Chaffetz doesn’t rule out impeachment for Obama
May 14th, 2013
08:46 PM ET
10 years ago

Chaffetz doesn’t rule out impeachment for Obama

(CNN) - Rep. Jason Chaffetz reiterated Tuesday that the impeachment of President Barack Obama is possible as the White House faces scrutiny over its role in responding to the terror attack on a U.S. diplomatic post in Benghazi, Libya.

“Look, it's not something I'm seeking,” the Republican congressman from Utah said on CNN’s “The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer.” “It's not the endgame; it's not what we're playing for. I was simply asked, is that within the realm of possibilities, and I would say ‘yes.’ I'm not willing to take that off the table. But that’s certainly not what we’re striving for.”

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Chaffetz first said impeachment could be an option in an interview published Monday by the Salt Lake Tribune.

“We want truth,” Chaffetz said on CNN. “We want to have the president do what he has said he would always do, and that is, be open and transparent. Thus far, the White House has not done that.”

Republicans' accusations of an administration-led coverup in the immediate aftermath of the Benghazi attack were fueled last week by the release of internal e-mails showing that top administration officials scrubbed any mention of al Qaeda from talking points given to members of Congress and Susan Rice, the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations.

The unclassified talking points have become a political flashpoint in a long-running battle between the administration and Republicans, who say that officials knew the attack was a planned terror operation while they were telling the public it was an act of violence that grew out of a demonstration over an anti-Islam video.

Asked Tuesday about critics who compare the controversy to Watergate, White House press secretary Jay Carney said Tuesday that “people who make those kind of comparisons need to check their history.”

“What we have here with one issue, in Benghazi, is so clearly … a political sideshow, a deliberate effort to politicize a tragedy,” Carney said, echoing comments that Obama made Monday.

Chaffetz, who sits on the House Oversight Committee that heard testimony last week from three State Department employees who were dissatisfied with the administration’s handling of the attack, said the White House is simply trying to “demoralize” and take out the messenger.

“We heard from three very credible witnesses with more than 70 years of public service saying that what happened on the ground versus what the White House would lead us to believe were two totally different things,” he said.

The House of Representatives has the power to impeach a federal official by handing down charges called articles of impeachment. The Senate then tries the official and determines whether to remove the individual from office. For example, President Bill Clinton was impeached in 1998 over perjury allegations stemming from his sexual relationship with a White House intern, but the Senate acquitted him.

- CNN’s Ashley Killough and Kevin Liptak contributed to this report.

Filed under: Jason Chaffetz • Libya • President Obama • Utah
soundoff (882 Responses)
  1. andrew skeens

    A president that covers up its fault for not acting is a coward! Lets put him as a security guard in a embassy for a month and see how he feels about security.

    May 15, 2013 01:51 am at 1:51 am |
  2. skytag

    These guys need to grow up and start doing something that would be good for the country. Even if they were crazy enough to impeach him the Senate would acquit him and the end result would just another big waste of time thanks to Republicans trying to pander to their far right base.

    May 15, 2013 01:53 am at 1:53 am |
  3. Steven Fingerhut

    This guy looks like he hasn't missed a meal this week or this year.
    There they go again,,,

    May 15, 2013 01:57 am at 1:57 am |
  4. Nonsensical

    Typical republican response.

    May 15, 2013 02:01 am at 2:01 am |
  5. Dawn Kieballs

    No just hold on a minute. This doesn't even come close to the treason that is a bj in WH. I guess if we can't figure out how to govern, impeachment is the next best past time.

    May 15, 2013 02:05 am at 2:05 am |
  6. WillH85

    So let me get this right, Bush lied in order to get us to go to war with Iraq and nothing, no impeachment, no real investigation, nothing. Obama edits talking points over an incident where three people die and Republicans are going for impeachment. Maybe it's just me, but seems like a double standard. Don't get me wrong, the Obama administration should be investigated for this, but considering all that Bush and his administration got away with, the thousands dead, it would be a horrible double standard to impeach Obama when Bush had no consequences for his lies.

    May 15, 2013 02:05 am at 2:05 am |
  7. Brandon

    Who is this idiot, and what is he smoking? Impeachment? Most people don't even buy the whole "Benghazi-as-scandal" BS; they aren't going to support an impeachment over it. This guy needs to worry about his own job, since he'll probably lose it next term.

    May 15, 2013 02:07 am at 2:07 am |
  8. BillInLA

    Republicans...They're like lemmings...Can't help but try to drown themselves.

    Impeachment? Are you kidding? Because the staff revised talking points? You mean to say, you freaking dimwit, that your own staff has never done that? If not, why not? Are they too stoopit? I'd readily believe that. It takes one to work for one.

    May 15, 2013 02:11 am at 2:11 am |
  9. jon

    Oh, please – can all these Republicans just go away – or at least GET BACK TO WORK!

