GOP Rep.: House 'could probably get the votes' to impeach Obama
August 12th, 2013
04:13 PM ET
5 years ago

GOP Rep.: House 'could probably get the votes' to impeach Obama

(CNN) – A Republican member of the House of Representatives said he thinks there are likely enough votes to bring articles of impeachment against President Barack Obama but did not specify on what charges.

Rep. Blake Farenthold said the House could impeach the president while responding to a 'birther' question from a constituent in his home Texas district that includes Corpus Christi. Farenthold said that while the House likely has the votes, the Senate trial would end in an acquittal for Obama.

In a YouTube video shot at a constituent town hall in Lulling, Texas dated Aug. 10, Farenthold takes a question from an unidentified woman who asks him to support members of the so-called birther movement who question Obama's legitimacy as president. The video was first reported by Buzzfeed.

Birthers argue that Obama was not born in the United States and doubt the short and long-form birth certificates he has produced proving he was born in Hawaii. In April 2011, Obama released his long-form birth certificate from Hawaii to quell speculation that he was not a U.S. citizen and may be constitutionally ineligible to serve as president. He had previously released a certification of live birth during the 2008 campaign. Both documents show that he was born in a Hawaii hospital on August 4, 1961. Contemporaneously published newspaper announcements also noted the birth in the Aloha State.

After that release, a May 2011 poll by Gallup found that 13% of Americans still thought Obama was probably or definitely born in another country.

"This issue hits to the belly of the beast," the woman tells Farenthold, anger apparent in her voice.

For his part, Farenthold responded that "the horse is already out of the barn on this, on the whole birth certificate issue," he said.

"The original Congress, when his [Obama's] eligibility came up should have looked into this and they didn't. I'm not sure how we fix it."

The birther movement: immune to facts?

In the video, Farenthold said that impeaching Obama is a question he frequently hears from his constituents.

Presidential impeachment is a two-part process, first requiring the House of Representatives to vote to bring articles of impeachment. If the House does so, the matter then moves to the Senate for trial where a vote would determine guilt or innocence for the President.

According to Farenthold, there are probably enough votes in the House for a successful impeachment but not enough in the Senate for a conviction. He didn't cite any charges that would have to be brought.

Farenthold cited the failed effort at impeaching President Bill Clinton, arguing that in its failure, the impeachment was harmful to the country.

"What message do we send to America if we impeach Obama and he gets away with what he's impeached for and he's found innocent? What do we say he did is ok," Farenthold said.

"Aside from the fact it wouldn't be effective, I think there's a potential damage to society that would be done with a failed attempt at impeachment."

Just two Presidents have ever been impeached by the House of Representatives, Clinton in 1998 and Andrew Johnson in 1868. Both men were acquitted in their Senate trials.

Farenthold's communications director, Meaghan Cronin, told CNN that the representative's comments were simply in reaction to a concerned constituent and amounted to little more than an "I'll look into it" response that all constituents get. Farenthold has been taking a variety of questions at town halls, Cronin said.

"People's unhappiness with the president was brought up in several different ways," Cronin said.

Farenthold was first elected to the House in 2010 on the wave of tea party conservatives. One of the wealthiest members of that class, according to his website he is the founder of a computer consulting and web design firm and has worked as an attorney and conservative radio commentator.

Filed under: President Obama • Texas
soundoff (70 Responses)
  1. ghost

    Go ahead and impeach him. I dare you!!!NO, I DOUBLE DARE YOU!!! CLINTON 2016

    August 12, 2013 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  2. Sniffit

    Apparently, to the GOP/Teatrolls "Presidenting While Black" is a high crime and misdemeanor.

    August 12, 2013 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  3. The Real Tom Paine


    @SNIFFITT the last thing we need right now are more laws, congress stinks no doubt. However bammy does nothing to lead. Welfare and food stamps are at an all time high. This is really a case of removing peoples rights. By keeping poorer lower income people dependent on the government its called acceptable slavery, anything for a vote from this guy. The failures are too, too many to count from closing gitmo to I heard it on the news like you. Its become to norm, to lie to steal dignity from people. This is what you voted for please quit blaming everyone and everything under the sun for bammys failures>and yours you voted for him.
    What has the Right offered as an alternative? Not a damn thing. The GOP did not enforce the laws on the books when they had their hands on all 3 branches of government for 6 years, instead focusing on no-bid contracts for political friends, unfunded mandates, and 2 wars that were being run off the books. Letting the banks run riot with other people's money, wiping out their life savings, ignoring signs that the economy was cratering: were those the acts of responsible people? The WMDs in Iraq: oh yes that was a lie.Cutting taxes in wartime because a few people saw a great opportunity to make a killing while blowing the nation debt sky-high, oh yeah, that was a great example of GOP honesty. Paul Ryan's budget numbers that would take 30 years to balance the budget while giving even bigger breaks to the wealthy at the expense of the middle class, yep, that was a great plan. Nice that Ryan will never get to see his Ayn Rand-inspired budget enacted. No amount of re-branding can replace the terrible taste the GOP has left in the mouth of millions of hard-working people whom they ridicule and fear every day.

