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. Leigh

    Boy the Republicans sure are getting desperate. They have nothing new to offer, just the same old let's-favor-the-wealthy crap dipped in pseudo-Christianity, so they have thrown up roadblocks ever since Obama got in office. They want to impeach him over Benghazi? Well, say, let's drag Reagan out of his grave and impeach him for the Beirut debacle that killed 100s of Americans, or how about Dubya whose lies dragged us into a trillion-dollar, decade-long war just so Cheney's old employer and divided-maker Halliburton could rake in billions in oil contracts?

    Talk about impeachment, Obama should've raked Dubya's and Cheney's wrinkled butts over the FIRE. But Obama had more important fish to fry. Unlike Republicans.

    May 15, 2013 09:39 am at 9:39 am |
  2. ghostriter

    Mikemongo, I may be wrong, but I thought Nixon lied to congress in direct testimony. After others came forward and said they were instructed by their superiors. Has that happened here?

    May 15, 2013 09:40 am at 9:40 am |
  3. Oakspar77777

    Not really an impeachable offence, unless you hold that using the State Department as part of your Presidential Campaign is a signifigant enough abuse of power to say that he would not be President without it.

    Still, a rather slimey thing from the Administration to misuse the office for political expediency. After all, that is the problem here – the cover up. The bungling of the actual events were unavoidable mistakes that only appear as mistakes in hindsight.

    As for Carney talking about "politicizing a tragedy" after Sandy Hook was politicized in such grotesque ways by the Administration to push for unConstitutional restrictions on the 2nd Amendment reeks of hypocracy.

    As for it being a "sideshow," you would think the Administration would love it. They have been chaseing sideshows for most of the 2nd term so far to try and distract people from the jobs and economy until they improve enough for them to take credit (despite currently doing nothing to improve the condition of either).

    May 15, 2013 09:40 am at 9:40 am |
  4. Randy, San Francisco

    Rep Chaffetz is one of the reasons why the Republican Party has a very long road to rebranding its message and image. There are too many extreme and fringe politicians in the party. Add Chaffetz tp a very long list of cartoonish like personalities like Palin, Bachmann, Cruz, West, and Santorum.

    May 15, 2013 09:40 am at 9:40 am |
  5. Realityblowz

    Democrats are like a battered spouse. No matter what their man "Administration" does, they will come back defending him. How pathetic. Fast & Furious, Benghazi, IRS audits, AP snooping.....Can't find a better man...

    May 15, 2013 09:40 am at 9:40 am |
  6. Don

    I never heard any call for impeaching George Bush for invading Iraq over fabricated lies about weapons of mass destruction. That was the greatest impeachable offence ever committed by a sitting president. Forget water gate forget Monica Lewinsky forget all that. For a sitting president to not only make a case to the American public but to make a case to the united nations to invade another sovereign country warrants an expulsion from the United nations and any other developed and civilized society. Who care if it was terrorist attack ,domestic violence or religious violence that s all semantics but the root cause of this developments can be traced back to the unprovoked domination and lies from the Iraq war by George W Bush and Dick Cheney.

    May 15, 2013 09:41 am at 9:41 am |
  7. Josh

    They have been talking about impeachment from the moment Obama got elected...when the faux party we call the tea party started up their signs at rally's said 'take our country back' ...back from what? From a democratically elected president who was elected because we were so sick of the dangerous duo Bush/Cheney who ruined our country ..and now we have a dangerous right wing doubling down on the very same failed ideology.

    May 15, 2013 09:41 am at 9:41 am |
  8. KennyG

    Go for it. He was reelected because this was covered up and the GOP screwed up by not pressing the issue.

    May 15, 2013 09:41 am at 9:41 am |
  9. Peace

    Republicans have no shame. I can't believe what I am hearing from: Karl Rove, Dick Cheney & Rumsfeld saying that Pres. Obama lied to people. Of all the people! how can they dare even showing their faces, leave alone talking. Are they playing with people's mind and how they think? It is outrageous!

    May 15, 2013 09:41 am at 9:41 am |
  10. Jay

    For the people on here bashing each other, I can care less, but the facts are the facts. And history will show that Obama and his team have abused their political power. They lied about Benghazi during the elections, hide it all away so that they could win re-election. Even Bill Clinton had told Hillary to back out of this mess, if he knows to tell her that, then what do you think! As for Obama, people are really going to see the effects of his Policy come tax time in 2014 and on. And for someone on here blaming Bush for the financial mess, yes he may have had a hand in it, but back in 2005 or 2006 he tried to warn the Senate about the risky loans being made by Fannie and Freddie, but good little Barney Frank and Chris Dodd, Pelosi, and Reid didn't want to hear any about it. It was good business to loan money to individuals with POOR credit. The idea of America will be restored when people are held responsible for their actions, and that includes all of us.

