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. John

    Yogi – this is Bo Bo. Did I forget to tell you the lib dems run the country now? I would have thought you would have noticed given the multiple scandles going on right now.

    May 15, 2013 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  2. Anthony

    AD, the Republican-controlled House just added 2 billion for embassy security to the budget. Do you still think that the State Department had enough money for embassy security?

    May 15, 2013 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  3. okfine


    Bush took 2 minutes to respond about 911.

    Yeah, right. That's why it took 10 years and a different President to get the guy that orchestrated it. Bush ignorned multiple warnings before 9/11 and 3000 Americans died. Then he took us to war in a country that had nothing to do with it and another 4000 died. Yep, he's a real saint.

    May 15, 2013 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  4. really

    Did I forget to tell you the lib dems run the country now?


    Really? Last I checked the Republicans have the house, and are able to block anything from going through the Senate with a filibuster.

    BTW, it's Boo Boo. Which you just made.

    May 15, 2013 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  5. UnificationBoard

    Do you libs not know how to read? He didn't bring up impeachment. HE WAS ASKED IF IT WAS WITHIN THE REALM OF POSSIBILITIES. What's he going to say? No? "No, it doesn't matter what is found in the hearings and investigation, impeachment is off the table"?
    He is asked a question on impeachment, and he answers it. And you all are insisting that's his sole focus.

    May 15, 2013 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  6. Wake up People!

    Oh please. The GOP has been talking impeachment since the day President Obama was elected in 08. This has ALWAYS been their end game. If it wasn't possible to steal the election, then go to plan B, impeachment.

    May 15, 2013 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  7. Kiki

    The gop members want to see the end of this great nation no matter what. They just care of winning elections. I hope We the american people can hold them accountable for their action by voting them out.

    May 15, 2013 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  8. avj

    Susan TM

    Geeze Louise...will this senseless, tiresome, childish bickering never end? Hey GOPers...the entire world knows you don't like Obama just as the liberals didn't W. But guess what?? He IS the president so deal with it & grow up!! Quit whining & bitching & start working with him instead of disagreeing with him at every turn. He simply cannot be wrong on everything as the GOP would have us believe. He'll be our president for 4 more years so why not make the most of those by working with him to make our country a better place? You may not always agree with the man but agree to disagree, compromise & move on!
    May 15, 2013 10:12 am at 10:12 am |

    Now this woman is smart. Got all the truth in her statement. Now if only they were smart enough to listen!!!

    May 15, 2013 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  9. lewwho

    Again with the mudslinging..that's what this is all about. Let's find something to sling at the administration AGAIN. Doesn't matter who's in the white house at the time. There are real things that need to be addressed and it doesn't involve rehashing the past over and over again. Give me a break from all the drama

    May 15, 2013 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  10. lewwho

    A strong message needs to sent to all politicians.....let it go, stop this stupid crp and do something constructive for ONCE. Earn your pay by cooperating with one another and solve the real issues in our country like homelessness, hunger and sky rocketing medical costs.

    May 15, 2013 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  11. awaken

    While this "scandal" should be important to the voting public, so should every other questionable action taken by the administration and congress, on both sides of the isle. The voters need to stand up for We the People and stop voting for politicians that cater to special interest groups, corporations, and foreign nations above the people of the United States.
    I don't care how you vote, but we need to clean house. The only way to elicit massive change is at the voting booth. Make sure no standing politician is re-elected and vote based on your values. Stop voting party affiliation and begin voting for who espouses your values the best. If we keep the status quo, nothing will change. Stand up for yourselves and stand up for the country. Stop bickering about "Libs" this and "Repubs" that. These politicians aren't working for the people anymore. It is time to replace them all.

    May 15, 2013 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  12. AV

    This is as simple as that GOP has a personal problem with Obama.
    Get this man out of white house, whatever ways they can.

    May 15, 2013 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  13. Duke

    Liar. You weouldn't have said it if you didn't want it. You have no grounds to or chance to get it done in reality, so let's try to smear the Prez and lynch him in a court of public opinion.
    One problem – NO ONE in their right mind will take you seriously.

    May 15, 2013 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  14. jp

    Its a shame that military leadership doesn't even have the President picture up. They had bush and even threatened us to respect the position. Obama has done none of that its about color they can't even say what pol

    May 15, 2013 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  15. Bill

    ENOUGH about Bush & Iraq.

    1. Democrats could have impeached him, but didn't. Instead they repeatedly voted to fund his war.
    2. Obama refuses to investigate or prosecute Bush. If he thinks there is no problem, how can there be? Or at least, why do YOU have a problem with Bush, but not Obama prosecuting Bush?

