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. TArkay

    Good grief, as Charlie Brown would say. Does the GOP have no sense of perspective? I'm ashamed to say I'm from the state that elected Jason. Glad I didn't vote for him. If Bush wasn't impeached for lying the country into a long and expensive and totally unnecessary war, why should a late response to a raid in Benghazi warrant such action? Grow up, Jason, and go get a real job. You are a disgrace to your state and your nation.

    May 15, 2013 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  2. Data Driven


    A document was released yesterday: Rhodes' email, which supposedly showed cover-up efforts by the Administration. The actual content of the email shows nothing of the kind. Look it up.

    May 15, 2013 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  3. Hamburger Jones

    Like I keep saying, "GOP" is in the third act, about to ring down the curtains. This way, they go out with a bang instead of a whimper. Either way, they have become the Party of Nine Nine Nine, and nobody takes them seriously anymore.

    May 15, 2013 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  4. amercon

    Obama has a record of ignoring the Constitution; it gets in the way of his Communist dictatorship.

    Impeach Obama for spying on reporters, IRS gate, Benghazi lies, fast and furious, lying to Congress about debt ceiling default, non-recess appointments, unconstitutional czars, ignoring immigration laws, illegal donations from foreign sources, EPA taxation without representation, using executive orders to go around laws and Congress, lies to Congress about Obamacare funding abortion, and bribing a politician not to run.

    May 15, 2013 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  5. Bluesky001

    Everyone should switch to independent voter. Defending BO or any member of congress won't change all the corruption going on, all you BO fans salivating over this issue or any of the other major issues, consider this we have NOT received any closure on any of these issues, this one won't be any different. Most are paid off or are just plain corrupt, including our prez. Ridding ourselves of the WORST prez ever will be our justice.

    May 15, 2013 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  6. Joan

    So much for the Republicans learning some lessons from the last election and trying to rebrand their image. They had become the party of obstructionism, criticism and negativity led by a bunch of angry, old white guys. So what has changed? Nothing really except now they have added some angry, young white guys to the bunch. Romney had said he wanted a foreign affairs incident and jumped on Benghazi before the dust had even cleared. Maybe that should be investigated. The IRS claims will be eventually cleared up when people realize that these were all NEW groups which had to be vetted carefully and that it was a Republican who was in charge at the time. The AP outrage would be a non issue if the government could trust that , in their quest for scoops and ratings, the media could be trusted to NOT publish sensitive, classified information. That almost seems like treason to me. Anyway, as David Gergen said last night, "It's a slow news week" so I guess the media is filling up their time with issues which are really not that scandalous at all. So what's happening with North Korea, Syria, Iran, Russia, the EU economic problems, Afghanistan and other hot spots in the world?

    May 15, 2013 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  7. ghostriter

    If this were a criminal investigation, republicans wouldn't have enough for a search warrant. And considering that getting a warrant is so easy that a caveman can get one, that is saying alot.

    Look conservatives....You guys screamed about everything the president did. You even complained about his dog. I know many of you are new to politics....and to computers....and to reading.....but can we take you seriously?

    You guys have said since 2009 that everything he did was an impeachable offense, would be his Watergate, would cause him to not get re-elected...If weathermen were this off in their "predictions", they'd be fired.

    Face it...You've cried wolf too many times...especially considering the lack of all this caring for the previous president's actions. You have launched several investigations that have produced absolutely nothing. Benghazi is about to be an afterthought. And unless you actually find some actionable evidence linking the IRS and AP issues to the president, you will be a perfect ZERO on your allegations.

    However, you can save some face here. Conduct hearings without the premise of trying to tie the president to some wrongdoing and just let the facts come out. If the president is found to have had a hand in something, run with it. Otherwise, let it go. You have officially used up your hearing cards.

    May 15, 2013 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  8. Mack

    They think by running around screaming that the sky is falling, they'll somehow end up back in the white house. We won't be fooled again.

    May 15, 2013 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  9. Mack

    Once upon a time, the republicans lied about an email and then were proven wrong..again.

    May 15, 2013 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  10. Malory Archer


    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


    Not to mention they had the WTC crime scene debris removed and shipped to the other side of the planet, thereby thwarting any real criminal investigation into that awful event.

    May 15, 2013 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  11. Dorothy

    These people are laughable. Still can't get over the idea of President Obama being the POTUS.

    May 15, 2013 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  12. roro

    First let's see why Bush wasn't impeached when there were countless embassy attacks during his administration, and lies that led us into war with Iraq to the detriment of our war in Afghanistan. Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, and Condi Rice should all be on trial.

    May 15, 2013 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  13. Malory Archer


    The President knowingly lied to the American people, he lied to Congress, he lied to the UN, he lied to the President of Libya.