    August 12, 2013 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  4. Mikey

    Are you kidding me???? When is the stupidity going to end? Hard to believe that 20% of America is just plain crazy, but I guess the 9-11 freakout plus the election of a black man pushed a lot of people right over the edge. Makes me sad for America and our future.

    August 12, 2013 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  5. Norma Vessels

    If the Republicans in Congress can come up with something they don't do or say, themselves, then let's see the evidence. Didn't think they could.

    August 12, 2013 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  6. tom l

    1. @The Real TP,
    Remember what we were talking about the other day? Here are a few of Sniffit's recent quotes:
    – If you call a THIRTEEN YEAR pathway to citizenship that requires paying all sorts of fines and back taxes "amnesty," then your problem with the whole thing is something other than the "principled stand" on our laws that you're using as a thin veil.
    Psssst: and you're doing a terrible job of hiding what that is.
    – Have no fear...FL is busy trying to purge legitimate minority voters and the Teatrolls runnin various important electoral college states like OH and TX and NC are very very busy arranging for as much suppression of minority and youth votes as they can muster. Did the poll take these things into account? No? Well, then clearly it was "skewed" in favor of the Dems. You better "unskew" it or President Romney will be really upset with you.
    -Now now, you know he can't answer that because what he really wants to say is "the law that says this is a white people country that is supposed to be controlled by white people, and that we have to stop brown people from coming here and becoming citizens if it means we're going to lose that hegemony."
    -Apparently, to the GOP/Teatrolls "Presidenting While Black" is a high crime and misdemeanor. And this one, too: Brass Tacks: As far as the GOP/Teatrolls are concerned, it's an impeachable offense for anyone but them to win the election, let alone if that someone else is a minority.
    So here's my point perfectly laid out. Once again, he brings race in to the mix. The first quote is about immigration and the only way he can see someone being against the bill, the ONLY way, is if you are a racist. The second quote is a standard Sniffit. Not one word about race. The article is about Hillary Clinton. Never a word about race or anything. What does he do? He brings race up. The third quote he is answering someone who makes a claim (one that I don’t agree with) that democrats supports criminals and traitors. Nowhere did the comment mention race but Mr. Sniffit sure decides to bring it in. And the final comment from today. This is SS (standard sniffit). I do not agree whatsoever that he should be impeached and I find it foolish but there can only be one reason in Sniffit’s mind for this action and he’s just the one to talk about it. It has to be race.
    I'm telling you, dude, the man is harboring some serious internal conflicts. This is what someone does. They lash out at others for their own feelings and then mask it by claiming the other feels that way. It's a classic move by someone that is carrying the guilt inside witht these latent feelings that they might not like. Ask any psychologist and I guarantee you that they would definitely think there is something going on internally. It's pathetic and sad. This is why I continue to quote Shakespeare. I could never say it as well as he does. Hope you're having a good one...

    August 12, 2013 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  7. lolo

    Would you idiotic people please concentrate on constructive policies. We know that you are prejudice, now move on and put out a jobs bill that you promised in 2010. Your sheep only voted you in to obstruct progress, because your ilk have scared them to death with your BS!!!!!!!!!!! Please get over it. The black man won two terms. Now do your real jobs now or you will be voted out in 2014. Get it?????????????????

    August 12, 2013 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  8. Sniffit

    They'll talk a big game but we all know they don't have the balls to do it . Cowards. Chickens. WE DARE YOU. Bok bok bok bok bok!!!!!!

    August 12, 2013 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  9. Peppy

    Wow that petey is one angry dude !!!!!!!!!!!

    August 12, 2013 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  10. The Real Tom Paine


    Absolutely there is enough evidence to impeach – on many counts. Don't know what the hold-up is – except that he's probably being protected by all the corrupt agencies and czars he's put into place. It won't last forever though.
    Of course there is evidence, but we can't extract the evidence from that part of your brain without killing you. It would destroy what little imagination you have left: the good thing is that the cost of the operation is covered under Obamacare.