    May 15, 2013 09:43 am at 9:43 am |
  11. Ginger

    How absolutely insane that a do-nothing congress even thinks about impeaching Obama when they patted Bush on the back for invading a sovereign country without cause is beyond all understanding. More and more the GOP has turned into a room full of kindergarteners having at it. It is disgusting that people we elected to govern this great country have turned into traitors.

    May 15, 2013 09:43 am at 9:43 am |
  12. mike

    Insatead of spending time trying to impeach Obama, Congress should look into impeaching COngress. Where could you work with and 11 percent approval rating and keep your job. Why don't you quit making obvious politcal gamesmanship statements and try to do something constructive for America. This Congress has dimmed my view of the whole process.

    May 15, 2013 09:43 am at 9:43 am |
  13. Rusty

    I suppose this has more traction than looking for birth certificates, although this certainly makes the Republicans sound absolutely desperate to save their party from ruin when they try these kind of shenanigans. I hope the teapublicans read these comments, but I doubt very much they will.

    May 15, 2013 09:43 am at 9:43 am |
  14. Trakker17

    Another Congressional circus act. Why stop at Obama? Impeach them all. Once everyone gets on board that we are no longer the greatest country on Earth, just the most well armed. We can start fixing our crumbling nation and get back on track. Starting with House of Representatives and the Senate. Quit being distracted by all the nonsense and let's fix the real issues. Education, infrastructure, healthcare, etc..

    May 15, 2013 09:43 am at 9:43 am |
  15. ddog123456

    Wow, I didn't know Clinton was impeached. I thought they tried to, but it fell through and he served out the rest of his term. You learn something new every day I suppose....

    May 15, 2013 09:44 am at 9:44 am |
  16. Craig Adams MD

    The Republican party has lost its soul to the teabag movement. It is sad to see whackos like this guy put party ahead of Country.

    May 15, 2013 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  17. Brian

    So does that mean we can charge Rove and company with war crimes? I'll gladly lose the president to see that bunch of clowns on trial.

    May 15, 2013 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  18. Concerned

    GOP is beyond reason! I am so sick and tired of the Republican Party wasting everyone's time, and money! Every time they mention that word, impeachment, they should be reminded of the lie behind the weapons of mass destruction....the lie that costed US thousands of lives (not to mention civilian lives overseas). Please, please just STOP!!!!! Do something useful!

    May 15, 2013 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  19. pacoder

    I'm a complete loss as to where the 'outrage' comes from. A bunch of thugs killed some of our folks – clearly our security was to lax – shame on the state department for that. There was obviously a massive amount of confusion as to what exactly happened that takes time to figure out but the news cycle (and the Republicans looking to capitalize on anything they can lay at the presidents doorstep) demand immediate answers. So what would be the point of 'covering' it up, covering up what? As Gates said, people have a cartoonish view of our military capabilities and I would our intelligence gathering capabilities. It's not a movie people, it's hard, it's confusing, and prone to human error.

    May 15, 2013 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  20. Anonymous

    This Congressman is clearly spending too much time in these hearings, What exactly that occurred would be grounds for
    impeachment with the Bengazi affair... Susan Rice's comments ? a lack of adequite security at this state dept outpost in Bengazi? What is this Congressman talking about???

    May 15, 2013 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  21. Carl

    Look at the Liberals/Democrats on this site squirm and dodge! How could their "beloved leader" let all this happen? Well – NEWS FLASH – he MADE it happen.

    May 15, 2013 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  22. steve

    @dd123456, Clinton was impeached by the House but not removed from office by the Senate. The process of impeachment itself is not removal from office, but removal from office can occur after impeachment.

    May 15, 2013 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  23. Jackie Whitt

    They GOP should shut up and get back to getting things rolling in jobs and putting people back to work. They have done nothing. Vote them out. IF we are going to investigate Obama, lets get Cheney and his gang back in Washington and put them on trial for all their lies, They put USA in 2 terrible wars, that did nothing more than kill alot of people and hurt our men and women who serve our country. They are the ones who cut the money for the protection of our embassy. The Dem's are not perfect either. They will all suffer in their next election. Vote Them out.

    May 15, 2013 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  24. bill davis

    Oh look Obama has a smile. That's Impeachable


    the GOP.

    May 15, 2013 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  25. sevensins

    Long over due and many reasons to do so. Would make my day. And also correct the history books.

    May 15, 2013 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
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