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. joe800

    I dont get it. Bush failed to act on an imminent threat warning of 9/11 and 2977 people were killed that day...the Bush team had a detailed report, not just some requests for additional security, but a true warning. He then allowed Saudi's likely connected to fly out of the US after all other aircraft were grounded. He then lied and fabricated evidence to justify his vendetta on Iraq...that's not only impeachable, but treasonous and criminal

    May 15, 2013 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  2. Xylem

    I will see your Benghazi and raise you a WMD. The Republican pursuit for "truth" is nothing but a political side show. If they were so interested in truth, they would have pursued the impeachment of Bush and Cheney, whose lies about WMD caused hundreds of thousands of deaths.

    May 15, 2013 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  3. Hamburger Jones

    "You liberal King Obama supporters are funny and that's why I'll never vote for Democrat again." By the time you are actually old enough to vote, you will probably vote for Hillary Clinton. Anyone who can't tell the President of the United States from a king is too young and green to have an opinion worth giving, sonny. No offense, but what you wrote is just stupid.

    May 15, 2013 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  4. AD

    There is a vacuum of leadership in the White House. If BO wasn't told by his subordinates of all the illegal activity, why hasn't he fired those people? Holder recuses himself from a case, but he doesn't tell BO. No way that is possible.

    May 15, 2013 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  5. dannyC

    I love the comments complaining about the Wall Street crooks not going to jail. Are you serious? Stop and think what these guys have on every politician in Washington. It would be like Judge Bonnie trying Clyde for bank robbery.

    May 15, 2013 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  6. RL

    The one recent president who should have faced impeachment was George "Mission Accomplished" Bush for his almost 1,000 lies to get us into his illegal war of revenge on Hussein in Iraq. He knew damn good and well that there were no WMD's in Iraq.

    May 15, 2013 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  7. mikemc58

    The President knowingly lied to the American people, he lied to Congress, he lied to the UN, he lied to the President of Libya.
    I'm not sure if that's impeachment material but it certainly doesn't garner alot of trust and confidence in the man or the Office.

    May 15, 2013 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  8. lexgreen

    I hope Mr. Chaffetz plans to keep his personal security detail very close for a very long time.

    May 15, 2013 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  9. george t hibs

    It will never happen, isn't the impeachment process handled by the Senate? And the Senate is controlled by....oh lets see? The Democrats!

    May 15, 2013 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  10. William

    Sounds like it's time to arrest GWB, Cheney and Rumsfeld and charge them with war crimes. Iraq didn't have WMDs whatsoever, and resulted in the death of over 4000 troops.

    May 15, 2013 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  11. Wake up People!


    Welfare at an all time high?? Really?? You do know that welfare is run by the states don't you?? I'm sure you know that the majority of states have republican governors don't you? Turn off Fox it's rotting your brain.

    The GOP is digging themselves in a hole I fear they will never get out of. The economy is coming back, unemployment is down and the DJIA is up. But don't let a little thing like facts get in the way of your bigoted hatred.

    It's funny, I read these comments from the uneducated GOP sheeple about no one working.... Funny thing is, my commute to work daily says something entirely different.

    May 15, 2013 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  12. Whleshak

    Impeachment?? This guy is delusional.

    May 15, 2013 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  13. dotheflippin'math

    Impeachment?? Republicans are really grasping on this one. Gotta' love the IRS "conspiracy," too. Why wouldn't they do due dilligence on a whole bunch of new groups applying for TAX-EXEMPT status? Tax-exempt fraud is a major problem and increases the deficit. You can bet a lot of money has been made by these tea party group leaders. There is a conspiracy going on. The GOPeeonyourself party has been conspiring for the past 4+ years to do anything, including sabotaging the economy, in order to bring down the President. Once the cons took over the House, nothing that would have helped our economy, or us citizens in general, has passed. With the economy recovering despite their best efforts to cripple it, the cons are trying new angles to discredit the President. The amount of brainwashing is scary. Neocon churches have managed to convince over 10% of the "faithful" that Obama is the anti-christ, and have over 15% believing that he's Muslim, despite belonging to a Christian church for his entire adult life. It's really scary how crazy these people are, and they're the same ones loading-up on guns and ammo, like there's going to be a civil war. Anyone who believes the BS being spouted by Glenn Beck and his "too crazy for Fox" friends really needs to see a mental health professional. Paranoia and guns are a really bad mix. I'm vacationing north of the Mason-Dixon line this year. Too crazy down south!

    May 15, 2013 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  14. SoSad

    Rep. Jason Chaffetz now you have your 15 minutes of fame. So now go hide in your hole. Utah is it?

