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. Nancy

    When Republicans threaten to impeach the President it is to divert our attention away from a more important issue. What could it be this time? Gun control? Health care? Economy? Jobs?...

    May 15, 2013 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  2. ShaneThePain

    Unemployment is down as a result of welfare recipients being at an all-time high. You liberal King Obama supporters are funny and that's why I'll never vote for Democrat again. There are no new jobs being created as a result of this king’s rule. Only more mindless liberals following there lord and King Obama. Wake up America! Come back to the conversation once you've opened you're little mind and considered this.

    May 15, 2013 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  3. Mike

    Obama to GOP on impeachment "go ahead, make my day." Talk about the fastest way to alienate all those groups the GOP was trying to win over after the last election. You might rile up your base with this bluster but, at the end of the day after your party dances around in their flight suits on an aircraft carrier we all see the truth and have to clean up the mess.

    May 15, 2013 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  4. Mary

    GOP, instead of wasting taxpayer money and time trying to "impeach" the President, your time would be better spent focusing on jobs, eliminating H1-B bisas and getting Americans back to work. Instead of wasting time repealing the Affordable Care Act, work to improve it and make it better for all Americans. Stop wasting our time and money stonewalling and being sticks in the mud.

    May 15, 2013 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  5. AD

    We had the Pres. of Lybia say it was a terrorist attack right after the attack, we have a Facebook confession by Ansar Al Sharia claiming responsibility. Obama had drones giving real time images of the attack in Benghazi. We had no report of any protest by anyone on the ground in Lybia, not once.

    Yes, Obama lied and covered up. He went to the UN, Jon Stewart, The View, David Letterman, Sunday talk shows, and face to face with the family members of Chris Stevens to pitch a ridiculous story of a protest from a youtube video.

    May 15, 2013 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  6. Saboth

    Lord, if the GOP put even 10% of the effort into writing/approving legislation that would help Americans get jobs as they did with the Benghazi nonsense, unemployment might be 5% by now. Look, terrorists in an unstable country attacked an embassy and Americans died. It actually happens pretty frequently. Obama was slow to call it terrorism. There was no "team" on hand that could have saved them. More security was requested, but Congress cut funding. John McCain has been pursuing this doggedly since it happened. Years ago, when asked about the failures of the Bush administration and the GOP Congress that lead to the deaths of thousands of Americans and civilians and wasted trillions of dollars during the Iraqi war, McCain responded: "look, mistakes were made, let's just move on." Unbelievable!

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

    Go for it, Chaffetz. It will only expedite the downward spiral of the Republican Party.

    May 15, 2013 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  8. Joel

    I do not believe that President Obama was involved in any illegal activities that his blind supporters are doing as though
    he is a dictator but he is involved in cover up and lack of leadership and control of departments that are under his supervision and for that he has to be accountable and may be impeached.

    May 15, 2013 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  9. texasnotea

    GOP- If you can't beat them fair and square, then make up something and lie. Republicans just can't stand that they have lost two elections to Obama and now, with no more elections, they are doing the only thing left for them to do. Make up stuff and lie.The part gop'ers don't get is that most of America now see's them for what they are. crybabies and liars.

    May 15, 2013 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  10. Jesus The Christ

    What a joke! Look how cocky he is in his picture! Like another commenter pointed out, and have been a mormon myself, I can say that I'm sure he's after President Obama because his buddy Romney lost. They all stick together and never get over a slight. Seriously.

    May 15, 2013 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  11. Sifleut

    CNN has obtained White House emails on Benghazi and are deflecting a lot of the misinformation that's been going on from the GOP.

    May 15, 2013 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  12. Joe P Zyck

    Of course the GOP will try to impeach. They have nothing else to do. They certainly are not busy trying to pass any legislation.

