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. Jim

    These are idiotic statements made to grab headlines. Nothing more.

    May 15, 2013 08:42 am at 8:42 am |
  2. Jim Marler

    The GOP is so full of "BS". No one with a grain of sense has any respect them anymore. No creditability what so ever. Just a bunch of FOX News chasers.

    May 15, 2013 08:42 am at 8:42 am |
  3. don draper's twin brother

    This guy can't get enough face time – doesn't he have something better to do... like trying to repeal Obamacare for the 39th time?

    May 15, 2013 08:42 am at 8:42 am |
  4. nbgb

    why aren't the repubs doing what they should be doing like fixing the budget mess, immigration reform, jobs etc. Nooo they have to have hearings for everything. Vote the do-nothings out.

    May 15, 2013 08:44 am at 8:44 am |
  5. bearitstrong

    Repubs are fading into sporadic, futile attempts to spark public interest by inventing controversy.

    May 15, 2013 08:44 am at 8:44 am |
  6. Mitch

    That would be so great if they tried impeachment. Because it worked out so well for them the last time. Please, oh please try to impeach Obama. It will complete the full transition to laughingstock for the GOP.

    May 15, 2013 08:45 am at 8:45 am |
  7. bear

    I have seen a number of interviews on this. The reporter always brings it up asking, "Do you thing President Obama should be impeached?" Usually the interviewee is taken aback and stumbles since he hasn't even been thinking about it. In most cases he is smart enough to say "no, we aren't even thinking of that". But if you ask the question enough times you will get somebody who will stumble and say something stupid. In this case the headline "Chaffetz doesn’t rule out impeachment for Obama" has been manufactured by the reporter asking the question enough times. The guy says its not what they are shooting for, yet the headline suggests the opposite.

    Just pretty shoddy journalism.

    May 15, 2013 08:45 am at 8:45 am |
  8. Carole H.

    I am sick and tired of the Republicans always criticizing our President. Benghazi was a sad but look what happened under George W. Bush's watch 911. I did not hear the Republicans commenting on impeachment and we lost over 3,000 people. Also President Bush lied to the American people about weapons of mass destruction. What the American people want is for our government (THE CONGRESS AND THE SEANTE) to get down to the real business and pass the jobs bill, gun control and immigration. The Republicans seem to only preach hate so watch out for 2014.

    May 15, 2013 08:46 am at 8:46 am |
  9. Amazing

    And the American people keep electing people like this and expect things to change!

    May 15, 2013 08:46 am at 8:46 am |
  10. The GOP need to pack up and leave

    I don't rule out impeaching Bush and Cheney for their crimes that they committed.

    May 15, 2013 08:46 am at 8:46 am |
  11. rchmd2013

    Impeach? Really? You, the Republican party, the party of Nixon and Bush the biggest crooks to ever set foot in the WH and you have the nerve to breathe the word impeach at Obama? What more does the GOP intend to do to make Americans hate them more? You are all filth.

    May 15, 2013 08:46 am at 8:46 am |
  12. Julie

    What a load of smug Republican crap. If Bush didn't get impeached, and he should have been, Obama certainly won't be. There is no reason to do so. They are making Benghazi out to be a sideshow conspiracy and it simply is not. Where was all the outrage when 34 people at American embassies died under Bush's watch?

    May 15, 2013 08:49 am at 8:49 am |
  13. g

    why don,t they work on fixing real problems instead of creating new problems

    May 15, 2013 08:49 am at 8:49 am |
  14. Eric in Georgia

    This guy and the GOP have lowered themselves to yet a new low. Despicable and pathetic!

    May 15, 2013 08:50 am at 8:50 am |
  15. comeON2016

    REP=old way thinking, new flash , it not 1940...... greed over people will forever be the repubs ......good luck with that....

    May 15, 2013 08:52 am at 8:52 am |
  16. rrinbr

    Nero fiddles as Rome burns. Simply pathetic. If you impeach Obama, then Bush and Cheney should be turned over to the Hague for war crimes.

    May 15, 2013 08:52 am at 8:52 am |
  17. ninerzzzz

    If we did not impeach GW Bush, then Pesident Obama is more than safe! at least he is not getting our young men and women killed to finish Daddy's war!

