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. littleourkie

    Let's do it! As a Democrat I know Obama wil do fine and all this will do is guarantee a Democratic win in 2016.....and the impeachment of the next Republican president ( should one ever be elected)

    May 15, 2013 09:25 am at 9:25 am |
  2. Mr Gus

    This guy only cares about one thing-headlines. OK 2 things... and getting reelected. Alright, 3 things... the US Senate.

    May 15, 2013 09:26 am at 9:26 am |
  3. Edwin

    Chaffetz said "it's not the end game; it's not what we are playing for" – I agree. The Republicans DO see this as a game, and they are PLAYING with the American people. Their goal isn't impeachment, but rather to discredit the president in any way possible. That has always been their goal – their only goal, actually, since Obama got elected the first time.

    May 15, 2013 09:26 am at 9:26 am |
  4. Carl

    If they want to impeach Obama I suggest that GWB be tried for WAR CRIMES as well as Dick Chenny, Condi, et al. 6,000 Americans. Now the gopers want to impeach O for the death of 4 embassy persons. How absurd.

    May 15, 2013 09:27 am at 9:27 am |
  5. Greg

    Conservatives cry impeach all the time. If you can't beat the dems in a presidential election, impeach him. Meanwhile one of the first things Pelosi said when becoming Speaker was impeachment was off the table when it came to Bush. If any president deserved to be impeached it was Bush. How many Americans died under Bush? Too many to count.

    May 15, 2013 09:27 am at 9:27 am |
  6. rockysfan

    "it's not something I'm seeking." Really? Then stop right now and walk away. Cheap shot at 15 minutes of tv time. How low will the GOP go? Lower every day. Not about Benghazi, all about a black man in office. So sick to death of the GOP hate/fear mongers. Please, crawl back under your rock, the dirt is missing you!

    May 15, 2013 09:27 am at 9:27 am |
  7. Sean85

    It always seems to be about color to some of you, looking at most of these comments. Four AMERICANS will killed, they all had families that didn't get to spend the holidays with. If this was your loved one you would want answers and justice. Put your selves in the families placed, and stop being blinded by skin color. Only the ignorant can't see past skin color. This is not about color, it is about giving these families closesure, giving them justice.

    May 15, 2013 09:27 am at 9:27 am |
  8. Dallas

    If this wasn't such a pathetic move it would be comical. Who does this jerk think he is? These republicans have had it in for President Obama since inauguration day 2009. They can't accept the fact that he is President of the United States. Impeach – there is a list a mile long of those who should have been impeached and weren't. Bill Davenport (comment above) has it exactly right – work together – if not, Reagan, Bush and especially Cheney should have been impeached.

    May 15, 2013 09:27 am at 9:27 am |
  9. snowdogg

    Repubs... give it a rest!

    May 15, 2013 09:27 am at 9:27 am |
  10. When things go really, really wrong...

    The "Obama Administration" is starting to look like the Nixon years. Eventually, when you make really poor decisions, it comes back to 'bite you' – and we are now seeing the result of an Administation that has had success in influencing political outcomes, but at the expense of the civil liberties of Americans and even American lives overseas and domestically. Our country and the attitudes of Americans are doomed to third world country idealogies if this continues. Obama should be impeached – it is a sad time to be an American....

    May 15, 2013 09:28 am at 9:28 am |
  11. VMG

    The republicans keep losing the white house because they cannot seem to grasp the fact that they are not presenting anything new. Wild promises that cannot be backed up by facts will not win the presidency as demonstrated by Romney's failed white house bid. Trashing Obama doesn't change the fact that they do not have a credible alternative. The tax cuts to the rich and even the present gains in the market will not bring back the jobs that we have lost to overseas competitors.If the republican party wants to lead this country they need to do it with credible ideas that gets our people back to work and remove the tax burden from the middle class.

    May 15, 2013 09:28 am at 9:28 am |
  12. Weak

    Can't take much of a stand can he. Weak.