    May 15, 2013 02:12 am at 2:12 am |
  10. CK

    The GOP needs to get over it. Obama won. The Benghazi mess is not nearly grounds enough for impeachment. How many Benghazi's did Bush have? "No really, they have WMDs in Iraq", Of course if you want to destroy any chance of securing the vote of women and minorities, or anyone who feels that that maybe should actually pass some legislation. The reality is we do need to learn some lessons and aplly them to the future. First, would be improve communication of security concerns. The second, don't give facts that you don't have and hold tongue if necessary, but don't state "facts" that your not sure of. The dangers are known to the brave men and women who represent the United States in foreign countries and it is disgraceful to use the tragic contributions of all the Benghazi for political games.

    May 15, 2013 02:14 am at 2:14 am |
  11. tuffyturf

    Yeah, that will work, and who are you going to get to help you gain momentum for that? Joseph Smith? Crazy Mormon's- thank goodness we have them all quarantined in Utah.. one got out and I heard he tried to run for President and has been sleazing around our great San Diego area... someone will capture him and put him back.. take Jason Chaffetz with you..

    May 15, 2013 02:17 am at 2:17 am |
  12. Steve

    Good for him. Might as well take the "keep guessing till you're right" CNN strategy.

    May 15, 2013 02:21 am at 2:21 am |
  13. michael hardesty

    Please tell me out of whose mouth the word "impeachment" first came. The interviewers or Rep Chaffetz's.

    Thank you.

    May 15, 2013 02:22 am at 2:22 am |
  14. Splinter46

    Gee, you'd think he started a war in Iraq built on lies.

    May 15, 2013 02:23 am at 2:23 am |
  15. Indyswimmer66

    Hmmm... the GOP can't win a legal presidential election... and probably won't in the foreseeable future, so... let's try this strategy.

    May 15, 2013 02:25 am at 2:25 am |
  16. Thomas

    The republican agenda . Plan A ,Make Obama a one term president.

    They Failed !

    The republican agenda . Plan B , contain or paralyze Obama .

    They not only will fail , they fail our country .

    Chaffetz / Cruz
    Obstruction is Freedom 2016

    I love how the GOP stopped using the jobs market and the economy as there talking point.

    May 15, 2013 02:25 am at 2:25 am |
  17. angry

    If the Republican's believe President should be impeached for Bengazi, then why should Bush and Chenny not be tried for war crimes. How many thousands of people died in the wars Bush and Chenny started?

    May 15, 2013 02:25 am at 2:25 am |
  18. angry

    Hey CNN , why did you let BUSH and Chenny off the hook for their wars that killed so many people.

    May 15, 2013 02:28 am at 2:28 am |
  19. Anonymous

    Really? No issues more important to be handled by Congress than an attack that occurred 8 months ago in Libya? Mid term elections may be a wake up call for some Republicans.

    May 15, 2013 02:30 am at 2:30 am |
  20. angry

    Can't wait for the 2014 elections, the House will be returned to the Democrats and we can then get things done!

    May 15, 2013 02:30 am at 2:30 am |
  21. souptwins

    I don't see a problem with Chaffetz's statement. At this point, why should anything be considered "off the table"? Yes, the issue was made political- by Obama when he responded the way he did in the heat of a campaign. Perhaps that was at the root of the stand down order in the first place. He may have been worried a heated battle would call more attention to his failed policies than a few deaths of US citizens. Fraud and coward!

    May 15, 2013 02:39 am at 2:39 am |
  22. Anonymous

    there is nothing the republicans will not do concerning President Obama .. their goal has and will always be the removal of Obama from office at any cost

    May 15, 2013 02:40 am at 2:40 am |
  23. Ross

    Impeachment of Obama would be a dream-come-true.

    May 15, 2013 02:44 am at 2:44 am |
  24. DixonIV

    These Republicans are so predictable. They completly ignored the facts when our country was sent to war with at best inaccurate information, at worst outright lies. How many thousands were killed then? Now that discussion moves to Bush saying, history will decide. In addition, he says " I believe we are in a safer world because of that war". Nonsense. As long as Sadam was fighting with Iran they were occupied with each other. Now where is Iran involved? For Obama, I feel like who cares what he said immediately after the attack. We lost some very important and good people that night. If it was terriorists, or if it was a mob I don't care. Find the criminals and kill them. In my opinion, the republicans have found a way to avoid their own problems with their message. Focus the country on a fake issue and push forward. I hope they go back to fixing their own mssage and give up on the making Obama a one term president. He already was re-elected, so yes he is our President. Thanks God. If McCain or his cronnies would have been there imagine how many wars we would be in now.

    May 15, 2013 02:45 am at 2:45 am |
  25. Boater39

    Just as soon as they execute GWB for war crimes.

    May 15, 2013 02:52 am at 2:52 am |
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