    May 15, 2013 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  13. mike

    As a Canadian I find american politics amusing,Here your GOP is possibly going to impeach Obama for a terrorism attack that MAY have been able to be prevented,yet a previous president in which I mean George Bush,unlawfully attacked a whole country based upon circumstantial evidence,false reports and lies and what is he facing?A lifetime of freedom,riches and more.Sad really how its grounds for impeachment to make a mistake,but the guy who covers up a lies and kills thousands becomes a hero.

    May 15, 2013 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  14. Data Driven


    "he is a dictator" - Prove.
    "he is involved in cover-up" - Prove.

    May 15, 2013 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  15. hm

    Please please stop focusing on scandals! The economy is improving even California has a surplus as do many other states. All this other stuff is just a distraction blown up by the GOP because for some reason they have decided that rather than try and win voters with policy its easier just to try and drive them away with scandals. Unfortunately for them there were plenty of scandals while they were in charge so I don't think this will work. Stick to creating winning policies. When it comes to scandal people have short attention spans and if you keep bringing it up and bringing it up all you do is annoy people.

    May 15, 2013 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  16. I the person

    Obama is nothing but big corporation.He has made all our lives worse, we are all taxed more and we don't want to get along. Obama bails out GM and Bank of America, raised your credit card intrest rates, tried taking your second amendment, Forced you into lousey health care, took more out of your pay check, lied about Behngazi, lied about Gitmo, used IRS for political gain while in office and keeps running up our debt. I could go on...This guy makes Bush look like a top 5 president of all Now that's bad 🙂

    May 15, 2013 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  17. Jeanneboo

    This is all we need right now. Our do-Congress wasting time on a going nowhere impeachment.

    May 15, 2013 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  18. Jilinwa

    Hey how come some of those wall street high roller crooks have not been prosecuted? There is a new Frontline special on Public Broadcasting channel coming up next week. I plan on educating myself and I hope others do too. Keep informed!

    May 15, 2013 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  19. Floyd from Illinois

    Instead of blustering about impeachment (over, say, the AP phone records subpeonas), one wonders why the honorable Congressman from Utah doesn't write and propose some legislation to better define the subpeona power of the Dept of Justice?

    Or is that too much like doing his job?

    May 15, 2013 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  20. Zoran Cosic

    Long live Obama, I am white and you Mr.president have my full support.

    May 15, 2013 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  21. Rod

    I think if the GOP wants to rip this country apart and go back to rioting in the streets like a third world country. Then go ahead and impeach America's first minority President for no good reason. justice no peace.

    May 15, 2013 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  22. Dude in Colorado

    I agree with Wake Up People – Its time for Obama to stop being so nice.

    I think Obama needs to instruct Holder to launch special investigations into 1) Why Bush said the 9/11 attacks were "unforeseeable" by anyone when he had intelligence reports telling him the attacks were being planned. 2) Where exactly did that intelligence come from that suggested Iraq had WMDs?

    I wouldn't rule out treason charges for W or key members of his administration up to and including Cheney & Condie Rice. That's not the endgame, not what I think we need to play for, but such charges shouldn't be taken off the table.

    May 15, 2013 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  23. rs

    How about a criminal trial for the Republican Senators and staffers who leaked sensitive e-mails about the CIA in Bengahzi? How about a criminal trial for the same GOPpers who twisted the e-mails to manufacture their little controversy? How about a trial for Mr. Bush and Cheney- YOUR war criminals?

    Go ahead GOP I dare you. Try to impeach a sitting President with your lies- you'll NEVER get elected ever again!

    May 15, 2013 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  24. Bob

    Gee, can we go back and impeach Bush II for war crimes (well, OK, I guess we can't, but maybe we can hand him over to the ICC so they can do try him). What Bush II did is worse than Clinton and Obama combined, but the righteous GOP let that ride. Where are people's moral priorities?

    May 15, 2013 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  25. Rod

    The GOP is off it's rocker if they think his supporters will stand for them doing that. We see how they treat him already, we are not blind. I for one don't think the GOP could cause serious damage to this country. But they have shown they don't care.

    May 15, 2013 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
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