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. richard harmon

    This guy needs to gets a life and join the real world where we are being attacked not by gov't entities but by small groups that are very difficult to detect and stop – especially in a place like Libya. Where was this guy when we invaded Iraq on false claims and killed a lot of innocent civilians? Pure politics again with no sense of actually solving the real problems we face as a nation.

    May 15, 2013 05:48 am at 5:48 am |
  2. Brad

    The GOP is using just another tactic to keep the focus off of jobs, the very thing that this country needs the most right now. It also provides cover for a do nothing House of Representatives.

    May 15, 2013 05:49 am at 5:49 am |
  3. myway

    Another mud slinger hoping his dirt will stick somewhere. How this "controversy" changes over time! Initially there was supposed to be this huge cover up what the WH and then secretary Clinton knew and when. Then the "problem" was Obama didn't drop everything, race to the WH and personally take reign over the situation in Benghazi. There were several additional "outrageous" detals that were spread by an organized smear campaign. Since none of these attempts had legs the pundits kept shifting the story. Now that there are some rather mundane facts on the table the whole "controversy" came down to an email writing exercise. For this Obama should be impeached? A presidents office is not allowed editing emails what the public is told? For the record, there was no evidence Al Qaeda had anything to do with the attack until later when alleged attackers were identified. Besides, one way to reduce Al Qaeda's relevancy is to stop naming them every time something happens in predominantly Muslim territory. If Obama achieved anything in the "War on Terror", it's minimizing Al Qaeda'a presence in the headlines. After all, that's what terror organizations live and die for, disproportional media attention. They've learned, the bigger the tragedy, the more enduring the media will cover it. The Bush administration was the most effective advertising agency Al Qaeda could ever hope for. Like it or not 9/11 and the subsequent fallout has done more for radical Muslims than all other terror attacks combined before and after. Why? Because there wasn't a day Al Qaeda didn't get some kind of coverage in the US national news during most of the past decade. Obama stopped that. It was the right thing to do and congress should support this strategy, particularly since we're in an unofficial war against the Middle Eastern radicals. Taking away the free PR factor is the most effective way to squash radical Muslim organizations. No news coverage, no relevancy.

    May 15, 2013 05:50 am at 5:50 am |
  4. W.

    There is an old proverb that states, "Those who seek revenge should dig two graves." I think that an underlying desire for retribution toward a Democratic administration and the reinstitution of a perpetual Republican based government is ubiquitous and overwhelming to many members of the conservative congress and their respective lobbyists. There cannot be a dismissal of the failings of past Republican administrations and it fuels an opacity of that history by instigating a vengeful animosity toward the Democrats. We live in a time when justice is confined to revenge and power is the desire to fulfill an unsustainable lust. There is a paradise lost within the government of our nation. We are managed by self serving bureaucrats who see serving America as a career in itself rather than a duty to the public. This is not socialism as so many would proclaim, it is tyrannical egotism in a crystal palace.

    May 15, 2013 05:51 am at 5:51 am |
  5. Anonymous

    The U.S. Constitution says "The President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other High crimes and Misdemeanors."

    The article says that "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."

    In what universe does impeachment of the President even come up in the discussion of this issue? Of course any legal option is always "on the table", but only in Repubicanland is it even mentioned. Impeachment has NO RELEVANCE AT ALL in this situation. No one has directly accused the President of having a hand in this, and even if he did, what "high crime or misdemeanor" did he commit? Republicans are again playing to the lunatic fringe at the heart of their party.


    May 15, 2013 05:52 am at 5:52 am |
  6. mdn7779

    Has any one dug into the political practices of Chaffetz? I am willing to bet he has more than one slick deal in his background. Most republicans do, their closets are full of skeletons!

    May 15, 2013 05:53 am at 5:53 am |
  7. John

    The Republican couldn't beat President Obama In two election ,so now they have a witch hunt to see If they can get rid of him. The Republican are nothing but a joke, they didn't care about the LIE that was told for the US to go In Iraq for WMD and there wasn't any and It Cost over 2500 US live their.

    May 15, 2013 05:55 am at 5:55 am |
  8. joegoofinoff

    I love this malarkey from the republicrats/demicans...