    May 15, 2013 09:28 am at 9:28 am |
  13. Richard Palmer

    I am not sure how this comes under an impeachable offense. I am unclear of any part of the U.S. Constitution that requires to President to inform the people or even Congress immediately in a situation situation like Benghazi. This is the Pearl Harbor investigation all over again.
    I think the more impeachible offense is Congress not passing abudget for the last four years. It does list is the Constitution that the President sends a budget to Congress, which has been done each year, and Congress must act on the budget. That has not occurred. Maybe the Sequester should have taken away Congressional pay and benefits before it hit any thing else.

    May 15, 2013 09:28 am at 9:28 am |
  14. Mike

    This is ALL partisan politics, trying to degrade the Obama administration and Hillary Clinton as much as possible. WHY? To avoid huge republican defeats in 2014 and to smear Hillary before her 2016 run for president. I just hope the majority of Americans recognize what they are doing and vote OUT OF OFFICE these total obstructionists in 2014.

    May 15, 2013 09:29 am at 9:29 am |
  15. Andrew

    So when are they going to impeach the Republican Congress for cutting funding to protect overseas embassies?

    May 15, 2013 09:29 am at 9:29 am |
  16. When things go really, really wrong...

    It is a sad time to live in America under a President that thinks he is omnipotent, and has clearly manipulated events for his political gain – sadly, it is all being exposed, and he should be impeached.....

    May 15, 2013 09:30 am at 9:30 am |
  17. mowey

    Proud not to be a Republican.

    May 15, 2013 09:30 am at 9:30 am |
  18. littleourkie

    Let's do it! As a Democrat, I know the President will do just fine. The only outcome will be the guaranteed election of a Democrat in 2016 and the impeachment of the next Republican president ( should one ever be elected)

    May 15, 2013 09:30 am at 9:30 am |
  19. LibsHaveLost

    This is SIMPLE, either 1) Obama lied to the American people (ala Clinton) or 2) he's so incompetent that he doesn't have a clue what's going on. Either way HORRIBLE POTUS!!!

    May 15, 2013 09:31 am at 9:31 am |
  20. Adventure49

    "You've done enough. Have you no sense of decency, sir? At long last, have you left no sense of decency?"

    May 15, 2013 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  21. Z

    "Son of Watergate" should be impeached and go to prison. Illegally wiretapping the press, using the IRS to target those who do not agree with his destructive plans for America, Bengazi, Illegally using the HHS secretary to raise money to promote Obamacare, etc.

    And yes, Bush should have been impeached too for lying to us about Iraq and for being asleep at the wheel while the economy crashed and burned.

    May 15, 2013 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  22. Anynomous

    Wait we when to war in Iraq thousands of people died because we had solid evidence of weapons of mass distruction! Then a couple years later we find out people lied their was no weapons! Bush Chaney rice weren't impeached or fired? Unfortunatly People died in a very anti american country with extremism and a weak government! Lets focus on jobs and defict! Not a witch hunt! Get your stuff together republicans!

    May 15, 2013 09:35 am at 9:35 am |
  23. TM

    Bush's record of keeping our embassies and diplomatic staff was FAR worse. Where was all this Grand Old Tea Party outrage then?

    May 15, 2013 09:35 am at 9:35 am |
  24. freedom

    It's obvious that the president's deriliction of duty as Commander-in-Chief is an impeachable offense. Now, add on to that the IRS scandal (which we all know he orchestrated), and all the other illegal activity that's surely about to surface. There are many impeachable offenses in this presidency. Finally, they're coming to light for all to see.

    May 15, 2013 09:36 am at 9:36 am |
  25. harry Baxter

    Chaffetz, Cruz, Rubio, and Rand Paul are all immature right-ring loonies. We should be thankful that they exist, because they'll insure the permanent minority status of the GOP for several decades.

    May 15, 2013 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
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