    Look at THIS issue (Benghazi) objectively.
    1. Obama KNEW it was a pre-planned terrorist attack
    2. Obama STATED it was an impromptu demonstration

    If lying is a problem, then its a problem for ALL Presidents. Not just the Republican ones.

    A common statement I hear is "Republicans lowered funding for the State department, compromising security."

    If I am given a project by my boss with inadequate resources, I tell him "Can't be done."
    He then tells the customer, "It can't be done because of resources."

    If there was not enough money for adequate security at the Libyan embassy, then it was Clinton's job to say so, and Obama's job to SHUT IT DOWN OR DEMAND MORE MONEY.

    The deaths in Benghazi are the fault of the White House alone. They know it, hence the lies. "The buck stops here" applies to ALL competent leaders.

    May 15, 2013 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  16. mightyduk

    If they didn't not impeach Bush and his group of idiots I doubt it will happen here.

    May 15, 2013 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  17. Anthony

    Bill, there is no statute of limitation for Bush criticism. He took us into the wrong war, which cost the lives of more than 4000 U.S. soldiers. There is no statute of limitation for that. Obama chose to believe that Bush went to war with flawed intelligence. Obama gave Bush the benefit of the doubt, a courtesy that Republicans are not extending to Obama. Many people believe that the Bush Administration manipulated, or worse, manufactured intelligence to suit their agenda. Many people believe that the Bush Administration had wanted to invade Iraq, even before 9/11. Do people have indisputable evidence that the Bush Administration manipulated or manufactured intelligence? No. But do Republicans have indisputable evidence that Obama orchestrated a coverup because he did not want people to believe that Benghazi was a terrorist attack? No.

    Just think about it. This theory that Obama wanted people to believe Benghazi was due to a demonstration is silly on its face. If Obama wanted people to think that Benghazi was an impromptu demonstration, why did Obama say the words "act of terror" THREE times in the two days after the attack?

    Just because Obama talked about the demonstration, it does not mean that he said or believed that it was the only theory that explained the attack. Republicans want to focus on the occasions when Obama talked about the demonstration. They choose to ignore the other times when Obama talked about "act of terror." Obama was not ruling anything out. At the early stage of an investigation, you should keep an open mind.

    As for the funding issue, the Republican-controlled House just added 2 billion for embassy security to the budget. So, even House Republicans know that the State Department do not have enough money for embassy security. After the fact, of course. You propose that we shut down our embassies. Sorry, the world is a dangerous place. We need diplomacy, even if the Republican-controlled House will not pay for it.

    May 15, 2013 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  18. JustAO

    It's like the 90s all over again with the GOP.

    Are we gonna have a surplus in our national budget when Obama leaves office so another Republican can get voted in to start two more decade-long wars, give more tax welfare to wealthy, and create another Great Recession/Depression? DE JA VU anyone! The presidential cycle keeps on turning with no end in sight.

    May 15, 2013 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  19. Boomer in Mo

    Are they going to impeach him for being black? He is no more incompetent than lots of other presidents have been. Being incompetent is not an impeachable offense. I really thing a lot of what has been going on in D.C. for the past six years is the old white party reacting against the first person of color to be in the White House. The frightening thing is, I think it is unconscious which makes it more dangerous than intentional bigotry.

    May 15, 2013 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  20. jimcolyer

    IMPEACH The time is now!

    May 15, 2013 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  21. Jay T

    Pretty pretty please try for Impeachment. Please make my day. This would be the end of the National Republican Party.

    May 15, 2013 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  22. TRUTH

    The president had white mom and a black father,but all the HATERS see is a black man......all you who hate,we understand.Haters have to work too,so do your jobs....but at the end of the day,Obama will still be black,and the president,and you'll still be stuck on stupid.People put too much time and energy in hating our president and not enough in helping him get things back on track.And for all you who HATE that something you'll have to answer for.All the dumb a__ things that are being said or will be said...reallly it's not that serious.WWJD?

    May 15, 2013 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  23. Wake up People!

    My heart goes out to Sasha and Malia. Can you imagine how either of them feel when they see and read the terrible things people say about their parents online?? Those poor, innocent little girls.

    May 15, 2013 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  24. Mark from IN

    Why is this news?? Chumpffetz has a sick hatred of the president. Anything that comes out of his mouth is venomous and ignorant. He is a coward and a chump. I can't believe CNN actually wrote and posted an article on what he says knowing already what he is going to say. Sheeeesh....

    May 15, 2013 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  25. Pete

    Just remember people the major players behind the defense cuts that did lead to security cuts at embassies including Benghazi and others,take a bow Issa,Chaffetz and you now can go back under your rocks now snakes!!

    May 15, 2013 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
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