    May 15, 2013 08:53 am at 8:53 am |
  18. Lynda/Minnesota

    Just my opinion folks, but I really don't think that either the media or the GOP will benefit by pushing talk of an Obama impeachment throughout the coming summer months. Benghazi (and our four dead Americans) served their purpose as a fundraiser for the GOP and a ratings boost for FOX News. Nothing more, nothing less. Coverage has run its course to the ground. It also helped elevate those who murdered our people to near celebrity status by allowing the murders to glorify themselves in this really, really weird obsession FOX News has with blaming the wrong people over and over again after these awful events happen. I remember when O'Reilly went after the surviving victims during his 9/11/2001 coverage.

    To be quite truthful, I really don't think either the media or the GOP have any idea whatsoever what mainstreet Americans feel are important issues in their daily lives. Furthermore, I really don't think either the media or the GOP actually care about mainstreet America one way or another.

    Perhaps the media should forget about their silly polls telling us what they want us to think and start polling itself. From my perch on the fence, the media (cable and network alike) and the GOP have become a laughingstock not only in America, but the world.

    And for good reason.

    May 15, 2013 08:53 am at 8:53 am |
  19. If

    Why are we talking about this now? Where is the aregument for Jobs. the economy is doing better, where is hte discussion on how to keep the momentum going. Bengazi was a hard lesson we learned but when congress greatly decreased the funds for the state department what were they expecting. we should have a discussion on the benefits congress is getting and why they aget 140k a year for life.

    May 15, 2013 08:54 am at 8:54 am |
  20. ST

    Where is this man Chaffetz coming from? Is it Minnesota? Have they also passed the Marijuana Law? It seems this man has a lot of it in his head. Go and impeach republicans congress who are always dancing around without tackling problems facing all Americans at the moment.

    May 15, 2013 08:54 am at 8:54 am |
  21. MikeMongo

    So, for all the defenders out there please allow me to ask this question; why was it an impeachable offense for Nixon to have lied about his tasking of the Watergate break-in, and it is not an impeachable offense for the sitting President to have lied about covering up a terrorist attack and lying about the true issues? Nixon's tasking was directed to gain political advantage, while the current President's alleged tasking to his cabinet was to minimize the negative impact upon his political campaign. Also, although Haldeman,, were tasked to commit a crime of burglary, the current President may have directed US military forces to stand-down, presumably to avoid confiming the attack was coordinated, organized and planned by sending a formal military response. If, in fact, the President allowed those men to die and lied to avoid the bad political press, he has committed a breach of office far more egregious than what President Nixon did. Yet the defenders only seem to be concernced about the political motive? If this in fact is true, and I say "IF", then impeachement is certainly a considerations we as Americans should consider. Americans should resolve to remain objective about what's right as an American and stop dividing themselves over this issue and allow the inquiry to resolve itself to the truth. We owe it to ourselves.

    May 15, 2013 08:55 am at 8:55 am |
  22. Peter

    If you impeached every President whenever there were scandals like this, just about every President would have been impeached.

    May 15, 2013 08:58 am at 8:58 am |
  23. Thatguy371

    I'm wondering when the repubs will finally reach the tipping point and realize they're about as far from what the majority of the American people want as a party could possibly get.

    May 15, 2013 08:58 am at 8:58 am |
  24. patNY

    I'm only surprised over the fact that it took this long for Republicans to bringing up impeachment for Obama....after all, this is now the new normal for when a Dem is in the WH and Republicans control the House. Why? Because Republicans in Washington simply cannot and never will accept the legitimacy of a Democratic President. No matter how much he wins reelection by both popular vote and EC landslide. Seriously...even if you dislike Obama's policies and the manner in which he is running this country, those are by no means impeachable offenses, which include only high crimes and misdemeanors. Sorry Charlie.

    May 15, 2013 09:00 am at 9:00 am |
  25. iceload9

    Unfortunately, everybody has lost all credibility in Washington. Pick the side you like. All this does is buy time away from unemployment, runaway healthcare costs and corporate welfare.

    May 15, 2013 09:00 am at 9:00 am |
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