    August 12, 2013 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  11. Norma Vessels

    We already know that whatever the Republicans in Congress come up with to impeach our President, their false words will come back to smack them in the face. Lies have a tendency to be found out. Go for it, Republicans .. I'm ready for a good comedy act.

    August 12, 2013 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  12. Mikey

    Country Girl – "Just another small minded person who can't get over the fact that MORE AMERICANS voted for Barack Obama than for right wing republicans...TWICE!! Get over it. He was born in America, he won the election (legitimately, no hanging chad) twice. History will judge his work in the Oval office."
    Absolutely! More votes than any Presidential candidate IN HISTORY!!! More volunteers than any campaign IN HISTORY!!! More donors than any dandidate IN HISTORY!!! And it drives them crazy. They think they are the majority and THEY ARE WRONG, WRONG, WRONG!!!

    August 12, 2013 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  13. PJ

    I am so embarrassed and sick that we have so many like this guy in Texas. As if Cruz, his Daddy, Perry, Gohmert,
    etc. aren't enough, along comes this guy. I don't how we can fight them, they are so imbedded in hate, and too
    many citizens agree. The Tea Party has taken us over and it makes me sad.

    August 12, 2013 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  14. Me

    Country Girl

    Just another small minded person who can't get over the fact that MORE AMERICANS voted for Barack Obama than for right wing republicans...TWICE!! Get over it. He was born in America, he won the election (legitimately, no hanging chad) twice. History will judge his work in the Oval office.
    I do question legitimately since MULTIPLE voters went on TV and to brag about voting for him MULTIPLE times (up to 6 I believe)!!! And those are just the idiots that admited on TV I bet there are hundreds if not thousands more. That being said there is nothing to impeach him on, give it up already!!!

    August 12, 2013 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  15. Laverne

    Boss Hogg head, go jump in a pig pin!

    August 12, 2013 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  16. papanez

    These people are sick. And if any member of congress gives credence or legitimacy to these ignorant questions then perhaps they need to find another day job.

    August 12, 2013 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  17. lolo

    Poor, Poor, Poor GOP/TP Klan. They just don't get it do they? Just tell the truth that your party is as rascist as they come. The prrof is in the pudding and you fools keep on showing it. Tell Newt and all of the rich guys to start building that moon colony for their fans, because they will not be able to make it in America now because we the people have the nerve to vote a minority into the white house. TSK, TSK. LOL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    August 12, 2013 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  18. rs


    Absolutely there is enough evidence to impeach – on many counts. Don't know what the hold-up is – except that he's probably being protected by all the corrupt agencies and czars he's put into place. It won't last forever though.
    Go ahead hotshot- list the charges and the evidence. Let's see what delusion looks like today.

    August 12, 2013 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  19. Gurgyl

    This sob is so crazy, first oust this idiot from house for not doing the jobs bill.

    August 12, 2013 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  20. Clarke

    Impeach him for what? If you can, then can we the American people, cite Congress in contempt for not doing their job. I am sure we can get mostAmerican's to agree that congress has not fulfilled their promises. There is a huge list..

    August 12, 2013 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  21. Bootstomper

    Texas,what a hole.

    August 12, 2013 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  22. rs

    Let's see:
    Threatening to shut down the government
    Threatening to impeach the duly elected President
    Running the table with wacky 'culture wars' legislation

    Yup, it is the 1990s all over again.
    You can say this: The GOP isn't smart, but it is predictable!

    August 12, 2013 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  23. sonny chapman

    Hang 'em first; then we'll have a trial.

    August 12, 2013 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  24. Me


    Apparently, this will be SOP for Republicans every time they lose the White House. Lots of distractions and no substance on their part. @Sniffin – if it WERE possible to impeach for lying and incompetence – how long do you think Bushie-Boy would have stayed in office? Open your eyes – things for most Americans are way better than they were in 2008.
    I love it when people say how things in Bush’s time were pretty bad? Yes 2008 was but the prior 7 years were some of the BEST economically, FAST, I mean lightning fast recovery from the 2000-2001 recession, low unemployment rate, good GDP numbers, ETC!!! The remaining 7 years of his presidency were excellent until 2008!!! Bush brought us out of that recession too bad the people decided to let Obama try and bring us out of the most recent one because it has been a huge FAILURE!!! Recessions happen every 6 or 7 years or so it is how fast we come out of them that matters!!!! Just a bunch of kool-aid drinkers that will support Obama no matter what he does!!!

    August 12, 2013 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  25. Sniffit

    LOL...and his spokesperson wouldn't deny that he's a birther. TX...where reason goes to die.

    August 12, 2013 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
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