on “Examination of Secretary Mayorkas’ Dereliction of Duty” at the Cannon Building in Washington, D.C.

Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images, FILE

PHOTO: In this June 25, 2020, file photo, Mark Morgan, acting commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection, testifies during a Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee hearing in Washington, D.C.

In this June 25, 2020 file photo, Mark Morgan, acting commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection, testifies during a Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee hearing in Washington, D.C.

Tom Williams, Paul via Getty Images

The previously unreported testimony comes as Democrats and some Republicans have criticized the process by which the impeachment inquiry was unveiled, saying the effort to remove Mayorkas involves disagreement over policy and does not meet constitutional standards for impeachment.

A third closed-door interview with former acting ICE Director Tom Homan was scheduled for Thursday, but was canceled, according to a source familiar with the situation.

The conservative think tank, the Heritage Foundation, is representing both men, according to a source familiar with the situation. The foundation did not respond to ABC News’ request for comment.

Photo: Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas holds a news conference at a U.S. Border Patrol station, on January 8, 2024, in Eagle Pass, Texas.

Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas holds a news conference at a U.S. Border Patrol station, January 8, 2024, in Eagle Pass, Texas.

John Moore/Getty Images, file

Both Democrats and Republicans were allowed to participate in questioning of Morgan and Scott, according to sources familiar with the situation.

Democrats on the House Homeland Security Committee criticized the process.

“The president says so [Mark] “Greene is conducting confidential, closed-door interviews in collusion with the Heritage Foundation in a last-ditch effort to bolster his non-existent case for impeachment,” Rep. Bennie Thompson, the committee’s top Democrat, said in a statement to ABC News. “The fact that they would rather listen to former Trump officials turned glorified spokesmen on Fox News — while turning down Secretary Mayorkas’ offer to testify — reeks of desperation. I think this will only add to our evidence that this impeachment process has been nothing but a sham from the beginning.” “A political ploy.”

Chairman Mark Green, a Tennessee Republican, said the effort to host Morgan and Scott was “to gather testimony specifically related to Secretary Mayorkas’ handling of the border crisis since he took office.”

“These interviews follow nine previous written interviews with Border Patrol officers responsible for the southwest border sectors, and were conducted by Republican and Democratic staffers on the House Homeland Security and Oversight committees,” Green said.

Jamie Raskin, a Democrat from Maryland, asked House Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer during a hearing on January 17 whether transcripts of the nine formal interviews of Border Patrol officials could be released, but so far neither the Oversight Committee nor the Homeland Security Committee have done so. . Full texts released.

In his prepared remarks, Morgan said the Biden administration “immediately began dismantling the web of tools, authorities, and policies that we had put in place,” according to his testimony. He described the effort as “deliberate.”

Photo: House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Mark Green questions witnesses during a committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., on January 10, 2024.

House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Mark Green questions witnesses during a committee hearing on “Ravage in the Heartland: How Secretary Mayorkas’s Failed Leadership Impacted the States” on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., on January 10, 2024.

Shawn Theo/EPA via Shutterstock

Morgan left DHS on Inauguration Day 2021 and did not work with Mayorkas as secretary.

Attorneys for Morgan and Scott advised the men during the deposition not to answer any questions about their experiences and actions leading up to the Biden administration, any potential campaign activity or involvement, or the Heritage Foundation’s involvement in the impeachment investigation, a source familiar with the deposition said.

The former officials sat to testify behind closed doors, the same process that House Republicans, including now Homeland Security Chief Mark Green, objected to in 2019, when Democrats were holding impeachment hearings for former President Donald Trump.

“Transcript interviews are common practice when seeking in-depth testimony from expert witnesses in a non-public setting. It is pathetic to see Democrats stoop to ridiculous comparisons to their sham operation in 2019 when the record of these proceedings clearly shows they were actively involved,” Greene said. In all the interviews set by the commission as part of the investigation into the chaos on our border. “Desperation seems to be the downfall in this city.”

“The American people deserve and demand transparency,” Greene said during the 2019 impeachment inquiry into Trump.

The Department of Homeland Security said the secretary’s removal was illegal, and that the secretary was working with Congress in good faith to fix the “broken” immigration system.

The Department of Homeland Security said in a memo issued earlier this month that Trump’s impeachment hearings are merely “politically motivated” and “led by extremists.”

There was also discussion between the committee and the secretary about the date of appearing before the committee.

Mayorkas was willing to testify before the committee, according to a letter obtained by ABC News last week, but not on the date offered by Republicans because he was preparing to host Mexican officials.

Chairman Green objected, saying Secretary Mayorkas had a commitment to the committee and said the date was set, accusing DHS of obstructing oversight efforts.

This article originally appeared on abcnews.go.com

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