    May 15, 2013 05:56 am at 5:56 am |
  9. TickedinNY

    Yeah that's a smart idea. Impeach Obama, and then we're stuck with Biden :-/

    May 15, 2013 06:05 am at 6:05 am |
  10. Trevor

    Republicans are not a joke. They are a cancer to this country and planet. It would seem the new routine for Republicans is to try to impeach any Democratic President who is in office for two terms. It would seem I'd they really want to blame someone, they sound be dragging Bush back for not protecting 3000 people in new York when they had intelligence that it might happen. But I guess that's different. If Obama loses 4 we need to start discussing impeachment. If Bush loses 3000 on American soil we cab look the other way.

    May 15, 2013 06:08 am at 6:08 am |
  11. Ginni Tritt

    Yes, it is something you ppl have been seeking since this man got in office. ALL the problems this country has and you are putting all your time and energy into this witch-hunt. You, along with TOO much of the GOP, are "hate-full" indeed.
    Shame, shame, shame....

    May 15, 2013 06:08 am at 6:08 am |
  12. sailor12

    Screw the repubiacns. If they can't win the election than find anyother means necessary, even screwing over the same people who voted their dumb ass in office.

    May 15, 2013 06:10 am at 6:10 am |
  13. Thomas

    Drowning men grasp at straws.

    May 15, 2013 06:12 am at 6:12 am |
  14. Andy H.

    Impeach someone over nothing.... This man is an idiot, someone please remove him from office and elect someone with a brain. Thank you!

    May 15, 2013 06:16 am at 6:16 am |
  15. al

    Here we go again...when will the Republicans start working for the people and stop this blame game. Were's the jobs....all they do is complain with no solutions in mind. Lead,follow, or get out of the way. After what they've done they are the least party to criticize anyone.

    May 15, 2013 06:19 am at 6:19 am |
  16. quieteye

    Impeach Republicans responsible for imposing on its citizens a political strategy of coup-by-filibuster.
    The nation will be much better if it comes to terms with its own pathological disease.

    May 15, 2013 06:19 am at 6:19 am |
  17. Chris

    Republicans have been trying to impeach Obama since he was elected.

    The GOP impeached Clinton for a private, personal affair. They're going to try to impeach Obama for Benghazi and their whole case against him consists of nothing but speculation and innuendo. Meanwhile, GWB deliberately misled the country into a war with Iraq, warrantless wiretaps, outed a CIA agent out of petty revenge, crashed the economy, torture and more. And Republicans never even say one word against him because he's one of their own.

    May 15, 2013 06:19 am at 6:19 am |
  18. Catmandew

    Impeach him, it's not like he has been much of a president anyway. The only job he has done is campaign an awful lot, spend alot of taxpayer money and try to wear out Air Force One!

    May 15, 2013 06:26 am at 6:26 am |
  19. iBabble

    Really! Why don't Republican's build credibility by first asking that Bush and Cheney stand trial for lying about WMD's, starting a war on false pretenses, and war crimes.

    May 15, 2013 06:27 am at 6:27 am |
  20. Mark

    Hope he follows through.

    May 15, 2013 06:29 am at 6:29 am |
  21. CMcN

    "A deliberate effort to politicize a tragedy," Mr. Carney? Sounds awfully familiar... oh right, we spent four months watching this administration exploit the tragedy at Sandy Hook for political gain.

    Not so much fun when the shoe is on the other foot, eh?

    May 15, 2013 06:30 am at 6:30 am |

    I'm striving for it ! Impeach NOW

    May 15, 2013 06:30 am at 6:30 am |
  23. dina

    Somebody tell this guy that we're all tired of the GOP drama. Get to work.

    May 15, 2013 06:33 am at 6:33 am |
  24. GI Joe

    Go ahead - then the next republican pres. we will all yell IMPEACH from day one. ha ha ha ha ha

    May 15, 2013 06:34 am at 6:34 am |
  25. Craig in Pa.

    Oh please...this is straight bs....if anybody needed impeachment it was the previous administration for so many too obvious reasons...let's impeach the Republican Congress while we are at it for straight out dereliction of duty

    May 15, 2013 06:34 am at 6:34 am |
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