    Prove it.

    May 15, 2013 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  14. AD

    Benghazi is all political, that's why they got a registered Democrat, Greg Hicks to be their primary witness.

    May 15, 2013 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  15. jobiwan

    Mack, You seriously don't feel deceived and lied to by Obama? lol People need to get over their party roots and take the goggles off. Obama lied to you, The people who voted for him should be the most upset. One lie after another and you still defend this guy. WOW

    May 15, 2013 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  16. rs

    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?...

    Well let's not overlook the GOP's complete lack of work for Americans over the last 5 years, or their hatred for the "47%", their rampant anti-American conspiracy theories and fact-free arguments about the economy. What about their attempts to abridge women's rights, civil rights and voter's rights? What about their hyper-radical social agenda?

    No, this is a desperate threat from a desperate and irrelevant political party that is working to undermine our great nation. The GOP IS the enemy of the people.

    May 15, 2013 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  17. Name EAG

    This may be ok when the "misinformation" that made us go into Iraq and those who perpetrated the lies are held accountable.

    May 15, 2013 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  18. Anthony

    Republicans, use your brains. If Obama wanted the world to believe that the Benghazi attack was not a terrorist act, why did Obama say the words "act of terror" three times in the two days following the Benghazi attack? If Obama wanted to push the theory that the attack was due to a film, not terrorism, why would Obama keep referring to "act of terror" in his public statements?

    May 15, 2013 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  19. Anonymous

    where are these jobs you people are saying that are popping up and dont put wall marts in a job class ,,,real jobs where a man can support his family and live in compfort.

    May 15, 2013 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  20. chai236

    Bush/Cheney lied and killed soldiers putting them into a ground war in Iraq – there were zero active WMD – Cheney rec'd his "energy policy" directly from Ken Lay" remember Enron crooks??? – Cheney's ex-firm Haliburton rec'd a no bid Iraq War contract – Cheney was receiving an insurance policy payment of 1 mil a year – if this war contract hadn't come along Haliburton could have been bankrupted by huge asbestos suit payouts – Cheney profitted directly from the Iraq War. Bush's admin immediately tried to pin 9/11 on Saddam – facts came out later – still he began a two-war policy that bankrupted our country and did not make us safer from terrorism.

    Bush/Cheney did the real big dirty stuff on epic scale – and the republicans are trying to pin the tragic but smaller scale Benghazi incident on Obama – this is all they have? Wake up people crookedness is what the GOP stands for – not the old republicans but the old nasties in with the new Tea Party are liars who know full well they are a minority now in this country and will gerrymander the political map to try to win elections by acres of sparser populated land and not by the popular vote.

    oh yes and they are mostly old white guys or pushy religious zealots who want to go back to the days of women barefoot and pregnant and beholdin' to the menfolk for their daily bread. All that restrictive legislation for women and no help to bring jobs bills to the table. It is obvious they are the party of big government restristion and rules to keep the non-neo-cons in check.

    May 15, 2013 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  21. jobiwan

    @MALARY ARCHER – SEE GMO labeling promise and see Gauntonamo shut down. Those are just 2 of his numerous lies and scandals to get you fools to vote for him.

    May 15, 2013 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  22. rs

    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 think if you check yesterday's news, the liars are the GOP- also the leakers of classified information. More anti-Americanism from the chickenhawks.

    May 15, 2013 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  23. AD

    We'll have hearings until we get to the TRUTH, CUZ YES, HILLARY AND BO, THE TRUTH MATTERS especially when it comes to national security and Constitutional rights. It makes no difference if the motives of Repubs are pure or not.

    May 15, 2013 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  24. Malory Archer


    Obama lied to you.


    About what?

    May 15, 2013 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  25. The REAL Truth...

    There were 13 embassy attacks during Dubya's regime, and ONE (in 4.5 yrs) under Obama. Here's the Obstructionist Party's response to those incidents. Think hypocrisy!

    January 22, 2002. Calcutta, India. No comment.
    June 14, 2002. Karachi, Pakistan. No comment.
    October 12, 2002. Denpasar, Indonesia. No comment.
    February 28, 2003. Islamabad, Pakistan. No comment.
    May 12, 2003. Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. No comment.
    July 30, 2004. Tashkent, Uzbekistan. No comment.
    December 6, 2004. Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. No comment.
    March 2, 2006. Karachi, Pakistan. AGAIN! No comment.
    September 12, 2006. Damascus, Syria. No comment.
    January 12, 2007. Athens, Greece. No comment.
    March 18, 2008. Sana'a, Yemen. No comment.
    July 9, 2008. Istanbul, Turkey. No comment.
    September 17, 2008. Sana'a, Yemen. No comment.

    May 15, 2013 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
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