    May 15, 2013 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  15. Robert Harvey-Kinsey

    Really the Bill Clinton apporach? Are they so lacking in imagination that they choose this approach again? As if people have forgotten what happened the last time. No one has forgotten what it was like under their rule. Even if these things were true, if they were known, and supported by Obama; I would still vote for anyone but another Republican. Proving that you opponent is as bad as you hardly justifies support. I think the corruption has to be purged but that cuts both ways. Republicans are throwing rocks in a glass house, in the end no one wins.

    May 15, 2013 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  16. Cynh

    This is really just part of the typical Republican witch hunt getting ready for the next election. It is a Democratic President in his second term so this is just part of the Republicans plan of building up their scandal machine for the 2014 and 2016 elections. They are looking for anything, remember Clinton second term? The media is complicit by going along in these witch hunts too. This is the only way Republican can win anything its by creating false scandals. I think the public are growing tired of these tactics.

    May 15, 2013 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  17. Joel

    Data Driven, prove?, if he release documents, blind supporter.

    May 15, 2013 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  18. BobbyG

    All the Republicans on here thinking that liberals look up to Obama as a god are projecting. No, we know he is just a man, a Christian, center right Democrat. What some conservatives like to do is think their prayers actually work and if the guy they prayed for gets elected then there must be some supernatural force behind him so their candidate is always viewed as being WITH god. So of course when they lose they think we we're doing the same as them, but we, at least I, don't. There's crazies on both sides but the Republicans have cornered the market on thinking a god would intervene with who we elected president. It's only free will when they agree with it.

    May 15, 2013 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  19. allenwoll

    Go on ! : Attempt it ! - It will be the much-deserved Final Nail in the GoPer/Con casket ! !
    Then maybe we can get back to the business of the nation instead of being preoccupied with partisan sniping ! !

    May 15, 2013 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  20. RapidOne

    Omg... worthless Americans who don't do anything for the country... both these scumbags that are playing on the lowest common denominator and the ignorant bigots who follow them so staunchly and idiotically.

    May 15, 2013 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  21. kevin3g

    Here we go again, another pointless side show by America's enemies within, the Republican Party. Ruthless in victory, shrill whiners in defeat.

    May 15, 2013 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  22. The REAL Truth...

    The whole impeachment thing is typical Obstructionist Party SOP (standard operating procedure). They LOST the election – even after spending more $$$ on it than any prior election – as they did with Clinton, and as with Clinton are manufacturing scandals to try for impeachment.
    – Perhaps Issa would like to investigate the source of the Benghazi email leaks – might not like the answer as independent research indicates that most of it points to a former Cheney cohort. Coincidence?
    – Perhaps the IRS was REALLY doing the job they were assigned to ensure that groups that applied for 503(c) tax exempt status were educational and not political in nature – the majority of which happened to be conservative applications?
    – And, despite the wailing and gnashing of teeth by "outraged" conservatives, the DOJ (under Dubya's Patriot Act) is perfectly within their legal right to "seize" AP records on the basis of leaks of terrorist activity, given they suspect employees of that agency to be the source.

    In short.. typical Rethug approach. Manufacture non-existent incidents and yell about impeachment. They cannot accept that the black man in the WH won!! TWICE !!!

    May 15, 2013 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  23. Data Driven


    The President of Libya expressed an opinion, two weeks after the fact.
    Ansar al Sharia: again, after the fact.
    Drones: images would show an attack, but not by whom, or WHY, which seems to be the reason why conservatives think Obama is covering something up.
    YouTube video: it's not entirely proven that the video had absolutely nothing to do with the attack. We have the Libyan President's word for that, but he has produced no evidence either, to date.

    Seen that Rhodes email yet?

    May 15, 2013 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  24. lsterne

    "We want the truth". The problem with that, as I see it, is that the Republicans will only believe what they want to believe.
    So perhaps it would be more accurate to say, "We want you to say what we've been saying". But would they be satisfied if he did that? I doubt it.

    May 15, 2013 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  25. jobiwan

    Democrats should be the ones who are upset. Obama lied to you guys on multiple voting points to win the election. Take GMO labeling for example. He promised to make gmo labeling mandatory to protect consumers. Now he passed the "monsanto protection act" which actual protects GMO companies. Obama lied. Oh, it just so happens that %60 of the Obama families stocks are in monsanto gmo seed co. who also happened to help write the very bill Obama signed. Scandel #4 coming. IMPEACH

    May 15, 2013 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
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