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. Stephen Daugherty

    They just don't learn, do they? They couldn't win in 1996, so they tried to kick Clinton out then. Now the same idiots want to override the voters again, and this time with even thinner gruel as their cause. Why was America ever foolish enough to believe that Republicans would actually take care of the people's business instead of just their own when we brought them back to the majority?

    May 15, 2013 07:21 am at 7:21 am |
  2. Dave1157

    Seriously, is this what we've come to? "If we can't beat you in the polls, we'll find a reason to impeach you!"

    This is what's wrong with our country. Instead of looking for solutions to problems, we're focused on tearing the other side down. "Forget how bad we messed things up ... did you hear what HE did?" It's time we vote every one of them out. If we would systematically vote out every incumbent two or three times, they might get the message. This is absolutely insane, and the longer we put up with it, the worse it'll get.

    May 15, 2013 07:23 am at 7:23 am |
  3. retiredmike

    Another wanna be birther turned impeacher from the great hick state of Utah. Get a life and get to work on something serious.

    May 15, 2013 07:23 am at 7:23 am |
  4. wgf

    "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."

    Even assuming this to be true, it is hardly illegal - which is the threshhold for impeachment. Anyone who expects accuracy out of Sunday morning talking points is simply naive. (Reference: Dick Cheney - "we know Iraq has WMD".)

    All of this talk about a Bhengazi "cover-up" that is worse than Watergate begs the question "What is the illegal activity that is presumably being covered up ?"

    May 15, 2013 07:23 am at 7:23 am |
  5. MikeA

    “Look, it's not something I'm seeking,” “It's not the endgame; it's not what we're playing for."

    How stupid does he think we are?

    May 15, 2013 07:24 am at 7:24 am |
  6. Jim

    Tell the Conservatives I agree as soon as they impeach Bush for lying about WMD in Iraq. Ask this guy if he even served in the military or is he antherr Chickenhawk like Cheney?

    May 15, 2013 07:27 am at 7:27 am |
  7. GetReal

    Here we go again!

    May 15, 2013 07:28 am at 7:28 am |
  8. SeattleMike5

    LOL. Once again the Republicans are wasting America's time and our tax dollars.

    May 15, 2013 07:28 am at 7:28 am |
  9. maximusvad

    The GOP are the architects of their own demise.

    May 15, 2013 07:28 am at 7:28 am |
  10. gregory21

    Both houses should be impeached for not doing there jobs for the American people.

    May 15, 2013 07:29 am at 7:29 am |
  11. Name lynn

    Jason need to take a back seat his words dont mean nothing when its come to he president. The president cant an want be impeachment the pesident have a good back ground ask the people who check into obama back ground. Someone needs to check into jason c back ground an what hes hiddng in his clostes

    May 15, 2013 07:30 am at 7:30 am |
  12. lulu

    the republican party is doing itself no favor by using such words as impeachment so lightly. The rumor is that they are doing this only to target Hillary clinton in 2016 and it's seems to become more true as the days go by and this undisputed desperation makes them look totally ridiculous and portray them as definitely not doing what they are being paid to do. Really GOP, don't you have anything better to do? Mr. Chaffetz looks like he's content just to spread his non importance around, his face is one of cynicism and bitterness...

    May 15, 2013 07:31 am at 7:31 am |
  13. Kris

    I find it odd Jason Chaffetz is looking to blame anyone regarding Benghazi without himself and Issa addressing the mirror themselves.

    Both of those men denied proposed funding for US installations abroad in 2011. It seems they wish to ignore their own culpability in the matter.

    This is simply more of the divisive actions perpetuated by both parties.

    Do you "leaders" realize you are playing into the hands of America's enemies by splitting the country in half? You are like 10 years old kids babysitting a country of 6 year old kids.

    I pose this to ALL politicians in this country – not one party or the other.

    May 15, 2013 07:32 am at 7:32 am |
  14. JRW

    Congress wants the truth? That's an oxymoron at best!!! However this continuing saga plays out, what happens afterwards? Will it change the outcome of what happened? Will it restore the lives of the four Americans killed? So much for balancing the budget, immigration reform, focus on continued job growth and sustaining the economy – forward! Both 'ends' of Pennsylvania Avenue are suspect in just about everything, these days!!!!!

    May 15, 2013 07:34 am at 7:34 am |
  15. mark

    Its to bad we can't impeach all of congress and senate on the grounds they lie ever day

    May 15, 2013 07:34 am at 7:34 am |
  16. bejee45

    When are Americans going to get enough of the Republican hatred and their catering to the rich.

    They've made every vile and hatred accusation possible since Mr. Obama has been in office, and have "stonewalled" and attempt to clean up the mess that they and GW created - enough is enough, vote the bums out - they're destroying America.

    May 15, 2013 07:35 am at 7:35 am |
  17. Jeffrey Reel

    The newsline reads: "GOP-er Won't Rule Out Impeaching Obama."|

    Republicans NEVER rule out impeaching Obama. They salivate all over themselves at the thought.

    Chaffetz gets his few moments of attention in an otherwise unremarkable and unmemorable career.

    May 15, 2013 07:36 am at 7:36 am |
  18. MasterBlaster

    Mr. Carney is right about Watergate. We need to look at the history: WATERGATE was a presidential lie were NOBODY DIED. BENGHAZI is a presidential lie were FOUR PEOPLE DIED. Who's lie/crime is worse, Nixon or Obama?

    May 15, 2013 07:37 am at 7:37 am |
  19. Moonraker

    The GOP has become so silly and paranoid. Get over it, guys, we have an African American president – enough with the witch hunt already, it's boring.

    May 15, 2013 07:38 am at 7:38 am |
  20. humtake

    This is going to happen to every POTUS from here on out. If a POTUS scratches his head wrong, the opposing party will vote to impeach him. The American people and politicians, generally speaking, have all gone nuts. All it takes is looking at it from an outside view to see how ridiculous and carnivalistic things have become.

    May 15, 2013 07:38 am at 7:38 am |
  21. John

    Republicans had better focus on doing something positive for the American people or they will face their own removal from office in 2014. Elections are coming boys and girls.

    May 15, 2013 07:40 am at 7:40 am |
  22. frank landa

    He should be impeached. For gun running ! For using the IRS as a political tool. For the BenGhazi cover up and deception which cost Americans their lives ! A truly despicable president !

    May 15, 2013 07:40 am at 7:40 am |
  23. Marcia

    Such hypocrisy from the Republicans-this was a CIA operation so we will probably never know the entire story-but a threat to impeach over talking points?? REALLY??? The Repubs never seems concerned about the over 50 embassy deaths under Bush or the lies over WMD-they were fine with that but have been totally against this President seeking to bring him down from the first day-I am so tired of that-what about the promised but never delivered jobs the Repubs only trot out at election time??? Where are the jobs Boehner, Cantor????

    May 15, 2013 07:41 am at 7:41 am |
  24. tepeters

    This congressman is one of the problems and should be recalled

    May 15, 2013 07:41 am at 7:41 am |
  25. nc_mike

    Oh I am so surprised.Talk about desperate!

    May 15, 2013 07:43 am at 7:43 am |
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